Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ILO petitions Hun Sen for release of detained NagaWorld protesters

ILO petitions Hun Sen for release of detained NagaWorld protesters

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Laid-off NagaWorld employees protest in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. FACEBOOK

ILO petitions Hun Sen for release of detained NagaWorld protesters

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to use his powers to ensure the immediate release of NagaWorld trade union activists following their arrest on “conspiracy” charges – a matter officials said must be resolved through the courts.

ILO director-general Guy Ryder made the call in a letter to Hun Sen on January 7, stating the fundamental importance of respect for freedom of association as one of the primary safeguards of peace and social justice which he said is fully recognised by Cambodia’s laws and Constitution.

Ryder called for the release of all detained workers and the dropping of all criminal charges related to their trade union activity.

“I expressed deep concern over the recent arrests of workers and union activists following the peaceful strike called by the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of Naga World (LRSU),” Ryder said in a subsequent press statement.

Nine union leaders and activists have been indicted by the court thus far with eight of them placed in pre-trial detention on charges of “inciting serious social unrest” after more than 1,000 workers of the integrated resort went on strike to protest the lay-off of 365 fellow employees who they say were targeted for union organising.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on January 11 that private companies’ hiring or firing of workers was not something the government has any power over and it could only encourage a peaceful settlement, while the legal action against the protest leaders was a matter for the courts and under their jurisdiction as an independent judiciary and thus it would be inappropriate for the prime minister to interfere with the process.

“The arrest of the unionists was the court’s prerogative. It wasn’t done as part of the labour dispute, rather it concerns criminal activities allegedly carried out by the protest leaders.

“Therefore, the ILO should pause and consider whether their request is one that supports the rule of law in Cambodia, which is best served by leaving the matter to the courts so they can find out the facts and the evidence,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio