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International Women's Day: Security of Cambodian garment workers in jeopardy

March 7, 2014

Photo: AFL-CIO Solidarity Centre - Demonstration in December, 2013

On March 8th, International Women’s Day, an expected 30,000 garment workers, the vast majority of whom are women, will come together in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park for a mass Forum on Labour Rights to continue their struggle for an increase in the minimum wage to US$160/month, trade union rights, and the release of 21 activists who have been held in jail since early January.

Over the past several months, the Cambodian government has sent clear messages to garment workers and their supporters that public gatherings related to labour rights will be violently repressed, including the publication of photos in local newspapers this morning showing approximately 2,000 riot police preparing for tomorrow’s Forum.

Although Prime Minister Hun Sen recently lifted a ban on public gatherings, this show of force one day prior to the International Women’s Day event has raised alarm bells that freedom of assembly is once again in jeopardy.

MSN is concerned for the physical safety of these garment workers and for their right to peacefully demonstrate. IndustriALL Global Union is organizing a number of solidarity actions including a letter campaign to Prime Minister Hun Sen. For more information and to take action, click here. 

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