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MNHRC seeks tougher regulations for raft-fishing

Graphic: Men prepare fishing rafts on the shore

Commission officials conducted a six-day probe of alleged human rights abuses against workers on offshore fishing rafts in Phyapon district.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has urged government agencies to strictly enforce the law on the raft-fishing industry in Ayeyarwady Region amid reports of human trafficking.

Commission officials conducted a six-day probe in December of alleged human rights abuses committed against fishery workers on offshore fishing rafts in Phyapon district, the Myanmar Times reported.

Only about 400 raft-fishing workers were registered at the Fisheries Department, while many more were unregistered, the MNHRC said.

It found that fishing raft owners frequently ignored regional regulations governing the industry and accused them of hiring workers from unregistered brokers without checking their records due to a labour shortage.

The MNHRC said that human rights violations in the industry included human trafficking, workers being beaten and workers going missing.

Phyapon Police Station said that 146 workers went missing, eight were killed and 18 others died of other causes on the rafts in 2019.

The MNHRC called for more checks and supervision of illegal fishing boats, rafts and workers.

It also said raft workers must be given employment contracts, that the Fisheries Department should issue them with identification cards and a system be established to regularly check their health.

The investigation was prompted by the case of university student Myat Thura Tun, who was allegedly kidnapped and forced to work on a fishing raft before being rescued by his family.

Date: 17 December 2019

Source: Myanmar Times


Image credits

  1. Men prepare fishing rafts on the shore - Men prepare fishingPhoto by lain, Flickr CC; http://bit.ly/2Y3yO7e