GREENPEACE URGES TAIWAN TO END FORCED LABOR ON ITS FISHING BOATS
Greenpeace and 33 other human rights, environmental and labor organizations from around the world called on Taiwan's government to initiate reforms to address the "persistent and systemic issues of forced labor" on Taiwan's distant water fishing (DWF) fleets, Chiang Yi-ching reported for the Central News Agency (CNA) of Taiwan.
The demand comes as fish caught on Taiwan-registered vessels were classified as products of forced labor for the first time this year by the US State Department in October. This is further indication that reforms are needed, the coalition said in a statement.
"We call on the Taiwanese government to initiate structural reforms, and ensure fishing vessel owners and seafood traders adhere to all relevant international human rights, labor, and environmental standards," said Greenpeace senior adviser Andy Shen, who added that businesses around the world that source from Taiwanese fishing vessels are watching closely to see how the government in Taiwan responds.
Only when Taiwan's fishing vessel owners adhere to "international human rights, labor and environmental standards" can conditions improve for migrant fishers in the DWF industry, said Shen. First on the group's list of demands is that all migrant fishermen be protected under Taiwan's Labor Standards Act, which currently excludes them. Being included in the Act will mean they will be entitled to the same rights and protection as Taiwanese fishermen, the coalition said. Currently, the hiring and management of migrant fishermen is governed through a separate law, and they are under the purview of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency (FA) instead of the Ministry of Labor (MOL).