Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - All employers should respect human rights



All employers should respect human rights

All employers should respect human rights

Dear Editor,

In a letter to The Phnom Penh Post published on August 20, 2010 (“Manufacturing a future for Cambodian youth”), Mona Tep from the Garment Industry Productivity Centre argued that more Cambodian youths should seek employment in middle management in the Kingdom’s garment factories, and that tertiary education should be restructured towards these jobs.

We agree that it would be good for all concerned if more middle management positions in garment factories could be filled by talented young Cambodians rather than foreign workers. However, one important way to encourage educated youth to choose employment in the garment sector would be for these businesses to improve their record of respecting human rights.

While labour conditions in garment factories have improved markedly in the last few years, partly as a result of the Better Factories Cambodia initiative, it is clear that problems remain. With the slew of recent stories in this newspaper regarding workers fainting on the job (“Fainting hits another factory”, August 23) and strikes by employees over insufficient pay (“Garment pay strike continues”, August 23) it should be no surprise that (as alleged by Mona Tep) Cambodian youths prefer to seek work in banking, government or international organisations. Can you blame them?

The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights has over the last year implemented a successful project working with businesses, civil society actors and the Royal Government of Cambodia to encourage and promote greater respect for human rights among businesses. Overall, the series of meetings, workshops and seminars has been very well received by the business community, many of whom now recognise that not only is respecting fundamental rights the morally and legally correct thing to do, but it is also good for business. Unfortunately, so far there has been a notable lack of engagement from businesses in the garment sector. This further contributes to the perception that these businesses do not take their responsibility to respect human rights seriously.

CCHR encourages all apparel businesses to take positive, practical steps to ensure their operations respect human rights. When they do, they are likely to find that like other leading Cambodian businesses, not only are they better able to attract talented young employees, but the productivity of their existing workforce may increase. We would welcome the opportunity to work with Mona Tep to jointly make this case to businesses in the garment sector.

Ben Winslade and Chak Sophy
Cambodian Centre for Human Rights

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the authors’ and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.