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Companies will be held accountable for human rights violations

March 31, 2021 6:05 am

Companies found to be violating the human rights of their workers will be taken to task.

This was the sentiment shared by the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj.

The Commission is now investigating a shipping company in relation to allegations of serious human rights breaches.

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Raj says this involves the shipping company’s employees, seven Filipino seafarers who are currently stuck in Fiji with no pay.

He says the allegations by the seafarers include non-provision of food, no medical attention while on the ship, living in unhygienic conditions in ships infested with cockroaches, blocked toilets, insufficient time for rest, and recuperation and non-payment of salaries with reduction of pay without notice and consultation.

While speaking to FBC news, Raj says a representative of the shipping company claims that they do not recognize human rights.

“However, this company needs to know that there are constitutional safeguards that protect the rights and freedoms of people. This applies not just to our citizens but to foreign nationals as well.”

Raj stresses this needs to be thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities.

He says the Commission has written to the shipping company in question and is waiting for a written response on the allegations.

Currently, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and some local well-wishers are providing financial and legal support to these seafarers.

Raj confirms the Commission is working with the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Fiji Police Force, Department of Immigration, and Ministry of Employment on this matter.

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