Cambodia’s most prominent teachers union appealed to international groups on Wednesday to intervene in the case of 13 ex-opposition party members who were fired from their jobs with the Ministry of Education.

Ouk Chhayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA), called the firings “politically motivated” in letters to the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Labour Organization and the union federation Education International.

“Teachers similarly confirmed that [the Ministry of Education] did not call them for questioning but just fired them without a proper reason,” Chhayavy said in the letter, adding the firings are “political revenge” because the employees were former opposition officials.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Salin could not be reached yesterday.

Neither the ministry nor the prime minister’s cabinet have responded to CITA’s appeals, according to Chhayavy.

Chhayavy said members would try again to get a response at the ministry.

“If it’s still not solved, we’ll gather in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to ask for his intervention,” she said.

CITA is a frequent critic of government policies in the education sector and its members have often been accused by the ruling party of being pro-Cambodia National Rescue Party – the country’s largest opposition, which was forcibly dissolved at the government’s behest last November.