Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law – Tuesday, 13.10.2009
Posted on 14 October 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Tuesday, 13.10.2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)
“According to the opinion of the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers [Mr. Chea Mony], workers demonstrate or strike because of corruption. Therefore an anti-corruption law should be created sooner than a demonstration law, because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.
“Mr. Chea Mony said during an interview with the media yesterday, Monday [12 October 2009], ‘Civil society organizations are concerned about the freedom of the citizens, that is including the freedom of all workers, because demonstrations and strikes are held concerned with freedom by citizens whose benefit is lost, due to corruption and because the powerful always restrict the citizens to express their opinion to demand respect and the implementation of the law, but finally, their rights are restricted.’
“The president of the biggest trade union in Cambodia made this remark some days ahead of a meeting of the National Assembly of Cambodia which will discuss to adopt a new demonstration law.
“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the new law suggested by the Ministry of Interior and planned to be discussed soon is in clear contrast to the previous demonstration legislation from 1993.
“He went on to say, ‘The demonstration law of 1993 granted citizens full rights to attend demonstrations, but what is seen at present is that a new law is being drafted to allow only 200 people at the most to demonstrate, and even that will require that the names of the leaders of the demonstrations must be reported ahead of time.’
“Mr. Chea Mony explained this point, ‘If there are leaders of a demonstration, the authorities will ask who the leaders are. But if a demonstration is held in response to the will of the citizens, for example in a factory with 5,000 workers whose salaries have not been paid by the owner of the company, as the law limits the number to only 200 people as representatives, these cannot represent the interests of the 5,000 workers strongly. Thus, we think that the law being drafted by the Ministry of Interior to be sent to the National Assembly for adoption does not reflect the will of the workers or the people.’
“He also mentioned another point, as that law limits the number of demonstrators to only 200, saying, ‘if, for example, 5,000 families are evicted to grab their land for a high ranking and powerful person, according to that new law, only 200 people are allowed to demonstrate, but if those 200 people are bought over, these 200 people will no longer reflect the other 4,800 families. Therefore, the government should open the possibility giving citizens the right to demonstrate or to strike at any place, and the government should just prepare authorities to protect their safety. That is enough.’
“It should be remembered that according the Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, in an independent state practicing democracy, citizens from all classes were allowed to assemble, to express their opinion through demonstrations and strikes without any strict conditions. It was enough to just inform the authorities, so that they prepared police to protect the safety of the demonstrators.
“It is noticed that what was stated in the Constitution of 1993 was not implemented properly, as the authorities of the government used different pretexts, like security and public order, to reject requests for holding an assembly. Or armed forces were ordered to attack the demonstrators to disperse them.
“These interventions are seen as seriously violating the policy of democracy, which Cambodia had signed to accept and to practice.
“The freedom of expression which is strongly restricted in Cambodia, does not change; moreover, it will become even worse as the demonstration law sets a limits of 200 persons as representatives for demonstrations to be adopted by the National Assembly.
“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the assembly of workers as well as of Khmer citizens in general, to express their opinion, emerges from one problem: that is corruption and social injustice. If this terrible problem can be solved, there will be no demonstrations.”
Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:Tuesday, 13 October 2009