Labour Abuse: Taiwanese Fisheries Human Rights Baseline Study Published

Press Release

18th October 2019

“An Indonesia fisherman was even beat with fist by the employer right in the government office…He used to be an Imam, but suffered and starved in Taiwan!”
Allision Lee, Secretary-general of the Yilan Migrant Fishermen Union.

London, UK. Human Rights at Sea publishes a new baseline study in relation to the Taiwanese coastal and deep water fishing industry responding to ongoing field reporting of systemic human rights abuses for national and migrant crews despite current efforts to curb abuse reflecting international human rights and fisheries standards.

The publication titled ‘Awareness and Application of Human Rights in Taiwan’s Fishing Industry’ is part of the series of ongoing baseline studies being undertaken by Human Rights at Sea to quantify and qualify the levels of understanding, education and application of human rights provisions and protections of coastal States.

Supported by Taiwanese civil society, welfare organisations, Catholic missions and Government departments the study combines desk reviews with field research, legal and academic review to baseline the current situation in Taiwan with the aim of providing voluntary recommendations for State-level improvement within the sector.

The study is itself baselined against the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the charity’s founding principle that ‘human rights apply at sea, as they do on land’.

Recommendations for the Taiwanese Fishing Authority

  1. Strengthen international collaboration and learn from other countries’ experience to accelerate the process of extending human rights protections at sea.
  2. Strengthen implementation of the existing laws, policies and instruments in respect of human rights protections for national and migrant fishermen in the maritime sector.
  3. Abolish the Overseas Employment Scheme and ensure that all migrant fishermen, whatever their State origin, are protected by Taiwanese Labour Law when employed in maritime roles.
  4. Return labour and recruitment agency management responsibilities from the Fisheries Agencies to the Ministry of Labour.
  5. Safeguard and provide necessary training for migrant fishermen prior to work.
  6. Embed the philosophy and State-led narrative of ‘human rights at sea’ in the national agenda.
Taiwan Fisheries Human Rights Baseline Study Report – October 2019

A baseline human rights study of the human rights awareness, provisions, policy and protections for national and migrant fishers working in the Taiwanese coastal and distant water fleets.




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