23 Thai officials removed from posts after Suu Kyi trip

Activist calls for transparency over why officials were transferred in province notorious for refugee rights abuses, graft

23 Thai officials removed from posts after Suu Kyi trip

World Bulletin / News Desk

More than 20 Thai officials including a governor and chief prosecutor -- were transferred days after a visit by Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a coastal seafood manufacturing hub that has been the subject of allegations of exploitation, activists confirmed Monday.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha signed the transfer orders Saturday that shifted the 23 officials in central Samut Sakhon province to inactive posts with immediate effect.

No official reason was given for the transfer, but the province has longstanding problems with corruption and has been subject to accusations of forced labor.

Samut Sakhon is home to a large Myanmar migrant population that services the bulk of Thai fishing fleets in the province.

Andy Hall, an activist from the Migrant Workers Rights Network, underlined the need for more transparency over the transfers and how “it would bring accountability". 

"The visit by Suu Kyi to meet with the workers was a disaster with a majority of migrant workers being kept out of the meetings. It was very poorly done by the officials," he said.

“There are also longstanding issues of corruption here,” he added.

For years, international organizations have leveled accusations of child labor, forced labor, discrimination, trafficking in persons and exploitative working conditions at fish preparing and packing factories in Samut Sakhon.

Many in the overseas markets of the United States, Europe and Asia called for a boycott of Thailand, after a report found that shrimp producers had forced laborers to work 16-hour days for little or no pay.

On Thursday, a large deployment of police and military officers failed to stop thousands of Myanmar migrant workers breaking through security gates in a seafood market in the city of Mahachai attempting to get closer to State Counselor-cum-Foreign Minister Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi’s visit to Thailand had been considered a triumph for the four million-strong Myanmar migrant worker community.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Haziran 2016, 12:36