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Report

Cambodia: American Bar Association urge the govt. to clear union leaders of criminal records & compensate them in its report on their prosecution

"Cambodia: Report on Prosecution of Six Independent Trade Union Leaders", 10 November 2020

The treatment of labor union leaders by governmental authorities in Cambodia has a volatile history and has been the subject of concern by various international and regional authorities,..., labor organizers are individually targeted with criminal prosecutions, in which the slow-moving criminal trial process becomes a punishment in and of itself. This report focuses on the prosecution of six labor union leaders who faced criminal charges...

In these six cases, this report finds significant procedural and substantive violations of international rights to fair trial, freedom of association, and other rights recognized under conventions to which Cambodia is a party..., labor union leaders Ath Thorn, Pav Sina, Mam Nhim, Rong Chhun, Yang Sophorn, and Chea Mony were officially charged with a range of crimes carrying jail sentences of up to five years, ...

Despite the ultimate avoidance of a guilty verdict for the six union leaders, the improvised nature of the acquittal demonstrates the lack of institutional protections for labor unions engaging in nonviolent criticism of governmental policy. The unexplained delay in investigating the case, conviction in the absence of any persuasive evidence on charges that were changed at the last minute, and the Prime Minister’s efforts to influence the timing and outcome of the appeal all constitute severe violations of international norms...

To restore its preferred trading status with the European Union and avoid further economic damage, the government will need to address the underlying concerns laid out by the European Commission. Yet, ..., the Cambodian government arrested and charged several union leaders, human rights defenders, and democracy advocates for various crimes...

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