Jakarta: The Indonesian government has requested the UN Human Rights Council to pay closer attention to human rights violations in the fisheries industry.
"In this regard, the Indonesian Delegation made a specific reference to the often vulnerable situation faced by Indonesian fishing crew members working on foreign vessels, whose rights are often violated in the form of inhumane living conditions and slavery like conditions, which in turn have resulted in casualties," the Indonesian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva said in a press release on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
This concern was raised during an informal consultation organized by the President of the Human Rights Council on Friday, May 8, 2020 with the agenda of discussing the possibility of the issuance of a Human Rights Council Presidential Statement (PRST) on the effects of the Pandemic on Human Rights.
“During the virtual meeting between the President of the Human Rights Council, member and observer states, and civil society representatives, Indonesia underlines the urgent need for the Council to protect the rights of vulnerable groups, specifically the rights of people working in the fisheries sector”, said Indonesian Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Hasan Kleib.
Furthermore, Ambassador Kleib reiterated that such protection is not only crucial, but also strategic, as fisheries is one of the key sectors in ensuring food security, particularly in a time of a global pandemic.
During the discussions on the draft PRST, the Indonesian Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council also stressed the importance of international cooperation in tackling covid-19, including by ensuring global access to health products, encompassing diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
The President of the Human Rights Council’s initiative to issue a PRST on the effects of the Pandemic on Human Rights is also intended to address the current inability of the Council to physically meet.
At present, all international organizations in Geneva remain unable to convene physical meetings, in compliance with the large-scale physical restriction policies imposed by the Swiss authorities in the fight against covid-19.
Since the advent of the Benjina case in 2016, in which gross human rights violations were committed by a multinational fisheries company, the Indonesian delegation to the Human Rights Council have consistently advocated for greater human rights protection and safeguards in the fisheries industry, especially in the context of the business and human rights agenda.