EU, Taiwan discuss views on protecting fishermen’s rights

09-May-2019 Intellasia | Focus Taiwan | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Taiwanese and European Union (EU) representatives exchanged views and experiences on how to advance the rights of fishermen working aboard Taiwanese deep-sea fishing vessels during a two-day workshop that concluded Tuesday in Kaohsiung, according to the EU’s representative office in Taiwan.

During the workshop, more than 60 participants from public administration, the fishing industry, unions, civil society and academia addressed the challenges and solutions for ensuring decent working conditions for fishing crews, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) said in a press release.

Among the speakers at the workshop were a European Commission (EC) official, Andriana Sukova, deputy head of the EC’s directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

“The EU considers Taiwan a like-minded partner in advancing human rights and we look forward to continue promoting human rights with Taiwan,” EETO head Madeleine Majorenko said.

The workshop was a follow-up to the first EU-Taiwan Human Rights Consultation that took place in Taipei last March. This year’s consultation will take place in Brussels in mid-May, the EETO said.

According to the EETO, fishing is recognised as one of the most hazardous and high-risk occupations.

“The migrant background of many fishermen further exacerbates their risk of falling victim to discrimination, abuse or exploitation,” it said.

“These challenges make it important to ensure that the fishing sector is subject to effective labour legislation that will protect fishermen and will help make the profession attractive and sustainable,” it added.

During the workshop, presentations from the EU and Taiwanese experts in the field, along with subsequent discussions, identified that “fair recruitment, placement, adequate monitoring and inspection,” are the major challenges for effective enforcement of fishermen’s fundamental rights.

Lin Kuo-ping, deputy director-general of the Fisheries Agency, one of the Taiwanese officials participating in the workshop, said the workshop was meant to allow both sides to better understand each other’s systems and regulations and share experience in how to carry out inspections to make sure they are being carried out properly.

The workshop was held at a time when local and international human rights groups have called for action to prevent abuses of migrant fishermen, particularly after a British INGO, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), found during an investigation last year that crews on Taiwan-registered vessels have been subjected to assaults, are underpaid and overworked.

The workshop was also held against the backdrop that Taiwanese fisherman and government authorities are hoping the EU will lift the “yellow card” it issued against Taiwan in 2015 for its lack of cooperation in fighting illegal fishing.

The EU placed Taiwan on its watch list for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in October 2015.

Since then, EU officials have visited the country every six months to see how the issues are being addressed.

Majorenko told local media that EU inspectors have underlined the need for Taiwan’s government to better protect fishermen’s rights.


Category: Taiwan

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