Cambodia: As civil society calls for release of union leader and members of NagaWorld; Ministry of Justice & govt.-based human rights committee rebuff the call
"Justice ministry rebuffs calls to free unionists", 16 March 2023
The Ministry of Justice and the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) have rebuffed calls for the release of nine former NagaWorld employees currently detained on charges of “incitement to cause social chaos”, in relation to their ongoing labour dispute with the integrated casino resort.
The rejection came after Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a … statement urging their “immediate and unconditional” release, saying the Cambodian authorities were violating the criminal justice system by targeting union leaders and other labour rights advocates.
The HRW statement followed a Phnom Penh Municipal Court hearing earlier that day for Chhim Sithar –leader of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees (LRSU) at NagaWorld – and her eight co-accused, who are all LRSU members.
“They are being subjected to increasing pressure from Cambodian authorities as the space for civil society in Cambodia narrows ...,” said HRW Asia representative Phil Robertson.
Chin Malin, vice-chairman of the CHRC and spokesman for the justice ministry, described the statement – titled “Cambodia: Labour Leaders, Activists Facing Baseless Allegations” – as biased against the government with no specific basis.
… Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) president Ath Thorn said the recent arrest of Sithar was unlikely to be related to any criminal offences.
“The authorities should consider releasing Chhim Sithar if they do not want to see more criticism from the people, national and international organisations, as the arrests appear to threaten the wider labour movement,” he said…