(06-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Man Jailed Over Facebook Post Begs for Clemency A former student who was jailed last week after joking on Facebook that he would bomb his graduation ceremony has posted a letter to his Face­book page pleading for mercy from Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who pre­sided over the event.

(06-October-2015 / PPP)

Deadline for Wage Negotiations Missed; Labor Ministry to Decide The tripartite Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) on Monday missed its provisional deadline to decide on a new minimum wage for the garment sector, with employers and trade unions making little progress in coming to an agreement.

Last month, Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng said he hoped the LAC would agree on a proposal for the garment sector’s new monthly minimum wage—currently set at $128 —by October 5. The Labor Ministry will make a final decision on the matter.

(06-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Hundreds of Minority Villagers Seek M’kiri Governor’s Ouster A group of 900 Bunong villagers are seeking the removal of the governor of Mondolkiri, complaining in a petition that was submitted to the government Monday that he does not respect the rights of ethnic minorities in the province.

Five representatives of the villagers traveled to Phnom Penh to submit the petition to the Ministry of Interior, the Council of Ministers and the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Our complaint demands that government leaders remove the provincial governor, Eng Bunheang, from his position because he has stifled the rights of indigenous peoples, such as not allowing us to march to celebrate indigenous rights day,” said one of the representatives, 25-year-old Kroeung Tola.

(06-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

Police Block Marchers on World Habitat Day More than 1,000 demonstrators from about 50 communities across the country gathered Monday to mark U.N. World Habitat Day and protest against widespread land and housing evictions, but found their march blocked by municipal authorities, who claimed the protesters posed a risk to security.

(05-October-2015 / )

Nine Vietnamese Montagnards Fear Deportation by Cambodian Authorities Nine Vietnamese Montagnards who are seeking the protection of the United Nations refugee office in Cambodia’s capital said Monday that they fled their homeland last month because of political persecution, and expressed concern about possible deportation by Cambodian authorities.

The ethnic Montagnard Christians are currently in hiding in Phnom Penh, where they arrived on Sept. 28 from northeastern Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province. Cambodian government officials have refused to register their names for them to be considered for asylum.

One of the refugees, who declined to be named and spoke with tears in his eyes, told RFA’s Khmer Service that if Cambodian authorities deport the nine, they will face persecution in Vietnam.

“We can’t stay in Vietnam [because] the Vietnamese authorities will arrest us and torture us whenever we practice our religion,” he said.

(05-October-2015 / RFA)

Cambodians March For End to Forced Evictions on World Habitat Day Around 1,500 protesters marked World Habitat Day on Monday by marching through Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and calling on the government to put a stop to forced evictions in the Southeast Asian nation.

Evictees, monks, and activists joined the march to the National Assembly, or parliament, carrying cardboard cutouts of houses and shouting slogans, including “Cambodians need housing and land” and “We must have rights to live.”

Outside of the Assembly, protesters also spoke about land tenure insecurity, inadequate housing, and the lack of infrastructure necessary to ensure good living conditions for people living in settlements for the rural and urban poor.

(05-October-2015 / PPP)

‘Long-term’ key in garment worker wage negotiations In June, William Conklin was appointed country director of the NGO Solidarity Center, which works to build consensus and capacity among Cambodia’s unions, provides legal support for union leaders and is lobbying the government to institute a national minimum wage across all industries. With the country’s garment unions this week announcing they would seek an industry minimum $168 per month in this year’s annual wage negotiations – significantly more than the industry is willing to agree to – Audrey Wilson spoke to Conklin about the potential outcomes as well as the need for industry accountability

(05-October-2015 / PPP)

Testy rebuke to UN on LANGO The UN Human Rights Council on Friday passed a resolution on “Advisory Services and Technical Assistance” to Cambodia at its 30th session in Geneva, provoking a defensive response from the Kingdom over the body’s comments on the recently passed NGO law.

Adopted without a vote, the resolution follows last month’s nine-day visit by the new UN special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith.

Welcoming Cambodia’s participation in a periodic human-rights review, as well as progress relating to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Friday’s resolution noted the Kingdom’s efforts to resolve land disputes, reform its judiciary and promote decentralisation of power away from the national level.

(02-October-2015 / PPP)

Teacher: I made child strip A teacher at Hun Sen Wat Thmey Primary School in Svang Rieng province has been summonsed on charges of sexual harassment for ordering an 11-year-old female student to be undressed as a punishment for reading errors.

According to a complaint filed by the victim’s family to the provincial court in May, second-grade teacher Duong Sinet regularly ordered a male student to take off the victim’s skirt and underwear in front of a class of some 30 students.

It was not until mid-August that the case was escalated into a court investigation when the girl refused to attend school.

(02-October-2015 / Cambodia Daily)

ACU Drafting Whistleblower Protection Law The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) said Thursday that the body’s jurist group had begun drafting a new law to protect witnesses and whistleblowers who come forward with information about graft and other crimes.

Om Yentieng, chairman of the ACU, said the proposed law would not be limited only to those who approached his body with information, but would protect a wide range of individuals who assist authorities in investigations. Mr. Yentieng initially said the ACU had plans to draft such a law in November.