Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foreign activists detained

Foreign activists detained

Foreign activists detained

130306 05b
Clean Clothes Campaign protesters stage a ‘faint in’ at H&M headquarters in Stockholm. Photo Supplied

Police arrested five activists from labour-rights group Clean Clothes Campaign yesterday outside the E Garment factory in Kandal province.

Neuv Sakhan, deputy director of the Kandal provincial immigration police, told the Post four women and one man, from Norway, Belgium, England and Austria, had been taken into custody after they used a microphone to address workers on strike.

“They said they came here to meet their friends,” Sakhan said, “But they didn’t have any documents. They didn’t have their [passports with them].

“We received instructions from the National Police Commissioner [General Neth Savoeun] to detain them if they didn’t show us documents.”

The CCC, which has been vocal on wages in Cambodia and issues involving the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), has been part of wage and freedom-of-association talks with labour-rights groups and unions in Phnom Penh this week.

Since E Garment workers began striking in late January over the dismissal of C.CAWDU leaders, seven members of the union have claimed they were beaten by factory-hired thugs.  Others have accused military police of injuring them.

C.CAWDU labour dispute resolution official Buth Bunchhean said the CCC campaigners had visited E Garment about 3:30pm and were detained about two hours later.

“They’ve come here to help workers,” he said, adding they had shown photocopies of their passports, which had not been accepted as valid identification.

Police had taken them to Svay Rolum police station in Sa’ang district, telling them one of their friends could bring them their passports — a difficult task because they were staying at different hotels, Bunchhean said.

At press time, the five faced a night in the cells at the Kandal provincial police station, Sakhan said.

“We just want to find out the reason they entered Cambodia and the purpose of their visit to E Garment,” he said.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at Community Legal Education Center, questioned why police were asking for passports at a garment factory.

“If they didn’t have passports, they wouldn’t be allowed into the country,” he said. “[Police are] trying to intimidate the workers and those showing solidarity with them.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • Huge 3.5-tonne ivory haul seized in capital

    Working with US officials, Phnom Penh Autonomous Port has uncovered almost 3.5 tonnes of elephant ivory hidden in a container, the US Embassy in Cambodia said on Facebook on Saturday. A tip-off provided to the General Department of Customs and Excise by a US Fish and

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked

  • Assembly passes amendment to Political Party Law Article 45

    The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties in a move that could pave the way for former senior opposition leaders banned for five years to return to the political stage. As expected, the 115 ruling