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Alan Morison (left) Chutima Sidasathian and Andy Hall meet EU envoys in Bangkok earlier this year for briefings about their defamation cases

US Letter Highlights Phuket, Hall Trials

Monday, July 27, 2015
July 27, 2015

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520


Re: Thailand's designation in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write today to support the State Department's decision to maintain Thailand's Tier 3 designation in the 2015 Global Trafficking in Persons Report. We believe the Tier 3 ranking, as well as the research and recommendations contained in the report, will be an important tool for governments, international institutions, companies and investors to continue to press the Thai authorities to enact more substantive reforms to end the labor trafficking that can be found in many sectors of Thailand's economy, including seafood.

This decision comes at a vital time for leveraging change from the Thai government in its anti-trafficking efforts. Last year's downgrade to Tier 3 in the 2014 TIP Report, the decision by the European Union to issue Thailand a ''yellow card'' for its failure to adequately monitor its fishing industry, and high-profile global media exposes of human trafficking in Thailand's fishing industry have together produced an unprecedented level of international pressure on Thailand to address its significant human trafficking problem. The Thai government has demonstrated its willingness to respond to that pressure, and has taken a few encouraging actions. In particular, efforts to register migrant workers, passage of the Regulation to Protect Labour in the Sea Fishing Industry, and reforms to the Fisheries Act that increase regulation and oversight of fishing vessels are positive steps.

However, the government only began making these regulatory changes toward the end of 2014, many of them weren't operational until mid-2015, and we remain deeply concerned that failure to effectively enforce these laws and policies may render those changes ineffectual. The U.S. decision to leave Thailand on Tier 3 until it demonstrates greater political commitment to enforce these new laws and regulations reflects an accurate assessment of Thailand's efforts to combat human trafficking and will serve as a powerful incentive for Thailand to take further steps.

The State Department's decision will keep pressure for substantive changes by Bangkok. In particular, Thailand needs to demonstrate it is willing to enforce newly established mechanisms to increase transparency and regulatory accountability within its seafood industry, and apply those mechanisms to combating human trafficking by conducting more frequent inspections at sea, ensuring inspectors are trained to identify and respond to the needs of trafficking victims, and cracking down on the trade of fraudulent crew manifests and identification documents at ports.

Another issue that requires urgent US attention is Thailand's use of criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act to prosecute journalists and human rights defenders. This month, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, and migrant rights defender Andy Hall faced court proceedings. If they are found guilty, it will have a chilling impact on the ability of trafficking victims to speak out and seek justice.

Thailand should not be prosecuting journalists and activists for doing their jobs, and these court trials belie Thailand's claims that it is working with civil society to address human trafficking issues.

Finally, Thailand should ensure that migrant workers have the right to associate and organise to protect their rights, including the right to form unions. The US should press Thailand to adopt key International Labor Organization conventions - including Conventions No. 87 on Freedom of Association and No. 98 on Collective Bargaining, as well as the new Protocol to Convention No. 29 Against Forced Labor (which Thailand has ratified) - and bring its laws into compliance.

We are committed to continue our efforts to press the government of Thailand toward making substantive changes to end human trafficking, and today's decision will aid our efforts. We thank you for your work to combat human trafficking, and look forward to continuing our engagement with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the US Embassy in Bangkok to secure the outcome that we all want: the end of human trafficking in Thailand based on changed laws and policies, and effective enforcement on the ground.

You can respond via Abby McGill, director of campaigns at the International Labor Rights Forum, by email at abby@ilrf.orgor phone at (202) 347-4100, ext. 113.

Sincerely,

1. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisations
2. Anti-Slavery International
3. The Child Labor Coalition
4. Environmental Justice Foundation
5. Green America
6. Greenpeace
7. Fairfood International
8. Fair World Project
9. Finnwatch
10. FishWise
11. Food Chain Workers Alliance
12. Fortify Rights
13. Free the Slaves
14. The Freedom Fund
15. Human Rights and Development Foundation
16. Human Rights at Sea
17. Human Rights Watch
18. International Labor Rights Forum
19. International Transport Workers' Federation
20. International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
21. Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada
22. National Consumers League
23. National Guestworker Alliance
24. Slave Free Seas
25. Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia


Original Letter

https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/27/joint-letter-secretary-state-john-kerry

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Keep on going with fighting for the sake of the good. Keep on going to get awarness and attention. It will help to get ride of the Rotten Apples in this Thai "fruit basket" thanks. An admirer of PhuketWan and all persons and orginations who back up your "war of pencils". The pencil is mightier then the Sword! At least in real democracies. This diverces when people minds are blocked or still working with concepts of the midages.

