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Cambodia Forms Group to Settle Lawsuits Against Unionists


FILE: Vorn Pao, president of the IDEA, stands in the middle (of the crowd) while shouting out for justice during a rally which sees a break up by authorities and security forces in the morning of Sunday January 3rd, 2016. (Hul Reaksmey/VOA)

The move comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an appeal to unionists who are the subject of outstanding legal proceedings to provide the labor ministry with information about their cases to speed up their resolution.

The Cambodian government this week formed a group reportedly tasked with facilitating expediting legal cases against unionists.

In a statement on Monday, the labor and justice ministries said the group would consist of 15 members.

The move comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an appeal to unionists who are the subject of outstanding legal proceedings to provide the labor ministry with information about their cases to speed up their resolution.

Heng Sour, labor spokesman, and Kem Santepheap, justice spokesman, could not be reached for comment.

The move has been welcomed by some union leaders.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), said he was hopeful that the group would “speed up their duties and end all of the cases.”

There are currently 13 outstanding legal cases against members of CUMW.

However, Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDEA), said for him the decision came too late as he had been beaten by security forces and already served jail time for participating in a demonstration calling for higher wages in the garment industry in 2014.

“I was beaten half to death and was sent to prison. I think that it’s too late for us,” he said, referring to 23 other activists who experienced a similar fate.

He added that the working group could still do some good for those who had already served time in prison by working to have all outstanding charges against them dropped.

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