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Press Release

24 Jan 2022

Concerns over increased attacks against human rights defenders in Cambodia

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The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is concerned by ongoing allegations of labour rights violations at Nagaworld, Cambodia, particularly relating to the undermining of the right to freedom of association, incomplete payments and unfair dismissals.

These violations coincide with a wider trend of increased attacks against human rights defenders in Cambodia. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre recorded a dramatic increase in attacks on human rights defenders in Cambodia during COVID-19, with 93 attacks recorded between 2020-2021.

  • 42 of these attacks were related to peaceful protests. 
  • One in five of these attacks targeted labour leaders and trade unionists. 
  • The most predominant type of attack was judicial harassment, including detentions that have been defined as arbitrary, and strategic lawsuits filed by companies with the aim to silence activists who are critical of their operations.

Between 31 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, police arrested 30 unionists who have been on strike against the “unfair dismissal” of more than 1,000 employees of Naga World on 18 December 2021. Among those arrested:

  • Eight union members and leaders were charged with incitement to create social chaos, carrying up to two years in prison. They have been held in pre-trial detention.
  • Seven of the eight detained union leaders are women. 

The Resource Centre approached Nagaworld to provide a response to these allegations, but the company did not respond. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre calls for the end of judicial harassment against against Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer (LRSU) trade unionists.