The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights vehemently condemns the naked violence the Cambodian Government has employed on protesting garments workers last January 3 in Phnom Penh leaving five workers dead, 20 injured and many others reported to be missing to this day.

We also condemn the consequent crackdown on workers protests as the Cambodian Government deployed military in the streets to quell and prevent legitimate people’s protests. All these measures gravely violate human rights and workers rights enshrined in ILO Convention 87 to which the Cambodian Government is a signatory.

Same with the majority of the working people across underdeveloped nations, Cambodian garments workers experience massive and deep exploitation. While Cambodia is among the major exporters of highly-expensive brands of clothes (Gap, H&M, Inditex, Adidas, Puma, Walmart, C&A and others), workers are paid below subsistent rates. The monthly minimum wage of USD80 in Cambodia is in fact only 28 percent of the computed monthly living wage which is USD283.

We are deeply appalled with how the Cambodian Government is virtually leaving the Cambodian workers to die in abject poverty by maintaining inhumane wage levels. But we are enraged to see how the Cambodian state inflicts death on its people who are merely struggling to live with dignity.

The Cambodian workers strike which simply aims to improve living conditions by demanding to increase wages by 100 percent (from USD80 to USD160) is just and legitimate.

Thus, we stand with the Cambodian workers in their fight for significantly better wages. We are also one with them in fighting against state repression and demanding justice for their fallen comrades.

We call on the Cambodian Government to live up to its human rights commitments: put an end on the crackdown and lift the ban against protests and strikes. We demand justice for the victims of state violence in the January 3 protest. Finally, we call on the Cambodian Government to stand for the workers’ interest and heed their demands to monthly minimum wage to USD160.

We urge labor groups and people’s organizations from the all over the world to unite with the Cambodian workers in this universal fight for living wages, justice and freedom.

Justice for the Cambodian Workers!

Stop Trade Union Repression!