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Labor Activist Seeks Aid for Migrant Workers Who May Be Unable to Vote

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

FILE: Cambodian migrant workers get off from a Thai truck upon their arrival from Thailand at a Cambodia-Thai international border gate in Poipet, Cambodia, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A small number of the roughly 1 million Cambodian workers in Thailand who have managed to register to vote will be unable to cast a ballot if no assistance is forthcoming, they told the Hello VOA program on Thursday.

A labor rights activist has appealed to the government to assist migrant workers in Thailand to cast their votes at the up coming commune council elections.

A small number of the roughly 1 million Cambodian workers in Thailand who have managed to register to vote will be unable to cast a ballot if no assistance is forthcoming, they told the Hello VOA program on Thursday.

Dy Thehoya, program officer of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, said he estimated that about 2 percent, or 20,000, eligible voters were facing challenges.

FILE: Dy Thehoya, senior program officer for migrant workers (CENTRAL) is one of the guests discussing "Obstacles in Voter Registration For Migrant Workers" on Hello VOA radio call-in show, moderated by Men Kimseng, Thursday, November 24, 2016. (Lim Sothy/VOA Khmer)
FILE: Dy Thehoya, senior program officer for migrant workers (CENTRAL) is one of the guests discussing "Obstacles in Voter Registration For Migrant Workers" on Hello VOA radio call-in show, moderated by Men Kimseng, Thursday, November 24, 2016. (Lim Sothy/VOA Khmer)

“There is no guarantee that those who have already registered to vote would be able to come back,” he said. “They are afraid that their employers would deduct their salary or [that they will] face dismissal.”

He added that many migrant workers had also been unable to register to vote after being turned away by authorities for a lack of paperwork.

Or Sambath, a supervisor at a Thai factory in Chonburi province, said only some 500 Cambodian workers at the factory out of about 3,700 had managed to register to vote.

“When workers get to the border checkpoints, the police or relevant authorities should not intimidate them,” he said. “There should not be a case where they would not be able to find their names like in the past or [where officials use] any insulting language against them.”

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