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

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National