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Cambodia
27.05.14
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of eight members of the Coalition of the Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU)

KHM 004 / 0514 / OBS 047

Arbitrary arrest / Release on bail /

Judicial harassment

Cambodia

May 27, 2014

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federationfor Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Cambodia.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Cambodian Center for HumanRights (CCHR) about the arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of eight members ofthe Coalition of the Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) inBati district, Takeo province, during a strike to ask for better working conditions at the garment factory JSD TextileCo. Ltd Factory.

According to the information received, on May 23, 2014, at around 4 pm,Messrs. Seang Yot and Sot Seam, two CCAWDU members based in Phnom Penh, aswell as Messrs. Phin Sot, Keo Bouen, No Sak, Ol SamOeun, Seng Soeun andMs. Chhem Sreypov, six CCAWDU members based in Kandal province, were arrested by Takeoprovincial police during a peaceful strike at the garment factory JSD TextileCo. Ltd Factory. The strikers were demanding better working conditions such asto provide 50% of salary and stipend for female workers who are on maternityleave, to use the National Social Security Fund in case of accident at work, toprovide salary for sick workers, to stop using short-term contracts forworkers, as well as to not discriminate workers who are members of the union.

The eight trade unionists were heldat Takeo provincial police station without access to their lawyers until theywere brought before Takeo Provincial Court for interrogation on May 24, 2014. They were then charged with “instigating a felony”(Article 28 of the Criminal Code), “incitement” (Article 495), “threats tocause damage” (Article 423) and “discrediting a judicial decision” (Article523).

When lawyers and some representatives ofnon-governmental organisations requested access to the eight detainees in thepolice station and in the courthouse, armed security forces with barbed wiredenied access to them.

The eight were released on bail on May 25, 2014 in the evening after thePresident of CCAWDU signed a letter guaranteeing that the eight would not causetrouble at the factory and present themselves when requested by the Prosecutor.

TheObservatory expresses its concern about the arbitrary arrest an judicialharassment against Messrs. SeangYot, Sot Seam, Phin Sot, Keo Bouen, No Sak, Ol Sam Oeun, Seng Soeun, and Ms.Chhem Sreypov, which take place in thecontext of a systematic crackdown against workers and trade unionists sinceJanuary 2014, and calls upon the Cambodian authorities to end theirjudicial harassment.

TheObservatory further recalls the UN Human Rights Council resolutions 19/35(preambular para. 11) and 22/10 (preambular para. 16), stressing that “peacefulprotests should not be viewed as a threat, and therefore […] all States[should] engage in an open, inclusive and meaningful dialogue when dealing withpeaceful protests and their causes”.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to the authorities of Cambodia urging them to:

i. Guarantee inall circumstances the physical andpsychological integrity of Messrs. Seang Yot, Sot Seam, Phin Sot, Keo Bouen, NoSak, Ol Sam Oeun, Seng Soeun, and Ms. Chhem Sreypov, as well as of allhuman rights defenders in Cambodia;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level -against Messrs. Seang Yot, Sot Seam, Phin Sot, Keo Bouen, No Sak, Ol Sam Oeun,Seng Soeun, and Ms. Chhem Sreypov, as wellas against all human rightsdefenders in Cambodia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able tocarry out their work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal;

iii. Conformin any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly,in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that“everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promotethe protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at thenational and international levels”;

- and its Article 12.2 which statesthat “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection bythe competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association withothers, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his orher legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

iv. Ensurein all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by Cambodia.

Addresses:

· Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Office of the PrimeMinister, 41 Russian Federation Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom ofCambodia. Fax: +855 23 360666 / 855 23 880624 (c/o Council of Ministers), Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh / cppparty@gmail.com

· Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior, Ministry ofInterior, 275 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23212708.

· Mr. Ang Vong Vathna, Minister of Justice,Ministry of Justice, 240 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax:+855 23 364119.

· Mr. Hor Nam Hong, Minister of Foreign Affairs,161 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 216144/ + 855 23 216939. Email: mfaic@mfa.gov.kh

· Mr. OmYentieng, Minister & President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee,Office of the Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: +855 12 8137 81 / +855 23 21 11 62 or +855 23 88 10 45 (c/o Council of Ministers)

· Mr. SokAn, Deputy Prime Minister, Fax: + 855 23 88 06 24, Email:leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh, info@pressocm.gov.kh

· AmbassadorMr. Ney Samol, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin deTaverney 3, Case postale 213, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22788 77 74, Email: camemb.gva@mfa.gov.kh / cambodge@bluewin.ch

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Cambodia in yourrespective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, May 27, 2014.

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appealin your reply.

TheObservatory, a OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of humanrights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contactthe Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 4939 / + 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 2518 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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