Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Geneva (VNA) – Head of the Vietnamese delegation to the United Nations, Ambassador Nguyen Trung Thanh, has called on the world community to actively build a feasible international mechanism to ensure the rights of fishermen.

The diplomat made the call during an international seminar on ensuring safety at the workplace for maritime labourers, which was jointly held by Vietnam and the International Labour Organisation in Geneva on June 22 on the sidelines of the ongoing 32nd session of the UN Human Right Council.

Ambassador Thanh also called for stronger international cooperation in efforts against piracy and search and rescue missions, as well as support from relevant international organisations and countries across the globe, especially in resources and professional skills.

In the context of disputes and sovereignty overlapping, all parties should abide by international laws and conduct, he stressed.

He noted that sea-based labourers are highly vulnerable due to increasing natural disasters, piracy and other risks.

Also, maritime workers, especially in developing countries, are facing obstacles, he said, pointing out that many fishermen are living in appalling conditions without health care service and adequate wages.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 is only effective to crewmembers of above 500-tonne ships, not fishermen, he said, adding that no international convention has been introduced to ensure their rights.

Le Phan Linh, President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour’s Union of Maritime Workers, reviewed Vietnam’s policies in ensuring sea-based labourers in accordance to the MLC 2006 as well as other international commitments, and obstacles the country is facing in the field, especially in finance and mechanism.

At the same time, Brandt Wagner, head of the ILO’s Transport and Maritime Unit, called on countries to finalise and ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, to set up a mechanism protecting fishermen’s right in an effective manner. So far, the convention has been approved by only eight countries.

Participants at the seminar, including more than 30 Geneva-based permanent delegations from various countries and international organisations, lauded Vietnam and the ILO’s ideas to organise the seminar, especially when the protection of maritime workers’ right in Southeast Asia and the world in general are facing many challenges.-VNA