Thailand: Public support for activist Andy Hall grows; trial for case filed by Natural Fruit begins 2 Sept.
Over 100 organizations around the world appealed to members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA) to urge its fellow member Natural Fruit to drop the cases filed against researcher, activist and human rights defender Andy Hall. Hall is facing a total of six criminal and civil charges brought by Natural Fruit for his work on a report by Finnwatch, which exposed serious rights abuses at the company’s factory.
Further information on this international action (including copies of the letter to industry members in English and Thai, and the press release) is available below. We will update this section on responses or actions taken by TPIA members and organizations related to this appeal.
1 Sept. 2014 update: In the lead-up to the start of Andy's Hall's trial on 2 Sept., a number of groups have launched public campaigns urging the Thai Government, TPIA, and TPIA members to tell Natural Fruit to drop the charges. More information on the Labourstart, SumOfUs and Walk Free campaigns are available below. International brands have also expressed support through the Ethical Trade Initiative and United Nordic. Further information below.
2 Sept. 2014 update: Items related to Andy Hall's trial available here.
Further updates are available here:
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Thailand: First criminal defamation case against rights defender Andy Hall dismissed – calls to drop 3 remaining cases continue
“Finnwatch researcher Andy Hall trial in Thailand: Charge is dismissed due to unlawful interrogation process”, 29 October 2014
The Prakanong Court in Bangkok dismissed defamation charges brought against Andy Hall by Natural Fruit…a pineapple export factory. Natural Fruit has launched multiple criminal and civil prosecution against the researcher and activist…as a result of his contribution to a Finnwatch report…The report revealed serious human rights violations at Natural Fruit's pineapple juice production facilities. According to the court decision the charge is dismissed due to unlawful interrogation process under section 120 of the criminal procedure code…The case verdict…is just the first of four cases filed against Andy Hall by Natural Fruit. The second case, a US$10m civil defamation case, will begin 30th of October at Nakhon Pathom Court. The third case, computer crimes act and criminal defamation charges, will proceed on 17th of November at the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court. Dates for a fourth US$4 million civil case have not yet been confirmed…
[PDF] Q&A on defamation cases brought by Natural Fruit against rights defender Andy Hall – verdict on first case out on 29 Oct
“Q&A: Criminal and Civil Prosecutions - Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall”, 27 October 2014
…The trial in Prakanong court dealt with the interview Andy Hall gave for Aljazeera in Myanmar in 2013…Hall brought evidence to court to show he has no personal interest or intention to harm Natural Fruit…Evidence was brought to court by Hall to show that if Natural Fruit has suffered financial loss it is because of Natural Fruit's own actions…The punishment stemming from defamation charges heard during the first trial which verdict will be issued on 29th October is a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine of 20, 000 Thai Baht…[T]he day of the verdict of the first case against Andy Hall and a day before his 35th birthday, international demonstrations will be held in Finland, Netherlands, UK and the United States to support Andy Hall and again request Natural Fruit to drop all the charges against him…
Author: Dole Asia Holdings
“Dole Asia Holdings Statement on the Andy Hall - Natural Fruit Co., Ltd. Matter”, September 2014
Dole has been made aware of pending litigation in Thailand involving the Thai company Natural Fruit Co., Ltd. and Mr. Andy Hall, apparently concerning claims by Mr. Hall of alleged labour rights violations at Natural Fruit’s facilities. Dole has been asked to use its status as a supposed member of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association to exert influence over Natural Fruit with respect to its pending litigation against Mr. Hall. However, Dole is not a member of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association and does not have any business dealings with Natural Fruit…
Dole response to appeals to use its influence in urging Natural Fruit to drop cases vs Hall: “Dole is not a member of TPIA & does not do business with Natural Fruit”
Author: Fresh Fruit Portal
“U.S.: Dole Food Company distances itself from Andy Hall case”, 3 September 2014
U.S.-based Dole Food Company has responded to a petition campaign urging it to put pressure on the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA) over an intimidatory legal case against a British migrant rights activist, claiming it has no connection to the group…“Dole has been asked to use its status as a supposed member of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association to exert influence over Natural Fruit with respect to its pending litigation against Mr. Hall. “However, Dole is not a member of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association and does not have any business dealings with Natural Fruit.” However, Dole Thailand is listed as a member of the TPIA and this has raised a great deal of confusion amongst the activist’s supporters… Dole Thailand belongs to Dole International Holdings...[part of] Itochu Corporation...
- Related stories: Thailand: Public support for activist Andy Hall grows; trial for case filed by Natural Fruit begins 2 Sept.
