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Friday, July 3, 2020

Indonesia charges China with burials at sea

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Indonesia has summoned the Chinese ambassador to clarify the deaths of four Indonesian crew members from two Chinese-flagged vessels, the Indonesian foreign ministry said after rights groups said the crew had been mistreated and exploited.

The ministry released a statement after posting a video on social media that appeared to show a funeral at sea on a Chinese-flagged vessel.

The images show a group of men praying around an orange body bag before it is thrown into the ocean.

A representative from the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta did not immediately respond to a request for comment after the ambassador was summoned.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi later said at a press conference that three Indonesian crew members have died on Chinese-flagged fishing boats since December and have been buried at sea.

“A crew member died and was buried at sea on March 31.

In December 2019, two other crew members … died and were also buried at sea, “said Marsudi, adding that another crew member died ashore from pneumonia in a hospital from the South Korean port of Busan.

Marsudi said he asked Xiao Qian, Chiana’s ambassador to Indonesia, for clarification as to whether the burials were carried out at sea in accordance with International Labor Organization (ILO) rules and whether conditions ” inappropriate “on board the ships had contributed to the death.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a British environmental rights group, said in a statement that some crew members worked 18 hours a day, were paid just over US $ 1 a day and those paid who fell ill were not immediately taken for medical treatment ashore.

“Lawyers for the Public Interest Law (APIL) and the EJF are calling for an urgent investigation by Chinese and international authorities into the conduct of this fleet of ships,” said the EJF.

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