Forum urges countries not to arrest innocent fishermen

3:57 PM, Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Vasudeva BoloorMangaluru : The World Forum of Fisher Peoples Coordinating Committee has urged the governments of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to desist from arresting, harassing and killing innocent fishermen when they cross the International Maritime Boundary Line.

The committee held its meeting at Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, between April 22 and April 29 this year, to discuss various issues concerning the fishermen community.

The meeting was presided over by Muhammad Ali Shah from Pakistan, said a release from National Fisher Workers Forum.

Forum vice-chairperson Vasudev Boloor said in the release that the committee was of the view that if at all fishermen cross the international boundary line, it is just for fishing and nothing else. Hence, the South Asian countries should desist from arresting them.

Article 73 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) states that neighbouring countries should neither arrest nor punish fishermen during fishing.

The rule should also apply to South Asian countries.

The committee has urged organisational bodies and specialised agencies of the United Nations system under UNCLOS to take immediate steps to release fishermen who have been detained and also not to arrest them in future.

It also resolved to take up the matter with respective national governments as well as the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

It also urged the governments to take up the issue at the upcoming SAARC heads of governments meeting to be held in Pakistan in November 2016 to find out a permanent solution to the issue.

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