- Related companies: Itochu
Business Social Compliance Initiative expresses “great concern” over charges against Andy Hall, encourages dialogue
Author: Business Social Compliance Initiative
“Thai Pineapple Industry: Time for Cooperation Rather Than Litigation”, 1 Sept. 2014
The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) expresses great concern about civil and criminal charges pressed by Thai-based Natural Fruit Company against activist Andy Hall…Constructive cooperation, support and thus dialogue are…BSCI’s main core values and we believe these should be the principles guiding this case. The actions taken by the Thai producer will only have a negative impact on the country’s industry and consumers’ trust. BSCI acknowledges the essential role NGOs play in ensuring the protection of workers’ rights, and engages regularly with different stakeholders to create synergies and deepen impact. For this reason, BSCI joins the international motion calling on the Thai pineapple industry to drop charges against Mr. Hall and to engage in a constructive dialogue that addresses the accusations raised in the report.
Author: Ethical Trade Initiative
“Calling on Thai pineapple industry to drop charges against Hall”, 29 August 2014
We join trade unions and labour rights groups in calling for the Thai pineapple industry to drop legal action against a British labour rights activist, and focus on respecting workers’ rights in the sector…We are extremely concerned to learn of the civil and criminal charges against Hall, who produced the 2012 report “Cheap has a high price” for Finnwatch. We believe that a process of constructive engagement would be a more effective way to address allegations of serious labour rights abuses, rather than recourse to litigation. International consumers are ever more concerned about the providence of products they consume. The onus is on the Thai industry to be able to demonstrate that their pineapples are produced under conditions that meet international standards.
United Nordic voices alarm over trial of activist Andy Hall, says right way of handling criticism is through constructive dialogue
Author: AFP, Global Post
“European firms decry Thai trial of British activist”, 27 August 2014
A group of major European companies has voiced alarm at the trial of a British activist who could be imprisoned in Thailand for his investigation into alleged labour abuses in the kingdom's food industry. Andy Hall faces several civil and criminal lawsuits submitted by Thai fruit processor Natural Fruit in response to accusations of forced and child labour, unlawfully low wages and long hours. "We are greatly worried and concerned about this negative development," United Nordic, an alliance of food companies from northern Europe, said in a letter to the Thai Food Processors Association…United Nordic CEO Steinar Halvorsen told AFP that the group "will not accept such legal actions against journalists or other individuals that investigate and publish reports about human rights in Thai factories or any other factory worldwide. We consider the right way to handle such criticism to be presenting facts and engaging in constructive dialogue with all parties involved,"…
“Thailand: Drop the charges against Andy Hall”, August 2014
British migrant rights activist Andy Hall faces 7 years imprisonment and $10 million in damages from lawsuits brought by Thai pineapple company Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup. Hall's research for workers' rights NGO Finnwatch found serious abuses at Natural Fruit's pineapple factory…The Thai pineapple industry and responsible actors in the Thai Government must take action to encourage Natural Fruit to drop charges against Andy and work with civil society and unions toward a solution that protects rights of workers at pineapple facilities…Send a message to Natural Fruit, TPIA and the Thai Ministry of Labour to tell them that the charges against Andy Hall must be dropped today!
SumOfUs campaign in support of Andy Hall – call for Dole to use its influence to push for charges to be dropped
“Dole: time to take a stand on human rights”, August 2014
Eight years in prison and a $10 million fine. That’s what Andy Hall faces…just for exposing multiple human and labour rights violations…in a Thai pineapple factory. Andy was brave enough to take on Natural Fruit…one of the biggest pineapple producers and exporters in Thailand, and reveal the company’s abuse of migrant workers. But now Natural Fruit Ltd. is striking back -- hard…Dole could use its influence to push for the charges to be dropped…Dole is a massive consumer facing brand and can’t afford to be associated with a company that silences its opponents by threatening jail sentences. If they put pressure on Natural Fruit…and the industry association TPIA, then we can get the charges against Andy dropped, and continue to push for better working conditions in the industry. Let’s stand up for courageous human rights defenders and workers around the world…
Author: Walk Free
“Stand with anti-slavery activist Andy Hall”, August 2014
Andy Hall is a British campaigner with a special focus on the rights of migrant workers…[who] undertook an investigation on behalf of Finnwatch into potential labour abuses at Natural Fruit, part of NatGroup…Instead of addressing the allegations published in Finnwatch’s report, Natural Fruit decided to try and silence Andy with lawsuits. He could now face 7 years in prison and $10 million in legal damages for his investigations…This threatens the work of anti-slavery campaigners but also workers in Thailand who might be too afraid to come forward and report abuse. Join the call for justice: demand that Natural Fruit drop all charges against Andy Hall and thoroughly investigate and take action to ensure there is no modern slavery or exploitation in their business.