Eight years in prison and a $10 million fine. That’s what Andy Hall is facing right now -- just for exposing multiple human and labour rights violations including child labour, passport confiscation, forced work, violence and abuse in a Thai pineapple factory.
Andy was brave enough to take on Natural Fruit Ltd, 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. Andy’s British passport has already been taken, and his bogus defamation trial has already started. But there’s still hope to secure his freedom.
Natural Fruit’s president is also the chair of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA) -- where global fruit giant Dole is an influential member. Dole could use its influence to push for the charges to be dropped -- but so far it has stood silent.
Andy's trial has already started -- call on Dole to take a stand, and demand the head of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association drops these bogus charges.
Last week, nearly 100 human rights and labor organizations, including Human Rights Watch and unions around the world, spoke out in support of Andy and called on the TPIA and its members to push Natural Fruit Ltd. to drop the charges against Andy. But TPIA’s response was despicable: the association not only refused to help, it also further threatened Andy for his work protecting migrant workers.
So Andy and his allies are asking for our support.
The aim of Natural Fruit Ltd and its industry allies is clear: To silence human rights advocates who dare to challenge their labour abuses. This isn’t just about Andy: If this lawsuit goes ahead and critics are silenced, the consequences for workers in Thailand will be real -- and they will not be good.
But we can stop this. 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 Ltd 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.
Call on Dole to get the charges against Andy Hall dropped.
Appeal to Thai Pineapple Industry Association: Urge Natural Fruit to drop cases against Andy Hall, Business and Human Rights Resource Center, 20 August 2014
Rights group out to protect Andy Hall, the Nation, 8 August 2014