Support Human rights defenders ; Support The Charles Hector Legal Defence Fund

For highlighting information about human rights violations suffered by 31 Burmese Migrant Workers who were working at Asahi Kosei(M) Sdn Bhd, in Charles Hector Blog, HR Defender, Charles Hector, has been sued for RM10 million by the said company.

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ALIRAN has up a fund so that concerned groups and persons can contribute to the legal cost and expenses incurred by Charles Hector, Human Rights Defender, in the legal suit initiated by Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd. A lot of financial support is needed and your immediate assistance is needed.

Payments can be made by bank transfer to:

Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara
Bank account number:

107 246 109 510

Malayan Banking Berhad, Green Lane branch, Penang, Malaysia.

(If you are outside Malaysia, please include the “SWIFT” code for our bank: MBBEMYKL)

Please also email us at aliran@streamyx.com to indicate that it is a donation to Hector’s Legal Defence Fund.

Donations may also be made by cheque or bank draft made payable to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara. Mail your cheque/bank draft to us at 103, Medan Penaga, 11600 Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia, indicating clearly that it is a donation to the Hector Legal Defence Fund. [http://aliran.com/4590.html]




Thursday, 4 August 2011

Asahi Kosei libel suit against Malaysian labour activist Charles Hector

Asahi Kosei libel suit against Malaysian labour activist Charles Hector - June 2011

In February 2011 the Malaysian subsidiary of Japanese machine parts manufacturer, Asahi Kosei, sued Malaysian labour activist Charles Hector for defamation for statements the activist had posted on his blog and Twitter page regarding the plight of Burmese workers at the company's factory.  The trial has been set for 28-29 June.  In the intervening period a number of NGOs criticised the company calling upon it to drop the lawsuit and address the concerns that Hector raises.

On 23 June Human Rights Watch issued a statement about the case, which was reported by the Associated Press.  That article states that Asahi Kosei was invited to comment, but declined: 
"...The Malaysian subsidiary of Japanese machine components maker Asahi Kosei has sued Charles Hector for defamation and is demanding...$3.3 million...in damages. Hector alleged on his blog in February that 31 Myanmarese factory workers for the company had experienced unlawful salary deductions and were threatened with deportation...Human Rights Watch complained about the large sum the company is seeking, saying it could 'intimidate labor and human rights defenders all over Malaysia.'...Asahi Kosei's representatives in Malaysia declined to comment, saying they want to wait for the High Court in Malaysia's central Selangor state to hear the case. The company contends it was not responsible for the workers because they were supplied by an employment agency and were not under the company's direct payroll at its factory on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The company also said in its lawsuit that it was not aware of any attempted deportation of the workers..."
On 27 June, the eve of the opening of the trial, the NGO Article XIX made this plea to the Malaysian Court to consider Hector's rights to freedom of expression:
"Ahead of Malaysia human right defender and blogger - Charles Hector’s defamation trial on 28-29 June 2011, ARTICLE 19 calls on the Malaysian Court to consider the case in line with international freedom of expression standards. Given the fundamental importance of the right to freedom of expression, and its recognition in Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution, ARTICLE 19 urges the Court to ensure that Malaysian defamation law is interpreted, to the extent possible, in a manner that respects Hector’s freedom of expression..."

The following is a selection of earlier NGO criticism of the company:
"To: Asahi Kosei Japan Co. Ltd... I am writing to you regarding the flagrant human rights violations undertaken by Asahi Kosei against Malaysian labor activist Charles Hector...Before any posting [by Hector regarding the situation of the Burmese workers], an email was sent to the company for clarification/verification, which contained also these words, “If there is anything that you would like to correct, kindly revert to me immediately. An urgent response would be appreciated. Failing to hear from you, I would take it that the allegations of the workers are true.” The company did not respond, and subsequently commenced a legal suit six days later. The punitive lawsuit...accentuates the harsh reality of Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia...It is a matter of public interest to ensure the grievances of any persons whose human rights have been violated are heard. Without it, there is no access to justice...I would appreciate a reply acknowledging receipt of this letter...Sincerely, Ted Smith..."
       “...the Malaysian Bar unanimously carried a motion in support of human rights defender Charles Hector....In the motion, the Malaysian Bar refers to... the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders...The Bar also references Malaysian law...The motion states that public interest places an obligation on any person that knows of any human rights violations to not just stand by but to take the necessary steps to see that such violations end, and to ensure that the victims do get justice. The Bar declares that ‘...it is best that the company does not continue to go after the ‘whistle blower’ but rather to commence the necessary investigations and...ensure that all rights of workers that work in the company are not violated, and justice is upheld’... [Includes full text of the motion]
      "The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) received information regarding a law suit being filed against Mr. Charles Hector Fernandez, a Malaysian human rights lawyer, activist and blogger over defamation...FORUM-ASIA believes that Mr. Charles Hector merely highlighted on his blog complaints of the 31 Burmese migrant workers and the allegation that they were paid far less than what was promised. Mr. Hector acted on behalf of the workers who are not familiar with their rights in Malaysia and helped them in lodging a complaint with SUHAKAM, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia...The defamation charges and the lawsuit filed against Charles Hector hinder him in his work as a human rights defender, advocating the rights of the 31 Burmese migrant workers. Rather than investigating and ensuring that workers’ rights are protected, Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn. Bhd. chose to sue the person who highlighted these violations..."
        Source: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

        http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/asahikoseilibelsuit


        NON OF COMPANY INVOLVED HAS DONE THE RIGHTS THINGS PLEASE TAKE ACTION BY SIGNING THE PETITION HERE :


        https://www.change.org/petitions/ford-chrysler-and-sony-dont-buy-from-factories-that-fight-against-human-rights


        AND HERE:

        http://www.thepetitionsite.com/319/--if-gte-mso-9xml-wworddocument-wviewnormalwview-wzoom0wzoom-wtrackmoves-wtrackformatting/




        The full trial is now fixed for  August 24-26 2011

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