Big companies have a responsibility to ensure that workers making their products aren't being stripped of their basic human rights. As such we call upon companies including Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Hitachi, Sony, and Toshiba to use their leverage as customers to stop a series of human rights violations by Asahi Kosei, a Japanese manufacturing company in Malaysia, or to immediately remove them from their supply chain.
The cascading series of human rights violations started earlier this year:
First, 31 Burmese migrant workers complained about their working conditions at an Asahi Kosei factory in Malaysia. In response, they were threatened at their hostel, and four were immediately taken to the airport to be deported.
Local human rights lawyer and activist Charles Hector, after having received a complaint from workers about threats of terminations and deportation, contacted the company, Asahi Kosei, to confirm the details and urge the company to ensure that the Burmese workers’ rights were respected. He Recieved no reply, and so began to document the situation on his blog and advocate for protection of the 31 workers and particularly those workers who were facing immediate deportation. In response, Asahi Kosei - who is keen to keep the story quiet - sued him for libel to the tune of $3.2 million (€2.16m) and demanded he remove the blog posts that contained the stories he’d been told by workers.
We call on Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Hitachi, Sony, and Toshiba and other major customers of Asahi Kosei, to demand that the suit against Charles Hector to be dropped and just defence for the workers to move forward without hindrance.
The next hearing is May 25th and the trial is June 28-29, so their immediate action is necessary.