(07-October-2015 / PPP)

Deadline set for wage talks The government’s minimum wage-setting group, the Labour Advisory Committee, is due to convene on Thursday to decide on the garment sector’s minimum wage for next year, according to a document shared by employers.

The document, which was posted on the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia’s Facebook page yesterday, means that employers and unions will have to reach a consensus figure to send to the LAC during tripartite talks today.

If a consensus fails to come about, the figure will be decided by secret ballot and then forwarded to the LAC, which holds the final say over the wage.

Minister of Labor Ith Samheng yesterday said that a final figure would be announced before the Pchum Ben holidays next week.

(07-October-2015 / PPP)

Septuagenarian busted over alleged child rape A 75-year-old man has been charged by the Stung Treng Provincial Court with repeatedly raping a 9-year-old girl after an alleged string of incidents that began in September.

According to Strung Treng provincial police penal bureau chief Doung Vutha, the suspect, named as Ban Puth, was arrested on Monday after the victim’s mother filed a complaint to the court.

Vutha said that the victim and her mother had no fixed address, and had reportedly been staying at the home of the suspect in Sesan district’s Kbal Romea commune.

(07-October-2015 / PPP)

Australia seeking new destinations for refugees Australia is actively looking to strike deals with more countries that can resettle its unwanted refugees as its controversial agreement with Cambodia continues to flounder.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister, told said yesterday the government was in talks with countries outside of Cambodia in a bid to find new third-party resettlement options.

“We’re working and have been for a long period of time working on other bilateral options,” he said. “We have Cambodia available as an option, and it is difficult when we’ve got probably well-intentioned refugee advocates back here who are messaging up to these people on Nauru, saying ‘don’t accept any offer’.”

(07-October-2015 / PPP)

Hope for ‘bomb threat’ student Interior Minister Sar Kheng is seeking the legal means to engineer the acquittal of a student who threatened in a Facebook post to bomb a graduation ceremony he was scheduled to attend.

The student, Tao Savoeun, wrote a letter to the minister on Monday, apologising and pleading for mercy. Sar Kheng read the letter yesterday, said ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, and the minister is considering ways the student might be granted clemency.

“Samdech [Sar Kheng] read the letter and he is considering this case, because he has not filed the complaint against the student,” Sopheak said yesterday. “He has not accused the student. We are finding a legal procedural way [to help him].”

(07-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

NEC Unveils Details of Pilot Program for Voter Registration The National Election Committee (NEC) on Tuesday revealed more details about its pilot project to test biometric voter registration in each of the provinces beginning on November 1 ahead of nationwide registration next year.

About 32,500 people will be unofficially registered during the two-week pilot, according to a statement from the NEC, with one commune selected from each of the 24 provinces and Phnom Penh, and a mixture of rural and urban communes selected so that the results are representative.

(07-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Gov’t, Factories, Unions to Vote on Minimum Wage Today Government, factory and union representatives tasked with proposing a new monthly minimum wage for the garment sector will vote Wednesday to find a figure after once again failing to reach a consensus during negotiations in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the working group, composed of 15 representatives from each of the three sides, made some progress toward a single proposed raise to the current minimum wage of $128, but not nearly enough to make an agreement appear likely.

He said the employers upped their proposed raise to 4 percent, while the unions came down to 25 percent.

(07-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Elderly Man Charged With Rape of 9-Year-Old in Stung Treng The Stung Treng Provincial Court on Tuesday charged a 70-year-old man with raping a 9-year-old neighbor in Sesan district, after the girl told her parents of the crime despite the man’s death threats.

Ban Puth was charged with raping the young girl on a number of occasions up to September 18. He was arrested Monday and has since confessed to both police and to the court, said deputy provincial prosecutor Sun Yeth.

“The court charged the offender with raping a child. Now we are detaining him in prison,” she said.

(07-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Orphanage Director Goes On Trial for Abusing Boys The closed-door trial of a former director of anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), who stands accused of sexually abusing 11 boys under his care at an orphanage he headed, began Tuesday with the testimony of a 22-year-old alleged victim, according to the defendant’s lawyer.

Hang Vibol, 46, was the first director of APLE but left the organization in 2005 to work full-time running the Our Home orphanage in Phnom Penh, where the alleged abuses took place. He was arrested in March following a monthslong investigation conducted by APLE and charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with multiple counts of indecent assault against minors.

(06-October-2015 / PPP)

Habitat Day sees call to end evictions Several hundred demonstrators yesterday marked World Habitat Day by gathering at the National Assembly to submit a petition calling on the government to halt forced evictions and guarantee housing rights.

In the document, representatives of more than 20 communities affected by land disputes in Phnom Penh and the provinces urged national institutions “to achieve universal development and stop using the court system to pressure the people”.

(06-October-2015 / PPP)

Refugee detention to end on Nauru The Pacific island of Nauru announced yesterday that it would end detention of asylum seekers and process the outstanding refugee claims of some 600 people held in the Australian immigration camp within a week.

The decision, however, is unlikely to boost volunteers for the controversial Cambodia resettlement program, a Cambodian government official and Australian refugee activist said yesterday.

Nauru’s Regional Processing Centre (RPC) – set up under Canberra’s hard-line, offshore-processing policy to hold asylum seekers caught trying to enter Australia via boat – will become an “open centre”, according to Nauru’s justice minister, David Adeang.