Joint Open Letter to the Government of Thailand
Human Rights Now (HRN) has signed a joint open letter to the government of Thailand urging it to take immediate action to seek the dismissal of cases filed by the farming company Thammakaset Co. Ltd. against workers and human rights defenders for their labour rights activities, as well as to pass comprehensive legislation to end the practice of Strategic Litigation Against Public participation (SLAPP) lawsuits. Last December, HRN released a report on labour rights abuses in the Thai poultry sector, which is a major supplier to Japan, which discussed these cases in detail. It’s available on our website at http://hrn.or.jp/news/14964/, and an English translation of the report will be released soon.
Thammakaset has filed over 13 criminal and civil complaints against a number of its former employees and labour righs activists assisting them after the workers sought compensation for labour rights abuses committed against them by the company. Both the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand found evidence that Thammakaset committed labor rights abuses against the workers, including requiring them to work illegally long hours and consecutive days and failing to pay minimum and overtime wages. In January the Thai Supreme Court denied Thammakaset’s last appeal in the labour rights case against it and ordered that Thammakaset immediately pay the workers 1.7 million baht in compensation for the abuses. Nevertheless, Thai courts continue to allow Thammakaset to harass workers with a seemingly endless barrage of criminal and civil complaints. In February and March 2019, the Bangkok Criminal Court is set to again consider new criminal complaints by Thammakaset against a former employee and labour rights activist.
HRN calls on the government of Thailand to ensure the dismissal of the continuing cases by Thammakaset against the workers and activists and to comprehensively revise its civil and criminal laws and prosecution processes to prevent the practice of SLAPP litigation to harass workers and activists.
The full version of the joint open letter can be found here: Joint open letter: New lawsuits brought by Thammakaset Company Ltd against Human Rights Defenders