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Union law violates human rights, finds OHCHR

The United Nations Human Rights Commission in Cambodia (OHCHR) yesterday released an analysis of the contentious draft trade union law finding key clauses to be in violation of existing Cambodian law, human rights norms and the ILO’s conventions.

The report, which evaluated more than 80 articles in the draft, found that sections related to the scope of the proposed law, financial reporting requirements and criteria for electing union leaders, could be viewed as government intervention and discriminatory in light of the various laws and international norms to which Cambodia is a signatory.

The release of the analysis comes only days before a vote on the draft law on Monday; however, Wan-Hea Lee, the OHCHR representative in Cambodia, said the timing was coincidental.

“The release of our analysis is not timed to coincide with any particular event but is a reflection of the time it takes to produce a thorough analysis since obtaining an official version from the National Assembly,” she said.

On whether the OHCHR had submitted its input during the drafting process, Lee said her group had not been invited for discussions and, had it been invited, it could have shared recommendations earlier. “An open drafting process would have enabled us to contribute earlier,” she said.

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