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Labor Leaders Propose Posthumous Honors for Slain Unionist

A group of unions has proposed the National Assembly give posthumous honors to the murdered unionist Chea Vichea, an outspoken labor leader who was gunned down in 2004.

Former king Norodom Sihanouk has also written to National Assembly representative Chea Soth requesting the title "hero" be granted Chea Vichea.

Chea Mony, brother of the slain activist and leader of the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said Chea Vichea sacrificed his life for workers and should be honored.

"For the workers, they want a posthumous title for Chea Vichea, and his statue, because if we don't have a hero's statue, it means we want to forget the workers' pain," he said Tuesday. "We think that this is very important to leave a legacy for the next generation and for the workers to see what those who have sacrificed for national interests have done."

Honors should go to those who make sacrifices, who are not corrupt, and who do not "deplete the nation," he said, referring to corrupt businessmen who are given honorary titles for their contributions to the government.

"This is not a good example, if we give the titles to those who deplete the nation, the forests, who sell their country, and who receive the titles as 'oknha,'" he said. "We should give the posthumous titles to those who truly serve the country."

National Assembly President Heng Samrin said such an honor was up to the king and the government to send a request to parliament for approval.

"The National Assembly does not object to it," he said. "We have not see the request."