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ASEAN Need to Overcome Criminalization of Fisher folk

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Peasants and civil society groups ask ASEAN to immediately build protective mechanism to the traditional fisher folks. This mechanism is used to overcome illegal fishing, the usage of destructive fish catching tools and practice.

Antoni (33), fisher folk from Pangkalan Brandan, North Sumatera, has experienced three arrests with fictitious reasons. “We have been always tricked by the Malaysian maritime security force while sailing. At 2008, we were arrested and charged of border violation whereas we sailed below 100 miles,” he said.

Antoni was not arrested at that time, but the Malaysian security seized all the fish, along with cigarettes and all supplies for sailing. Again at 2010 with the same accusation, for 4 months Antoni and his friends were arrested by the Malaysian Maritime Police. They were brought by force to Pineng island and arrested, even experienced some tortures and beatings.

The challenge faced by fisher folks at the border is not longer limited to extreme weather, but also the criminalization done by foreign security force due to the unclear territory borders. ASEAN civil society ask regional institute to seriously manage the country borders and laws related to maritime issues.

“The initiative of ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) to overcome IUU Fishing (Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing), including the border conflict need to be institutionalized immediately,” stressed M. Riza Damanik, KIARA Secretary General.

FAO and UN have understood the urgency of this problem; they issued two important documents which are FAO Ethic Code of Responsible Fishery and UN Sea Law Convention. Riza said that the initiatives from UN should be bases for ASEAN for further actions.

“Both are important to be policy referrals for ASEAN and its member countries to strengthen the position of traditional fisher folks,” enclosed Riza.
For further information please contact Ms. Mida Saragih or email [email protected], 081322306673 and Lilik HS, 0818 777 500 or email [email protected].