Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM chides protesting workers

PM chides protesting workers

Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a photograph with garment workers at an event yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Prime Minister Hun Sen poses for a photograph with garment workers at an event yesterday in Phnom Penh. Facebook

PM chides protesting workers

In a speech to more than 15,000 workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen chided garment workers for blocking the road during protests and called their actions “illegal”.

“You have a right to express your unhappiness with this or that thing,” Hun Sen said. “But you should not create obstacles for people.”

He also called on garment workers to take their concerns to the authorities, and warned them against “believing the incitement of a few people”.

The premier appeared to be referring to a demonstration on Veng Sreng Boulevard last Friday, where roughly 500 garment workers from Meng Da Footwear factory took to the streets to demand better wages.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights Executive Director Chak Sopheap noted that traffic rules cannot be used to arbitrarily justify restricting the right to freedom of assembly, according to UN standards for the management of demonstrations.

Cambodia’s own Law on Peaceful Demonstrations notes that a protest can only be banned in the event it “may cause danger or may seriously jeopardise security, safety and public order”.

“Too often in Cambodia, traffic flow is cited as a justification for prohibiting assemblies outright, which is rarely if ever acceptable under international human rights law,” Sopheap said.

Mouen Tola, executive director of Central, said that garment workers often take to the streets as a last resort after legal channels have failed them.

“We should look at the root cause and how the legal framework can be simplified to make the people confident that in a few days they’re going to have a resolution.”

Cambodian Center for Human Rights Executive Director Chak Sopheap's comments have been corrected to say that traffic rules cannot be used to arbitrarily justify restricting the right to freedom of assembly.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to