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  • S Group a key witness in the upcoming trial of Finnwatch researcher Andy Hall - Finnwatch
    some backbone here It is important that companies lend their support to the free and independent functioning of civil society said Sonja Vartiala Finnwatch s executive director The S Group met with Natural Fruit who has brought the charges against Andy Hall in 2013 to discuss the Finnwatch research findings The business relationship with Natural Fruit was not terminated because of the Finnwatch report but because Natural Fruit would not

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/361-s-group-a-key-witness-in-the-upcoming-trial-of-finnwatch-researcher-andy-hall (2016-02-18)
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  • Thai Court Confiscates Passport and Imposes Travel Ban on British Migrant Rights Defender Andy Hall - Finnwatch
    travel freely are a form of harrassment and intimidation Ever since the beginning of this campaign of judicial harassment Andy Hall has shown nothing but respect towards the rule of law and the judiciary in Thailand alongside his willingness to respond to allegations against him in a court of law For this reason there seems to be no reason to treat him as a flight risk confiscate his passport and prevent him from travelling in and out of Thailand said Sonja Vartiala executive director of Finnwatch Andy Hall will next appear at Bangkok South Criminal Court on 18th January when he will be formally indicted on the above charges that carry a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment if found guilty He is legally obliged to attend the hearing and will plead not guilty to all the charges duing the hearing The full criminal trial on these charges is expected to commence later in 2016 Andy Hall s bail surety costs of 300 000 baht presented to the Court today were shared between Finnwatch the Thai Tuna Industry Association TTIA and Thai Union Group Natural Fruit Company Ltd filed this computer crimes and criminal defamation case against Hall following publication of a Finnwatch report exposing labour rights violations at the company s pineapple processing plant in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in Southern Thailand Hall coordinated field research and conducted interviews with Natural Fruit workers for the report Most workers at Natural Fruit are migrant workers from Myanmar Finnwatch is a Helsinki based NGO focussed on global impacts of Finnish business enterprises At the time of the publication of the report several Finnish supermarket chains were using Natural Fruit processed pineapple concentrate in their private label pineapple juice The retailers have since stopped purchasing pineapple concentrate from Natural Fruit due to

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/357--thai-court-confiscates-passport-and-imposes-travel-ban-on-british-migrant-rights-defender-andy-hall- (2016-02-18)
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  • Open Letter to the Thai Authorities - Finnwatch
    public statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarifying important steps the Thai government is already taking to tackle issues of exploitation and promote the rights of migrant workers in Thailand We also welcome commitments from investigated companies to respect migrant worker rights Finnwatch MWRN SERC and Swedwatch however would like to highlight three important issues for your further consideration in relation to this reports as follows An adequate response to these research findings outlining specific instances of rights exploitation in major Thai poultry export establishments still requires a thorough investigation into the allegations by all concerned agencies within the Thai Government The findings of such an investigation conducted in a timely manner should be published Appropriate legal enforcement should be undertaken and uncovered rights violations fully remedied Irresponsible recruitment practices clearly contribute greatly to the exploitative situation migrant workers interviewed for this Finnwatch Swedwatch joint research project outlined This once again highlights how the Thai Government needs to urgently develop and implement specific long term in bound migration policies and regulations based on international labour and human rights standards in response to this concerning situation that continues to place migrant workers at high risk of human trafficking forced labour and debt bondage Social dialogue between the government industry actors worker representatives and civil society is key to overcoming challenges faced by migrant workers both in the poultry industry and in other labour intensive migrant employing sectors of the Thai economy We encourage the Thai Government and the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association in particular to develop industry improvement programmes based on social dialogue and backed up by effective and transparent enforcement of all related laws Today Finnwatch have launched an English translation of its previously published Finnish language research report Employment Available in Exchange for Debt focusing in more

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/351-open-letter-to-the-thai-authorities (2016-02-18)
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  • On the borderline of responsibility - Finnwatch
    Food Products who produce canned mango imported to Finland by the retail chain are undocumented and they are paid illegally low wages Tokmanni has failed to carry out effective monitoring of its suppliers responsibility policies and practices and has become involved in human rights violations at these two factories said Finnwatch researcher Anu Kultalahti In order to mitigate human rights risks companies should seek to avoid purchases from suppliers whose working conditions they have not gathered information on through a human rights due diligence process Tokmanni has made purchases from factories in risk countries without adequate controls in place We encourage Tokmanni to sign up to the newly adopted shared vision for respecting the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Grocery Trade Supply Chains between Finnish grocery trade NGOs and authorities said Kultalahti This year Finnwatch has repeatedly brought to light human rights violations in the supply chains of Finnish companies in Thailand Of particular concern are the various recruitment related fees that are charged to migrant workers It is only fair that the employer should cover the full cost of recruitment said Kultalahti The official migration policies are a contributing factor to the situation were many

