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Cambodia: Families of workers' victims killed during violent protests for higher wages in 2014 demand justice after 7 years of injustice

"Seven Years On, Families Demand Justice for Veng Sreng Shootings", 3 January 2021

About 80 unionists, land activists, and CSO members gathered at the office of Solidarity House in Phnom Penh this morning to mark the seventh anniversary of the shooting on Veng Sreng Boulevard, in which security forces opened fire on striking workers, leaving at least four dead, dozens wounded and one missing.

… The four workers who were killed are Kim Phaleap, Sam Ravy, Yean Rithy and Pheng Kosal. Khem Sophath, another worker, has been missing since the shooting, and was last seen in the custody of security forces with a bullet wound in his stomach.

In Leakena, the mother of Sophath, called on authorities to find justice for her son. “It’s been 7 years that I’ve been waiting for my son, but it’s no use. I ask all NGOs, outside and inside the country, please find justice for my son.”…

The day before the Veng Sreng Boulevard shootings …, armed soldiers from Special Command Unit 911 beat workers and arrested 10 workers and union leaders in front the capital’s Yak Jin factory. Protesters were demanding a $160 minimum wage. The crackdown on Veng Sreng, which occurred as the opposition boycotted parliament due to a contested election result, left 38 people hospitalized, in addition to the four dead and one missing.

As part of the crackdown, twenty-three union leaders and activists were also arrested, charged and imprisoned for five months. No member of the security or armed forces has ever been suspended or prosecuted for the deaths of the workers.

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