Forced labor in Taiwan’s distant-water fishing fleet must be addressed, the Control Yuan said on Thursday, when it issued demands of government entities over the issue.
The US in a report on child and forced labor in September last year for the first time said that fish caught by Taiwanese-flagged vessels are products of forced labor.
“Crews on Taiwan-flagged vessels face confiscation of documents, long days with little rest, physical and verbal abuse, and lack of payment,” the US report said.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Control Yuan member Wang Yu-ling (王幼玲) said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labor and the Fisheries Agency have known about forced labor on the Taiwanese fleet since as early as 2019, when Greenpeace released a report on the issue.
The government bodies knew that Greenpeace would submit its findings to Washington, but took no concrete measures to address the issue, Wang said.
To spur reforms, the Control Yuan has demanded that the three bodies take corrective measures to ensure fishers’ rights are protected.
It is also urging the Executive Yuan to make changes, she said.
If this issue is not dealt with, Taiwan faces being banned from exporting fish to the US and Europe, Control Yuan member Tsai Chung-yi (蔡崇義) said.
Among the demands is that the Fisheries Agency assign more personnel to conduct inspections, and for it and the Ministry of Labor to educate the fisheries industry on human rights.
Executive departments should ensure that their employees have a clear understanding of what constitutes forced labor, as such cases are sometimes classified as employer-employee disputes, the Control Yuan said in a statement.
Cross-agency communication — within executive departments and between departments and the Judicial Yuan — is required so reports of forced labor are dealt with efficiently and perpetrators punished, the statement said.
The Executive Yuan is required to evaluate whether a ban on products of child labor and forced labor is needed, as well as review policies on migrant fishers, it said.
Taiwan has 1,106 distant-water fishing vessels and the sector employs about 22,000 migrant fishers, the Control Yuan said.
However, the US report said that an estimated 35,000 migrant workers, mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines, work on such vessels, and that Taiwan’s fleet is the world’s second-largest, after China’s, the Control Yuan said.
The Fisheries Agency said in a statement that it would work to improve so Taiwan would not be included in a US report on child and forced labor again.
Taiwanese law says that after receiving a corrective measure issued by the Control Yuan, government departments should immediately make improvements or take appropriate action.
They should also reply to the Control Yuan in writing on improvements or actions.
If the Control Yuan receives no reply within two months, it may seek further details.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
A senior US senator on Monday questioned the willingness of some US allies to help defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) expects the US and Japan to respond in a war in the Taiwan Strait, he was “a little less confident what our other allies would do,” US Senator John Cornyn said. Australia and New Zealand have voiced support for Taiwan, but it “is a far cry from committing troops to repel an invasion,” Cornyn said during a discussion on China, Russia and the state of US military readiness at a forum hosted
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the