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/353-on-the-borderline-of-responsibility (2016-02-18)
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  • FAULTY RSPO AUDIT COMMISSIONED FOR EVALUATING MODERN DAY SLAVERY ON PALM OIL GIANT FELDA PLANTATIONS - Finnwatch
    21 2015 The international coalition has issued the following in response to both the audit process and its findings Forced labor and human trafficking are very serious crimes and investigations into these crimes require skilled labor assessors a rigorous methodology and the right evaluation criteria The audit undertaken by the RSPO and indicators used to investigate The Wall Street Journal s findings of human trafficking and forced labor on RSPO member FELDA s palm oil plantations fall far short of what is required Companies and investors associated with FELDA such as Cargill Wilmar Procter Gamble and Nestlé must go beyond the RSPO labor audit and independently and transparently investigate FELDA s plantations using a skilled external labor assessor and globally agreed criteria for forced labor and human trafficking The compliance audit commissioned by the RSPO found major non compliances with RSPO requirements at all FELDA estates visited and determined that RSPO certification bodies had not properly evaluated compliance However the conclusions of the report were weaker on forced labor and human trafficking potentially highlighting the inadequacy of the RSPO Principles and Criteria P C in screening such risks Specifically the RSPO P C fails to require evaluation of workers recruitment process It s in the recruitment of new workers where deception a critical element of forced labor and trafficking normally occurs Further the conclusions of the report on forced labor and human trafficking seem to be out of step with the evidence contained in it Troublingly while the report states that it found no evidence that forced or trafficked labor would be used in the FELDA estates included in the assessments the audit report documents numerous findings that are internationally recognized as indicators of forced labor According to the audit report minimum wages were not paid workers did not understand

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/348-faulty-rspo-audit-commissioned-for-evaluating-modern-day-slavery-on-palm--oil-giant-felda-plantations (2016-02-18)
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  • Abuse of labour rights continue at Siam Sempermed medical glove factory in Thailand - Finnwatch
    problems in the production in Malaysia of Ansell medical gloves which are marketed by Berner Medical A Malaysian factory which produces gloves for the public sector confiscates passports of its workers forces its workers to work overtime and restricts the movement of its workers The information on Ansell is based on an audit commissioned by the Swedish public procurement bodies Finnwatch reminds that socially responsible public procurement is still in its infancy in Finland Finnwatch s follow up report tells about the continuing abuse of labour rights at Siam Sempermed medical glove factory in Thailand Several hospital districts across Finland use gloves made at Siam Sempermed The report which is based on interviews with workers tells that the factory keeps workers travel document sets mandatory production targets and deducts large documentation fees from the salaries of the migrant workers Some of the migrant workers have found the conditions at the factory so unsatisfactory that they have fled without their personal documents says Sonja Vartiala Executive Director of Finnwatch Some previously reported problems at the factory have been fixed workers are now given pay slips and employment contracts in their own language it s easier to obtain sick leave and according to the workers the factory no longer dismisses workers illegally Finnwatch has been monitoring the working conditions at Siam Sempermed since 2013 OneMed which markets gloves made at Siam Sempermed in Finland has actively audited the factory and demanded action from the factory s Austrian co owner Audits have however not reached the root causes of the problems It s now time to increase dialogue directly between the Thai factory the buyers and civil society organisations Vartiala notes Finnwatch s report also tells about problems in the production in Malaysia of Ansell medical gloves which are marketed by Berner Medical

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/343-abuse-of-labour-rights-continue-at-siam-sempermed-medical-glove-factory-in-thailand (2016-02-18)
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  • Country by country reporting: lessons from Finland - Finnwatch
    own ways to develop the reporting as they feel appropriate but this was a clear failure 2 According to the Ministry s guidance the companies needed also to report all direct and indirect tax payments and public subsidies received country by country covering all types of taxes i e CIT VAT etc but only to the extent that the company itself considers this essential If the company chose not to report some information it had to explain this i e comply or explain Also the share of transfer of ownership of intra group corporations was to be published Problem No materiality criterion was given and businesses were given free rein to limit their reports by simply referring to trade secrets confidentiality or even the amount of revenue in a particular country The guidance required information of all types of taxes tax footprint but did not stress enough that the direct taxes paid by the company itself CIT should be reported without exception and independently from other taxes Consequence Some companies gave only information on their most important countries of operation based on their high share of revenue in those countries though without defining transparent euro thresholds except for one company So CbCRs did not include information on tax havens where for example the company s amount of employees and revenue is low zero Some companies went even further and reported information only in Finland and gave information on the other countries as consolidated figures which clearly does not qualify as a CbCR Some companies limited their CIT reporting by arguing that the amount share of CIT relative to the other types of taxes paid collected by the company mainly VAT is only minor Many companies refused to publish information on state subsidies as the international definition on them is not clear The guidance did not define a public subsidy 3 The guidance required companies to publish all direct and indirect taxes as well as public subsidies in countries that the OECD had defined as tax havens Problem No list of tax havens was provided and it remained unclear what countries exactly the guidance referred to whether it was the OECD Global Forum s list or the OECD list of uncooperative tax havens or was it simply left to companies to define the tax havens based on the criteria that OECD determined already in the late 1990s Consequence None of the companies with affiliates in tax havens reported the required information One company stated that the OECD list on uncooperative tax havens is empty hence no duty to report 4 The guidance also asked the companies to report the following information on voluntary basis investments procurements on a country by country basis effective tax rates of the corporate group with explanatory calculations taxes in default and deferred taxes and reference data from earlier years accounting periods This was also voluntary but it recommended that the CbCR would be verified by an independent third party Problem This was only voluntary Consequence Only

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/336-country-by-country-reporting:-lessons-from-finland (2016-02-18)
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  • Search - Finnwatch
    return results containing either this or that Entering this and that with quotes into the search form will return results containing the exact phrase this and that Search results can also be filtered using a variety of criteria Select one or more filters below to get started Search by Author Search All 15 4 2011 17 6 2011 2011 04 27 00 00 00 2011 05 03 00 00 00

    Original URL path: http://www.finnwatch.org/en/search (2016-02-18)
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