Posted by phuketgreed on July 27, 2015 23:11

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With this boot-licking-letter published you are setting yourself up for a 5-year-minimum-sentence. Why? - `Cause now your hubris becomes visible even to the Thai who might have supported you.

"Why hubris, I am only defending poor Rohingyas?!" - No, you are doing something else: You, as a foreigner, are trying to impose YOUR values and morals on Thailand & the Thai. And it seems to be that perspective you never understood in the first place, Moronson.

Posted by raland on July 28, 2015 07:18

Editor Comment:

There are two of us, raland, one Thai and one non-Thai. We believe that in Thailand, people are as capable of telling right from wrong as they are anywhere else. Support has come from a wide variety of unexpected sources. You clearly are ignorant of the facts surrounding the case and prefer to wallow in some outdated notion of subservience to the powerful but inept. We'll settle for justice.

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Hi raland

With the greatest respect, I completely disagree. I believe that Alan and Khun Chutima understand exactly what they are doing and that they understand Thai culture.

There were plenty of Thais in the Phuket Provincial Court in support of Alan and Chutima. I know. I was there for the entire three days of the trial. The prosecutor was there for only the first day and she looked very lonely with little support save for some weak prosecution evidence and maybe one Navy observer in addition to her witnesses.

Recent history in Thailand shows that defendants in criminal defamation trials tend to end up rotting in jail. There is a 95% conviction rate.

People such as Andy Hall who defend themselves vigorously tend to get acquitted.

Perhaps raland you could learn a thing or two about Thai culture? ... preferably before your next post? Just a suggestion.

A final thought: No one will take you seriously if you resort to using the insult of "Moronson."

Cheers
Ian Yarwood
Barrister & Solicitor
Perth, Australia

Posted by Ian Yarwood on July 28, 2015 07:58

Editor Comment:

You've got to feel sorry for Raland, Ian. He believes everything the commenters say on Thai Visa.

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Phuket Greed, Thailand is no where near a real democracy, nor is it ever likely to be. I predict a conviction, a lengthy appeal (on bail) and lots and lots more sucking of milk from the publicity teat by PW.

Posted by The PJO'R Mare on July 28, 2015 08:19

Editor Comment:

Your knowledge of the case clearly wasn't extended by spending time at the court hearing, Mare. Ignorance enables your conclusions to be based entirely on your daydreams.

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If 'the pen IS mightier than the sword' why cannot I find a war or cause that was actually peaceably WON by the latter? Maybe if you have millions in cash, absolute power over a few thousand battalions and an AK47 in your other hand?
Perhaps the PEN plus oratory,charisma and propaganda is mightier? Seems it worked for Hitler.

Posted by david on July 28, 2015 14:13

Editor Comment:

Nothing worked for Hitler, david, unless you are restricting your reading to propaganda. This is not about tired old cliches, but about justice. We are pleased to have been allowed to continue to protest our innocence and the support is gratifying. The Royal Thai Navy is a fine organisation but on this occasion, one or two officers chose the wrong course. A telephone call would have been the sensible action.

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Great ! You deserve the reference.

I could be wrong ... but doesn't F come before G ?

Posted by James on July 28, 2015 18:18

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To The PJO'R Mare : Where oh where do you suck your milk - or are you stuck on say Chang beer?

Please change brands - it's poisoning you mate.

How's that workin' for ya so far?

Posted by farang888 on July 29, 2015 04:27

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farang888

Christy(TNM/The PJO'R Mare) has a C-sized cups, if you were interested in that

Posted by Sue on July 29, 2015 10:48

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Sue,
So does your "mate" Caitlyn, so we are still none the wiser!

Posted by MoW on July 29, 2015 14:28

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MoW,

about that what you said I have no idea.

But the reported data above are based on solely on the first party self-assessment, no second,third or fourth party verification/certification has been involved.

Posted by Sue on July 29, 2015 17:04

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Sue,
Interesting. Are you stalking TNM?. The plot thickens!

Posted by MoW on July 29, 2015 17:35

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I keep on hearing the theme song from Kelly's heroes playing after your verdicts. Read into this comment what you will.

Change is inevitable, yes but is it for the better or worse?
Sounds like a marriage theme?
Place snide comments after the dotted line please?
......................................

Posted by Anno on July 31, 2015 08:14

Editor Comment:

The snide comments all come from readers, Anno. QED

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Nobody should be counting their chickens before they hatch.

Anno this is may be true:-
"Friends all tried to warn me but I held my head up high
All the time to warn me but I only passed them by
They all tried to tell me but I guess I didn't care
I turned my back and left them standing there."

Posted by Duncan on July 31, 2015 17:39


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