Free the 23 and give workers a living minimum wage of USD$160 a month.
On the 24th of December 2013 an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 garment workers went on strike in Cambodia. Their main demand was a living minimum wage of $US160 per month. They were joined by a number of other unions and workers also demanding the same minimum wage.
Demonstrators have faced continuous heavy government repression for demanding this wage. This has included attacks by police, military police, plain clothes thugs, and private security who between them have used an assortment of weapons including tear gas, grenades, axe handles, sling shots, electric batons, AK-47 rifles, and metal poles. By January 4th, 4 workers had been killed, 39 seriously injured, and 23 indefinitely detained in the remote and harsh CC3 prison. Of those arrested 20 of them were garment workers, and 3 were prominent human rights defenders - Theng Savoeun, Vorn Pao, and Chan Puthisak. Another 2 workers have since died from injuries sustained at these demonstrations.
After these crackdowns the government issued a decree essentially prohibiting any public demonstrations or protest. Some workers have lost their jobs for striking or been denied pay, unionists are being denied access to factories, and companies are suing unions for their loss of income and damage to the factories.
At this point is it extremely difficult for Cambodians to speak out. However hope still remains and many workers, unionists, Buddhist monks and human rights activists are working hard to release those wrongfully imprisoned and to continue to push for a living minimum wage. Despite the prohibition on protest, many people are still risking detainment and abuse from authorities to still protest for these demands.
It is of crucial importance that international community puts pressure on Cambodia from outside and give solidarity to those risking their lives to continue to organise and protest. We must be rallying both on and off line.
This movement has been one of the strongest in Cambodia in recent times, which is why the government has been so unapologetically repressive.
This is an important time to help contest the 30 year rule of Hun Sen, demand dignity and a living wage for all workers, and the right to organise to achieve this, including freedom from arbitrary and punitive detainment.
This petition is a small but meaningful step for Cambodian people. Please sign it and pass it along to friends, family, co-workers, and concerned organisations.
WORKER'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.
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