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Muted Response from Donors Emboldens Hun Sen

(Bangkok, January 13, 2021) – The Cambodian government passed draconian laws and arbitrarily detained over 60 activists, journalists, and political opposition members in the past year, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. The…
Supporters of Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, shout slogans in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday, August 1, 2020. 
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21 July 2020 Your excellency, We, the undersigned 33 civil society organizations, urge the Governments of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and…
Communities reiterate their calls for adequate housing rights and an end to land conflicts on World Habitat Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, October 5, 2015.
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
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Companies Canceling Orders, Adding to Job Loss, Unpaid Wages

  (London) – Apparel brands’ business practices in response to COVID-19 are exacerbating the economic plight of millions of garment workers in Asia, Human Rights Watch said today. Scores of clothing brands and retailers have canceled…
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Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Government Peace Building, No. 38 Confederation Russia Blvd (110) Phnom Penh Cambodia   December 18, 2019   Re: Cambodia’s Law on Trade Unions and Cases…
Cambodian workers gather to mark May Day at Tonle Sap river bank, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Some hundreds of workers staged a rally, demanding a better working condition
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Time and Cost-Cutting Pressures Are Incentives for Labor Abuses

(London) – Clothing and footwear brands should end business practices that provide incentives for factory labor abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 66-page report, “‘Paying for a Bus Ticket and Expecting to…
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  Summary Soon after the Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013 in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing over a thousand workers, a top official from a global brand flew into Pakistan.[1] His sudden trip was sparked by the desperation to make up…
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  Sexual Harassment in Garment Factories Eleven women garment workers from a factory in southern India sent a hand-written letter to a local union in late 2016.[1] They wrote: “The plight of women workers … we don’t have anyone who would…
Women Garment Industry
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Jorge Luis Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings has a real-world equivalent in Cambodia. Call it the Book of Imaginary Enemies. This imagined book would tell tales of government attacks against rights activists, journalists and other peaceful critics…
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How Unions Help Workers Worldwide

How can a mango craving spiral into a labor dispute? I was talking with garment workers in Cambodia when I heard the mango story. A pregnant garment worker had been caught sneaking mangoes into the factory despite a rule forbidding food…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
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“Whore.... Do you think this is a brothel? You must meet the production demand here. If you want to continue to work here, listen to us.” This nasty threat is a snapshot of the harassment that supervisors and managers heap on many Bangladeshi…
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“That’s the Rat Trap Door factory,” a garment worker told me, pointing to a little blue door on a windowless wall along National Road 4 in Phnom Penh. “The door is so small it looks like only rats can get in.” It didn’…
Women in the sewing division of a factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Women constitute about 90 percent of the workforce in Cambodia’s garment industry.
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Ad Campaign Peddles Gender Stereotypes

Gap’s latest ad campaign is being raked over the coals for reinforcing gender stereotypes. The ads feature “The Little Scholar,” an aspiring scientist boy and “The Social Butterfly,” a girl. Many are outraged that a company like Gap, which prides itself…
The sign for a Gap store is seen on 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan in New York June 16, 2015.
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May Day was celebrated in Cambodia with rallies and calls for better working conditions, but there was not much to celebrate. In April, Cambodia’s National Assembly passed a trade union law that falls well short of the International Labor…
Cambodia
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“It doesn’t matter whether you are pregnant or not – whether you are sick or not – you have to sit and work,” Po Pov told my colleague about her job in a Cambodian garment factory. “If you take a break, the work piles up on the machine and the…
An activist from the Worker Information Center, a local nongovernmental organization, sporting a t-shirt as part of a campaign to raise awareness about garment workers’ wages in Cambodia.
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Make New Bill Public, Revise to Meet International Standards

(New York) – Cambodia’s draft trade union law would violate the right to organize and be a major step backwards for workers, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen. Cambodia’s donors and global brands that source garments and…
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May Day marks a perfect time for the Cambodian government to embark on a new chapter on labour rights in the garment sector. Officials can show the world in very concrete ways that their commitment to transparency and accountability is real and here to…
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Publicly Releasing Factory Lists Promotes Worker Rights

(Berlin) – German apparel and footwear brands should promote workers’ rights in their global operations by publicly disclosing the factories producing their products. Supply chain transparency through public disclosure would demonstrate a brand’s…
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Greater Coordination, Transparency Needed Among Ministries

(New York) – Cambodia’s government should improve enforcement of its labor law to remedy rights violations in the garment industry, said Human Rights Watch in a March 17, 2015 letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The government should improve coordination…