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20 Apr 2024

Forum for Levande Historia

Cambodia: Jailed union leader wins human rights award from Sweden

"2024: Sithar Chhim", 20 April 2024

The Per Anger prize winner of 2024, Sithar Chhim, is paying a high price for her union engagement and has endured harassment and threats for years. She is now imprisoned and will not be able to come to Sweden to receive the prize…

“They can put me and other leaders in prison, but they cannot shut down our fighting spirit,” Sithar Chhim…

The jury’s statement

"Sithar Chhim has been awarded this year’s Per Anger Prize for her tireless and dedicatedtermined work to promote democracy and respect for human rights in Cambodia.

As a union leader, in a country ruled by an autocratic regime where human rights defenders are constantly under attack, she demands that employers comply with the law and that the State uphold it. Because of this… she is now in imprisoned. 

She is a vital source of support for Cambodian women who are forced to work under appalling conditions.  They are demanding to have their voices heard and their rights respected at their places of work.

Even though Sithar Chhim has endured harassment, threats, and violence for years, her fight for justice continues. Today she is imprisoned, but refuses to give up. Even in prison, she encourages and supports her fellow inmates.   

Her enormous courage and dedication are an inspiration. As a young female leader, she is a role model for us all."