Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has officially asked the United Nations Human Rights Council to pay attention to alleged human rights violations in the fishing industry.
The call was made in light of the alleged exploitation of four Indonesian crewmen aboard the Chinese fishing vessel Long Xin 629, which led to the death of the sailors between December 2019 and April this year.
"The government is serious about probing the alleged exploitation of Indonesian crewmen. We have reported this case to the UN Human Rights Council," presidental spokesman for legal affairs Dini Purwono said in a statement on Thursday.
Dini said Indonesian representative to the UN Hasan Kleib had asked the council to watch over human rights abuses in the fishing industry during a discussion held in Geneva on May 8, which talked about global efforts to provide human rights protection in handling COVID-19.
She further said the government demanded the council's role in providing protection to vulnerable groups that often went unnoticed, such as crewmen aboard fishing vessels.
Protection for workers in the fishing industry is important as the industry is one of the key industries of the global food chain, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the police are currently pursuing the labor agent alleged to have committed human trafficking.
"The police's Criminal Investigation Agency is investigating the case as a crime of human trafficking," Dini said.
Earlier this week, a video featured on South Korea's Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) showed a group of men throwing an orange body bag, which is believed to contain the dead body of an Indonesian crew member, off a fishing vessel.
MBC reported four Indonesian sailors registered to Long Xing 629 had died allegedly after reportedly enduring poor working conditions. Two unidentified Indonesian sailors told MBC that crew members allegedly were only allowed to take short breaks every six hours, had almost no time to sleep and were made to drink filtered seawater. (aly)