The government must also get involved to ensure that such incidents of abuse do not recur in future.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has suggested the formation of a mutual legal assistance treaty with China to handle alleged human trafficking and mistreatment of Indonesian crew members aboard Chinese fishing ships.

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi put forth the proposal at a bilateral meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Sanya City, Hainan, China, on Thursday (Aug 21).

"I stressed that the issue (on the Indonesian ship crew) is not merely a private issue, but the government must also get involved to ensure that such incidents of abuse do not recur in future," Marsudi remarked during a virtual press conference after the meeting on late Thursday.

To this end, the minister urged the Chinese government to forge cooperation in mutual legal assistance.

"(The necessity of) Mutual Legal Assistance addresses the need to get witnesses from Chinese nationals and to conduct transparent investigation on alleged human trafficking in the Chinese ship Long Xin 629," the minister elaborated.

Marsudi highlighted that the proposal drew a warm welcome from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

On Tuesday, South Korean TV station MBC reported a video showing a sea burial on a Chinese fishing vessel later identified as the Long Xin 629.

An unnamed Indonesian sailor on the vessel divulged details that the body flung into the sea was that of a 24-year-old Indonesian sailor, identified by his initials as AR.

AR was one of the three Indonesian seamen, who died at sea on the vessel and whose bodies were cast overboard into the Pacific Ocean.

Some 14 Indonesians, former crew members of the Chinese fishing ship Long Xing 629, were flown from South Korea to Indonesia aboard a Garuda Indonesia aircraft.

Upon their arrival on May 9, the ship crew underwent a 14-day quarantine at the Trauma Center Protection House (RPTC).

The Task Force for Human Trafficking of the Indonesian Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) handled the case.

In July, Indonesian authorities captured two Chinese fishing vessels off the coast of Riau Islands, following a report of the death of an Indonesian crew member aboard one of the ships.

The body of the crew member, identified as AH, was found in the freezer of one of the ships, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 118. AH is suspected of having fallen victim to human trafficking.

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Translator: Genta Tenri M, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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