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20 Mär 2019

Narim Khuon, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Civil society and unions express concerns over the EBA during the EU delegation's visit and urge the govt. to address human and labour rights issues

"Civil society groups address possible EBA suspension", 20 March 2019

Civil society groups and trade unions are calling for concrete measures to prevent the possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything-but-arms preferential trade status during various meetings with the European Union ...

Ket Sophann, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, ... said an EU delegation from Brussels will meet government officials ..., including Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn and Interior Minister Sar Kheng ...

“There will be a discussion tomorrow concerning NGOs and businessmen,” Mr Sophann said...

Following ... meeting, a total of 68 NGOs, associations and trade unions will express their concerns over the possible withdrawal of the EBA.

In a letter planned to be submitted after the meeting, the rights groups said that “as defenders of fundamental rights and labour rights, we fully understand the EU’s position and decision. However, we are deeply worried that the EBA suspension will directly and negatively impact Cambodian people’s welfare and livelihood.”

... “We, the undersigned Cambodian civil society organisations, associations, trade unions […] and citizens, call on the Royal Government of Cambodia to take concrete measures to restore civic space in Cambodia, and guarantee the protection and fulfilment of human rights and labour rights to ensure the people’s welfare and livelihood,” the letter said...

Soeng Sen Karuna, with rights group Adhoc, said the government should weigh in on the negative consequences of losing the EBA...

Government spokesman Phay Siphan ... said the government welcomes issues raised by NGOs concerning the suspension of EBA.