The Director-General of the ILO reacts to the arrest of striking workers in Phnom Penh in a letter to the Prime Minister of Cambodia

Statement | Bangkok, Thailand | 07 January 2022
In a letter to H. E. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), has expressed his 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).
The Director-General stressed the fundamental importance of respect for freedom of association as one of the primary safeguards of peace and social justice which was fully recognized by Cambodia when it voluntarily ratified ILO Conventions Nos 87 and 98 over 20 years ago. Arrests and imprisonment in connection with peaceful strike action constitute a serious interference with civil liberties in general and trade union rights in particular.

Recalling that the preventive detention of trade union leaders for activities connected with the exercise of their rights is contrary to the principles of freedom of association, the Director-General appealed to the Prime Minister to use his powers to ensure the immediate release from custody of all detained workers and the dropping of all criminal charges related to their trade union activity.