Legislator Slams ‘Embarrassing’ Failure to Protect Taiwan’s Migrant Fishermen

KMT Legislator Jason Hsu said government inaction could lead to Taiwan’s ‘next major scandal.’

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/11
By: Michael Garber 

Credit: Reuters / TPG

On Thursday, Jan. 10, in front of assembled media, the director of Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency (FA) and a Ministry of Labor (MOL) official sustained an hour-long barrage of criticism of their departments’ performance by legislators and labor representatives, who once again accused the FA and MOL of not doing enough to protect the human rights of foreign migrant fishermen aboard Taiwan’s fishing fleet.

In a press conference convened by Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁), he described a dire lack of respect for the human rights of migrant fishermen aboard Taiwan-flagged fishing boats. This has been highlighted by the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report for Taiwan in each of the five years from 2014 to 2018, which have highlighted ongoing work abuse and debt bondage in Taiwan’s fishing industry, along with recent European Union criticisms of Taiwan’s inaction in combating illegal fishing. Taiwan has also been criticized for insufficient anti-money laundering practices by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

The press conference comes one month after London-based NGO Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) released a video revealing alleged shark finning and killing of whales, turtles and dolphins on board several Taiwanese-flagged and owned vessels on the high seas. At the time, the FA said it had commenced an investigation into the blood-curdling allegations, substantiated by photos and videos provided by former crew members.

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