Cambodia: Arrests of strikers may be breach of human rights law 

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Most of the strikers were women and many of the arrests were conducted in “a convulsive way”, the experts added. The arrests appeared to contravene the right to freedom of association, assembly and expression. 

“We besides powerfully condemn the mode successful which the archetypal arrests took place, aft dark, on a time wherever aggregate different events diverted nationalist attention”, the experts said.  

For them, this could be seen as “an underhanded mode to clamp down connected cardinal quality rights and impinge connected the escaped workout of the rights to state of peaceful assembly and of association.” 

The experts called connected the Government to explicate the effect by the police, and said they were pursuing developments closely. 


Nine people, including seven women and 2 men, have truthful acold been charged with “incitement to perpetrate a felony” under Articles 494 and 495 of the Cambodian Penal Code. They all remain successful custody, while others person been released. 

According to the experts, these aforesaid provisions person antecedently been utilized to prosecute quality rights defenders successful the country. 

The first round of arrests took spot astatine astir 8pm connected 31 December. Continued strikes resulted successful a further 17 arrests, on 3 January.  

The 3 astir elder national leaders, including president Chhim Sithar, were separately arrested connected 4 January, on their mode to articulation the ongoing strikes. 

Video footage of arrests shows constabulary utilizing what appears to beryllium excessive unit during the arrests. 

Causes of strike 

Trade national leaders and activists person been striking since 18 December against what they deem arsenic the unfair dismissal of 365 Naga World casino and edifice unit members. 

The dismissals happened after unsuccessful negotiations with their employer, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, and Phnom Penh Municipal authorities. 

“The signifier and mode of these arrests, aft concern enactment failed to beryllium resolved quickly, appears to beryllium an escalation successful tactics utilized successful erstwhile cases that person occurred successful Cambodia implicit caller years and resulted successful the wrongful imprisonment of quality rights defenders,” the experts said. 

The Cambodian Constitution includes the close to onslaught and the rights to state of association, expression, peaceful assembly, property and publication. The Cambodian Labour Law also guarantees the close to strike. 

Obligations acceptable retired successful planetary quality rights treaties, to which Cambodia is simply a party, protect the aforesaid rights.  

Civic space shrinks 

As the state gears up for local elections this year and national elections in 2023, the experts said these arrests send “a chilling connection to Cambodian radical connected their abstraction to assemble freely.” 

The experts also called connected the Government to instrumentality recommendations they person accepted during the 2019 Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council, including a pledge to make conditions wherever “civil society, including quality rights defenders, tin freely transportation retired their enactment without interference oregon hindrance”. 

The UN Special Rapporteur on the concern of human rights successful Cambodia, Vitit Muntarbhorn, has antecedently spoken retired connected the shrinking of civic and governmental abstraction successful the country.  

Independent experts, Special Rapporteurs and members of Working Groups are appointed by the Human Rights Council to show and study connected circumstantial state situations oregon thematic issues.  

They serve successful their idiosyncratic capableness and are not UN staff, nor are they paid by the UN for their work. 

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