Statement - Conviction of labour rights activist Andy Hall in Thailand

by Maurizio Bussi, ILO Country Director for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR

Press release | Bangkok, Thailand | 21 September 2016
Statement by Maurizio Bussi, ILO Country Director for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR, on the court case involving the Thai Natural Fruit Company, the labour activist Andy Hall and the NGO Finnwatch.

“Labour rights abuses suffered by migrants in Thailand have been well documented in various ILO reports. The treatment alleged in the Finnwatch report is not unique to any one employer or industry.

It cuts across industries - whether it's food processing, construction, domestic work or fishing. There is an inherent vulnerability that is easy to exploit as long as migrants are not empowered to negotiate with their employers or approach authorities for assistance and for accessing credible and efficient complaint mechanisms.

The Royal Thai Government is well aware of the problems as is working to improve inspections of workplaces where migrants are prevalent and to receive complaints from migrants - which requires building solid links with trade unions and civil society groups that are more trusted by migrants. This ruling may undermine the capacity and willingness of researchers, rights groups and migrants' themselves from bringing such problems to light.”