Indonesia will urge the Asean Plus Three forum to create regional conventions to combat human rights abuses and illegal fishing in Southeast Asian waters. (Reuters Photo/Romeo Ranoco)

Indonesia Will Urge Asean Plus Three Forum to Fight Crimes at Sea

BY :DAMES ALEXANDER SINAGA

DECEMBER 01, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia will urge the Asean Plus Three forum to create regional conventions to combat human rights abuses and illegal fishing in Southeast Asian waters, a senior official at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs said on Thursday (30/11).

The forum coordinates cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan and South Korea.

Arief Havas Oegroseno, deputy minister for maritime sovereignty, said the conventions will be important to develop and implement shared strategies, and exchange information on labor exploitation and human trafficking also in other sectors than fisheries.

He added that addressing the crimes would be even more effective if the market countries for fish products, like the United States and the European Union, were invited to the forum as well.

"We would exchange information directly about fish theft, smuggling or labor exploitation in the sector," he said.

In 2015, the Associated Press reported that modern slavery has been present in Indonesia's fisheries industry, when more than 300 fishermen from Myanmar and Cambodia were rescued from the Benjina island in Maluku, where they had been held captive to catch fish for Western restaurants. The fishermen reported extreme abuses by fishing company Pusaka Benjina Resources.

The case shook the international community.

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