The human tragedy encumbering 18 Indonesian crew members is evidence of modern-day slavery. A crime of human trafficking has likely occurred
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Nahdlatul Ulama's youth wing, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, denounced the decision of skippers of Chinese fishing boats to bury the bodies of three Indonesian crew at sea, hinting at them been likely victims of "human trafficking".

"The human tragedy encumbering 18 Indonesian crew members is evidence of modern-day slavery. A crime of human trafficking has likely occurred," Chairman of the GP Ansor's Central Executive Board, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, stated on Thursday.

According to Qoumas’ press statement that ANTARA received here, the burials at sea for the three Indonesian crew members were an inhuman act, and so, GP Ansor had condemned it.

The Chinese fishing companies that recruited them to work for their fishing boats must apologize for this incident and should fulfill all normative rights of the deceased workers, he stated while emphasizing that Indonesia’s government must protect all Indonesian crew members.

GP Ansor has urged related ministries and government agencies to offer optimal protection to all Indonesians working for Chinese fishing vessels during their quarantine prior to being repatriated to Indonesia, according to Qoumas.

In connection with this case, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian for an explanation on the treatment meted out to several Indonesians working for the Chinese fishing vessels.

The ministry will also seek explanation from the Chinese ambassador over the burial at sea for bodies of the deceased Indonesian crew of Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 fishing boats, the ministry had earlier noted in its statement.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry is keen to know whether the burial at sea for the deceased Indonesian workers had met the International Labour Organization (ILO) Seafarer's Service Regulations.

According to the ILO Seafarer's Service Regulations, a seafarer is buried at sea if "the death is caused by infectious disease and the deceased has been sterilized; and unable to keep the corpse for reasons of hygiene or the port of entry forbids vessels to keep cadavers, or other legitimate reasons".

In December 2019 and March 2020, three Indonesians working for Long Xin 629 and Long Xin 604 had died while the fishing boats were sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

The fishing vessels' skippers justified their decision to bury the bodies of their deceased Indonesian crew members at sea since they had died of an infectious disease, and the other crew members too had agreed on their burials at sea, according to the ministry.

The Indonesian Embassy in Beijing has sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Foreign Ministry for seeking clarification on this case.

The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul had coordinated with the South Korean authorities to repatriate 11 Indonesian crew members on April 24 and 14 others on May 8. The embassy is also attempting to send the coffin of a deceased Indonesian crew, identified as E.
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Translator: Zuhdiar L, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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