Human Rights

UN Rights Official Urges Cambodia to Ratify Convention To Protect Workers Abroad

This has led to increased reports of rights abuses in host countries, particularly Malaysia, where young Cambodian are sent to work as maids.

Gelia, a maid works in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, June 17, 2009. At least two women have died in the custody of recruitment firms prior to scheduled departures for Malaysia.Gelia, a maid works in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, June 17, 2009. At least two women have died in the custody of recruitment firms prior to scheduled departures for Malaysia.
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Gelia, a maid works in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, June 17, 2009. At least two women have died in the custody of recruitment firms prior to scheduled departures for Malaysia.
Gelia, a maid works in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, June 17, 2009. At least two women have died in the custody of recruitment firms prior to scheduled departures for Malaysia.
Kong SothanarithVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - A top UN diplomat has encouraged Cambodia to ratify a convention that would protect its migrant workers abroad.

James Heenan, from the office of human rights at the UN, said in a forum in Phnom Penh that Cambodian workers abroad often see their rights violated.

Cambodia has in recent years sought to remedy a problem of unemployment with the export of labor abroad.

This has led to increased reports of rights abuses in host countries, particularly Malaysia, where young Cambodian are sent to work as maids. Many have returned with tales of domestic abuse at the hands of their employers.

All told there are about 124,000 legal workers abroad in Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Heenan spoke to a gathering of about 150 parliamentarians, government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

“Cambodia should ratify this treaty,” he said. “We think that, in view of the fact that the rights of migrants, particularly Cambodian migrant workers working abroad, are often violated.” The convention should be ratified with all Asean states, he said.

Ouk Damry, a National Assembly lawmaker, welcomed the suggestion, but he cautioned against it as a cure-all. “The harmonization will not act as quickly as we think and wish it to,” he said.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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