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Burying the past: Nix criminal checks, say protesters

Burying the past: Nix criminal checks, say protesters

Almost 100 workers rallied outside the Ministry of Labour yesterday calling on the government to scrap a law forbidding people with criminal convictions from registering a union.

Represented by eight unions, the group gave a petition to officials demanding that past convictions not be used against unionists.

Cambodian Food and Services Workers Federation president Sar Mora said that since late last year, the ministry has ordered the top three officials at each union to provide details of their criminal records when registering.

“The requirement is an abuse of union rights,” Mora said.

But Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said some leaders were trying to cover up their past.

“Some union leaders were previously drug users, criminals now hiding behind a union,” he said. “This has made them hard to identify.”

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