Unions Cambodia condemn violence used on peaceful protesters
We, as members of the Labor and Human Rights’ Defenders Alliance (HALDA), would like to express our dissatisfaction over the suppression and violent dispersion that occurred on April 4, 2016 at approximately 10:00am, against activists, union leaders and human rights groups who held a peaceful gathering to call for the National Assembly to delay passage of the Draft Trade Union Law and consider the union’s proposals to ensure it aligns with the Cambodian Constitution, UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and ILO Conventions 87 and 98.
Violence was inflicted on Mr. Sut Chet, officer of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) which caused serious injury to left side of his face and he was brought to LICADHO’s clinic immediately for treatment. Also, well-known woman union leader and human rights defender Mrs. Yang Sophorn, President of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union (CATU) was firmly pushed to the ground from a standing position. The violence caused by Kim Vutha and the actions of the security guards of the Daun Penh District are in violation of local and international laws.
Unionists, human right groups and international organizations participating and observing are totally dismayed by the acts of violent dispersion against the peaceful protesters. This cannot be tolerated. Demonstrators were simply exercising their rights in accordance with the law yet were treated with such brutality and violence in response. As members of the alliance, we condemn these immoral and vicious acts of the Daun Penh District Authority. We would like to appeal to and demand action from the following:
For the international community, development partners and international brands:
- Continue pushing the Government to consider the independent trade unions’ proposal for improvements on the proposed draft of trade union law in line with the Constitution and international laws; and
- Consider and place conditions on any foreign development assistance to the Government of Cambodia in order to help ensure that workers’ rights and human rights are fully respected in line with international obligations.
For the Royal Government:
- Take action against the violent perpetrators and bring them to justice according to the legal procedure.
For the National Assembly/Senate:
- Refuse to pass the proposed draft trade union law until this law is in line with the Cambodian Constitution, International Covenant and ILO Conventions 87 and 98.
If these demands are not considered, we will continue and increase our campaign at both the national and international level.