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  • Thailand snubs pact to halt forced labour

    Thailand snubs pact to halt forced labour
    12/06/2014

    GENEVA - Perpetrators of forced labour, which affects 21 million people globally, will be punished in most countries under a UN treaty clinched on Wednesday, despite being snubbed by Thailand and nearly all Gulf countries.

    More than half of the estimated 21 million caught up in forced or compulsory labour are women and girls and the practice reaps an estimated US$150 billion (4,875 billion baht) in illegal profits across agriculture, fishing, mining, construction, domestic services and the sex industry, among others, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency, said.

    The new treaty, a protocol to the ILO's Forced Labour Convention of 1930, aims to halt the practice by requiring countries ratifying it to identify and release victims, ensure them access to compensation and punish perpetrators, it said.

    "It is a strong indication of the global community's commitment to work toward the effective elimination of forced labour," David Garner, president of the annual International Labour Conference's committee on forced labour, told a briefing.

    Thailand's new military government was the only government to vote against the treaty at ILO's annual ministerial conference, ILO officials said.

    But Bahrain, Brunei, Iran, Kuwait, Omar, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were among those abstaining, they said. The Middle East is home to an estimated 600,000 people deemed to be forced labourers, Beate Andrees, head of the ILO special action programme to combat forced labour, told Reuters.

    Mr Garner said forced labour, which includes slavery but also deceptive recruitment practices, was significant globally.

    "It's very large-scale, much of it very well organised and sophisticated. Obviously significant criminal elements are involved in it as well."

    Some victims were prey to "deceptive recruitment practices where potential workers sign a contract in one country and then arrive in another country and are presented with a different contract in another language they don't necessarily understand," said Mr Garner. "And passports are confiscated so they don't have identity papers which, of course, places anyone in a difficult situation, which can give rise to different forms of forced labour."

    An ILO study revealed a problem in Thailand of forced labour in the agriculture and fishing industries among others as well as among domestic workers, often involving migrant workers from Myanmar, Indonesia and Bangladesh, Ms Andrees said.

    Countries that adopted the protocol would protect victims forced into criminal activities.

    "There is one important provision now in the protocol to protect victims from being punished from criminal activities they may have been forced to carry out while they were in forced labour," Ms Andrees told the news briefing.

    "Some victims for instance are forced to plant drugs or to traffic drugs, some are smuggled across borders without knowing what is happening."

    The protocol will come into effect after being ratified by two member states, expected to take a few months, Mr Garner said.

    bangkokpost.com
    http://thailandchatter.com/showthrea...ll=1#post45112

  • #2
    Thailand reverses earlier decision, backs ILO protocol on forced labour
    Supalak Ganjanakhundee
    June 15, 2014

    Thailand has reversed its stance and decided to back an international protocol on forced labour, despite initially voting against the move in Geneva several days ago.

    The decision reaffirms commitments to eliminate forced labour in compliance with the new instrument, Thai permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva Thani Thongpakdi said.

    The Labour Ministry would later send a formal letter to inform the director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) General Guy Ryder on the new decision, he said.

    The International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva considered and adopted new instruments on Wednesday to supplement the 1930 Forced Labour Convention.

    At the meeting, Thailand voted for a non-binding recommendation but said no to the binding protocol. However, its lone vote in opposition drew strong criticism from the international community over Thailand's weak stance on the issue.

    More than 4,700 government, employer and worker delegates at the Geneva conference adopted the new legally binding ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, which aims to advance prevention, protection and compensation measures, as well as to intensify efforts to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery, according to an ILO press statement.

    Part of initial reluctance by the Thai delegation may have stemmed from the fact the protocol requires ratification of domestic laws and regulations, as well as reports on implementation.

    "To adopt any specific instrument, we have to consider our readiness to implement such an instrument," Thani explained.

    However the Labour Ministry revised its stance - it was deemed necessary to join the international consensus in trying to address the issue of forced labour seriously, he said.

    "We don't want to send a wrong signal to the international community but wanted to cooperate with the ILO on the matter," Thani said.

    With its stance adjusted, Thailand has to comply with the protocol and follow binding obligations which it requires, according to Patana Bhandhufalck, Minister Counsellor (Labour) to the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva.

    Thai law provided all workers in Thailand with protection in relation to working conditions as well as related benefits regardless of nationality, she said. "This includes protection against forced labour," she noted.

    Patana informed the ILO conference about the new decision during a meeting late last week.

    nationmultimedia.com
    http://thailandchatter.com/showthrea...ll=1#post45112

    Comment


    • #3
      Thailand does like doing U turns.

      Comment

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