Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia, International Labor Day, Labor rights
Protesters marching towards the National Assembly building on May 1st, where they gathered to listen to speeches and present petitions to the government.
With regard to International Labor Day on May first, workers around the world united to protest over low pay, rising living costs and difficult working conditions. In Cambodia thousands of garment workers hit the streets of Phnom Penh. According to LICADHO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, between six and seven thousand workers, union leaders, local communities, students, NGO’s and others marched to the National Assembly, calling for improvement of working conditions. In last weeks’ blog, the human rights situation in Cambodia was highlighted. According to the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), an advocacy organization dedicated to achieve just and humane treatment for workers worldwide, one of the most violated human rights in the workplace is the right to associate freely around the world. That means that a large number of workers continue to be denied of their fundamental, internationally recognized right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. This limits workers to contribute actively to the improvement of workers’ rights in many aspects, although there are several projects and organizations present trying to contribute in favor of labor rights in the country. A stronger voice of the public could be the next step.
Cambodia is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1969. Nevertheless, it is only since the 1990’s that the ILO has been an active partner in Cambodia’s economic, social and democratic recovery. The state of poverty is declining in the country; however rural poverty remains high, at 40 percent. According to the ILO, 85 percent of the population works in agriculture, forestry, fishing and in small and micro-enterprises. The sectors of garments and tourism are currently the main engines of growth, with garment manufacturing accounting for 85 percent of Cambodia’s exports and employing approximately 350,000 workers. According to Brett Eisenbrown, a fellow blogger and intern at ILRF, Cambodia has the reputation of being one of the more socially responsible nations when it comes to labor rights. That is because of the passage of the 1997 labor law that was co-written by the Cambodian Government, the ILO, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. In addition, an independent Cambodian Arbitration Council was established in 2003, which now receives funding from the US Department of Labor to support its Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) Project. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 7th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Elections, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia
Cambodia has experienced dreadful human rights records over the course of the last thirty years. The worst period was between 1975 and 1979 under the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the “Khmer Rouge”, who carried out crimes against humanity on a scale that left more than one quarter of the population dead. According to Craig Etcheson of the Equipa Nizkor, an international organization working for the respect and promotion of human rights in different topics and areas, the situation has improved markedly in Cambodia after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, although the Cambodian government has ratified 13 human rights instruments and the Constitution has incorporated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the impact of the 70’s still remains visible. Unfortunately, improvement has been unsteady and relative and a wide range of human rights abuses are often committed by State personnel. In November 2012 Cambodia signed the “ASEAN Human Rights Declaration”, which caused many concerns to human rights groups worldwide. The declaration seems to be incomplete since it misses out fundamental human rights. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 23rd, 2012 | Author: Franziska | Filed under: Government, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia, Khmer Rouge, Killing Fields, Pol Pot
I am interested history. If I travel to a country I attempt to understand the history of the country and try to talk to the people to find out more about their history and stories. When exploring Cambodia, I noticed the friendliness and the openness of the people, who were always willing to help me.
The Cambodians would greet me with a smile, but their eyes told a story of sadness
However, I also observed that every friendly smile bore sad eyes and everywhere I would hear stories about children who had lost their parents. I would hear stories about wives who lost their husbands and I started to wonder what exactly happened to Cambodia and its people. It seemed so surreal, that I traveled through a country that appeared to have lost everything – infrastructure, religion, trust and maybe even a bit of its own identity.
At the beginning of my journey to Cambodia, I hardly knew anything about the history. All I knew was that Pol Pot had led the Khmer Rouge. I knew that many people had died, that Cambodia has a problem with landmines and that the country is still struggling with the aftermath to the present day. Over the course of our journey I had to learn that, according to statistics compiled by Tuol Sleng Prison Museum, the Regime of Pol Pot killed almost 1.7 million people – this amounts to quarter of the population. Read the rest of this entry »