Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU).
Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU). ©thecambodiaherald.com

Cambodia: Join the campaign to free jailed union leaders

published 27 August 2020 updated 10 October 2023

Education International has stepped up its efforts to secure the release of two jailed Cambodian union leaders.

The global trade union movement and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have launched an online campaign on the LabourStart activist platform to gather support to free the jailed union leaders, Rong Chhun and Sor Saknika.

Education International strongly condemns the Cambodian government’s attempts to clamp down on freedom of association and expression. The government is seeking to silence trade unionists and labour protests expressing workers’ resistance to the economic downturn and repression.

Active unionists

Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), was arrested on 31 July for incitement to commit felony by making comments on farmland losses and border irregularities between Cambodia and Vietnam. Just before his arrest, he was leading pickets about garment factory closures and urging the government to make human rights improvements.

Chhun is one of the most outspoken unionists in Cambodia and the former President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA). Prior to his arrest, he was actively working on securing the release of four CITA members detained for commenting on public health issues during school closures.

The President of the Cambodian Informal Labourers’ Association (CILA), Sor Saknika, joined protests demanding Chhun’s release. She was arrested for incitement on 7 August.

International solidarity

Education International and ITUC also denounce the fact that Ouk Chayavy, President of CITA, was assaulted by unknown thugs on the way home after visiting Chhun in prison on 10 August.

They demand that the unjustly arrested and imprisoned trade union leaders, Rong Chhun and Sor Saknika, be released from prison.

You can add you voice in defence of trade unionism and freedom of expression in Cambodia by signing the petition here.