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European Companies Raise Concerns Over Thai Trial of British Activist Andy Hall

Andy Hall and his team with TFFA and TTIA representatives in front of the Prakanong Court.

Andy Hall and his team with TFFA and TTIA representatives in front of the Prakanong Court.

 

BANGKOK – Business has joined the international outcry over Thai company’s lawsuits against human rights investigator Andy Hall. He faces civil and criminal charges over his work for rights group Finnwatch.

Thailand: Criminal lawsuit lodged against human rights defender Mr Andy Hall

Thailand: Criminal lawsuit lodged against human rights defender Mr Andy Hall

A group of major European firms has joined the growing international outcry against the trial of a British activist in Thailand. Andy Hall was investigating migrant labour conditions in the country’s food industry. International food purchaser and wholesaler United Nordic has called the lawsuits, brought by Thailand’s Natural Fruit Company, a ”negative development” and called for ”the engagement of constructive dialogue with organisation and civil society.”

Andy Hall worked for rights group Finnwatch documenting migrant labour rights abuses. His accusations of forced and child labour illegally low wages and long hours in a Natural Fruits factory was met with a frenzy of civil and criminal lawsuits.

Court appearance soon
Hall is next due in court on September 2 on a defamation charge, which cites an interview he gave Al Jazeera in Burma. United Fruit is also claiming $10 million (7.6 million Euro) damages. Finnwatch calls the charges ”not only unfounded but also a part of a wider attempt to limit the activities of human rights defenders and the freedom of expression in Thailand.”

Nearly 100 international and national labour and rights groups have lobbied the Thai Pineapple Industry Association to rein in Natural Fruit. So far the TPIA has responded with a threat of further lawsuits. Finnwatch says it is keeping the European food industry abreast of developments.

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Posted by on Aug 29 2014. Filed under Regional News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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