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Cambodia: Fair Wear, Ethical Trading Initiative & 5 other NGOs urge Cambodian govt. to address issues of human & labor rights violations

Author: Fair Wear & Others, Published on: 15 February 2020

"EU: ‘We partially and temporarily suspend preferential tariffs for the Government of Cambodia’: International community urges Cambodian government to take action", 14 February 2020

After a yearlong official investigation, and despite progress, the EU still found serious and systematic violations of human rights including severe limitations to political rights and freedom of speech as well as serious barriers to labour rights and workers exercising their associational rights.

Indeed, …, labour advocates, union leaders and activist workers have been increasingly targeted by the Cambodian government. Lately there has been some progress: This includes the resolution of some of the fabricated criminal charges against union leaders, the restoration of some of the unions’ ability to access the Arbitration Council, and some recent amendments to the Trade Union Law.

At the same time, the current environment for labour rights advocates, trade union leaders, and civil society activists remains not conducive to ensure a genuine improvement of the human rights and labour rights situation in Cambodia…

The EU’s decision will take effect on the 12th of August 2020 and targets around 20% of the export including garment, footwear and accessories. It will therefore affect a significant part of the 600.000 workers employed in the sector…

We therefore call upon the Government of Cambodia to increase its efforts and make additional improvements on human and labour rights violations… As such we urge the Cambodian government to immediately address four key issues:

  1. Amend the Trade Union Law (TUL)…
  2. Repeal the Law of Associations and NGOs…
  3. Drop all outstanding criminal charges against union leaders…
  4. Respect and foster the important role of the Arbitration Council…

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