On February 21, 2023, seven women union leaders of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of Naga World (LRSU) will appear in court to face charges related to the peaceful strike action launched by more than 3,000 NagaWorld workers on December 18, 2021. After months of persecution and intimidation, the women leaders face the prospect of imprisonment or continued release on bail.
Whether imprisoned immediately or released on bail, their persecution signifies the relentless drive by the government to criminalize trade union activities. The human rights of all Cambodian workers are on trial.
Union president, Sithar Chhim, is already in prison. She was taken into custody on November 26, 2022, for allegedly violating her bail conditions – conditions that were never shared with her or her lawyer.
The seven women are among the 11 trade union leaders and activists from LRSU imprisoned in January and February 2022, and released on bail on the eve of an ILO mission’s visit to Cambodia on March 15, 2022. As global attention shifts elsewhere, they once again face imprisonment.
The eight union leaders arrested in January 2022 sought release on bail in order to represent their 400 members still fighting for reinstatement and over 3,000 LRSU members denied the right to union representation. Thousands of workers and their families continue to face severe economic hardship and debt due to the actions of NagaWorld and the government.
The solidarity placards calling for the release of imprisoned women union leaders in February 2022, call for action to Respect & Protect the Right to Strike in Cambodia!
That right goes on trial next week.