The International Transport Workers’ Federation has begun legal proceedings against the Irish government over its Atypical Work Scheme, which was introduced as a way to register non-European workers in fishing and ensure their rights, however it has failed to stop routine human rights abuses, according to ITF.
Sine July 2017, 12 cases of human trafficking and abuse within the Irish fishing industry have been reported to the Irish police, international media report, which are currently being investigated.
ITF has sent an official letter to the Irish government giving it 21 days to respond positively, before taking the case to the high court. A copy of the letter states:
As of today the ITF has referred no fewer than 12 potential trafficking cases to Gardai, and of those, seven of the men have now been positively identified as suspected victims of the trafficking of human beings. The continued operation of the Atypical Work Scheme manifestly represents a real and imminent danger to… human rights.
The ITF co-ordinator for the UK and Ireland, Ken Fleming said:
Today was a milestone in this campaign in Ireland. Over the last two years, we’ve submitted evidence to every part of the Irish government, the EU and the ILO. But the abuse continues.
ITF has focused several times in the past on migrant fishermen’s working conditions in Ireland. The system to give migrant workers legal status and protect their rights was introduced in early 2016, after a collaboration between the ITF and a number of media agencies exposed cases of exploitation in the Irish fishing industry.
A similar case was recently exposed in Taiwan by the NGO coalition ‘Human Rights for Migrant Fishers’, who supported that, despite its heavily-promoted ‘New South-Bound Policy’, which aims to strengthen cultural and economic relationships with Southeast Asia, the Taiwanese government fails to protect migrant fishers – coming mainly from Southeast Asian countries – against human rights abuses, because of the lack of appropriate laws, transparency and labour inspection measures.