Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 12 January 2022 in Shah Alam
The Labour Law Reform Coalition strongly condemns the high-handed arrest of 9 Cambodian trade union leaders – including seven women and two men – who were detained on 31 December and also in early January 2022.
More than one thousand members of the Labour Rights Support Union of Khmer Employees of Naga World (LRSU) have been on strike since 18 December 2021 over the unfair dismissal of 365 Naga World casino and resort staff members.
On 4 January, the plainclothes police violently pulled the union president Chhim Sithar into an unmarked white sedan, pushing unionists away and causing them to fall on tar road.
Moreover, all of them are facing charges of incitement to commit a felony under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code. These same provisions have previously been used to prosecute human rights defenders in the country.
These suppression of trade unions contravene the right to freedom of association, assembly and expression. The arrest and detention is clearly in violation of the ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of association and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that ratified by the Cambodian government.
We call on the Cambodian government to immediately and unconditionally release the 9 unionists currently under pre-trial detention. All malicious charges and harassment against the unionists should also be dropped.
We also note that Naga World Casino is majority-owned by a Malaysian businessman who is among the wealthiest elites of this country. We urge the Malaysian government to demand the Naga World owner to stop violation of workers’ rights abroad and exercise human rights due diligence.
Release the detained unionists.
Respect Freedom of Association of Workers
N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition