Archive for December 20th, 2008

Civil Society Organizations in Cambodia Encourage the Government to Protect Migrant Workers’ Rights – Friday, 19.12.2008

Posted on 20 December 2008. Filed under: Week 591 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 591

“Many Khmer citizens find job outside of the country, because of the economic crisis and of unemployment in the country, and because wages in foreign countries are higher than in the country. Therefore, some workers even become trafficked for some illegal foreign companies.

“On 18 December 2008, the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility – CARAM Cambodia – celebrated the [4th] International Migrants’ Day, which was also celebrated worldwide. The joint statement of civil society organizations during the International Migrants’ Day said that nowadays, many Cambodian citizens migrate to find jobs inside of the country and abroad. The migration of Cambodian citizens has happened for many decades, and there have been many problems motivating them to do so – such as poverty, shortage of employment opportunities, natural disasters, and the loss of land.

“Civil society organizations went on to say that there are other causes, such as international marriages, seeking job opportunities, or the adventure to experience life in a country which is not their home. The migration of Khmer citizens to work in foreign countries happens in two forms – illegal migration and legal migration.

“Civil society organizations mentioned in their joint statement many problems happening to migrating Cambodian citizens:

“Violations by employers in countries that accept workers. Often workers are forced to work many hours without any break and with insufficient food, some are detained by force, violated physically and mentally, and they may lack the freedom of traveling and of contacting others; they sell their labor to pay debts.

“Workers easily suffer in the process of migration by owing debts to companies, because of the cost of transportation, of food, of accommodation, of vocational training, of heath examinations, and of passports and other legal documents.

“Civil society organizations added that sometimes workers are forced to sign different contract documents where they know little about the contracts’ content and meaning. Moreover, migrant workers have to face political and cultural discrimination, and they may encounter problems with the traditions of the countries that accept workers. Many mistakes happen, including through negligence by some companies recruiting Cambodian workers, because there is still only a limited enforcements of policies and of relevant laws.

“The civil society organizations continued to say that some recruiting companies recruit underage workers and demand too much money for their services. They force workers to live in inappropriate situations before their departure, do not have enough information about the situation of the country and of the work, neglect complaints by recruited applicants, cut their wages, and make them to owe debts before their departure.

“The civil society organizations requested the Cambodian government and the ASEAN countries to care to protect the rights of migrating people, and to support the recommendations that civil society organizations made on 11 and 12 September 2008 demanding all rights for migrant workers.

“Recently, the Cambodian government released the Decree Number 195, dated 20 November 2008, to provide passports to migrant workers, and it states clearly that the fee to issue passports for legal migrant workers is the burden of the state, and they must be provided with a passport within 20 days of submitting their applications.

“Parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy Party always criticize that there is unemployment affecting around 300,000 Khmer young people, and that poverty forces them to find jobs in some neighboring countries; some cross the border to work in Siam [Thailand] and some go to work in other countries, such as Malaysia, Korea, and Taiwan, and some others were trafficked to work as laborers on fishing vessels on the sea, and some female workers are trafficked from one country to another.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3643, 19.12.2008


The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted by UN General Assembly on 18 December 1990, and entered into force on 1 July 2003.

It has been translated into 14 languages – Khmer is not listed among them on the relevant UN site.

As of 9 October 2008, 39 states have ratified this Convention. Cambodia is not among them. It has signed the Convention, however, on 27.9.2004, as one step towards ratification.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 December 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2835, 19.12.2008

  • The Ministry of Health Orders to Close the Bopha Meas Clinic after It Had Violated the Ministry’s Circular [which prohibits private ambulances to pick up patients]

Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #99, 19-24.12.2008

  • Siam [Thailand] Appeals to Reopen the Preah Vihear Temple Crossing Point, but Khmer Officials Said that It Is Impossible
  • The Prime Minister Expressed His Stance Supporting the Relocation of Crematoriums to Places Outside of the City

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1824, 19.12.2008

  • The Municipality Decided to Construct am Elevated Overpass at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout [380 meters, to be built soon to ease the traffic – Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai new Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva Is Appointed by the King; He Summons [ousted Prime Minister] Thaksin Shinawatra to Return to the Country [to face a Thai court]
  • 94% of Men and 58% of Women in Cambodia Drink Alcohol [according the People’s Center for Development and Peace]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #162, 19.12.2008

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6529, 19.12.2008

  • A Report of the International Labor Organization – ILO – Says the Working Condition [in garment factories] Is Still Good, but the Pressure of the Financial Crisis Increases

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3643, 19.12.2008

  • Civil Society Organizations in Cambodia Encourage the Government to Protect Migrant Workers’ Rights

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4772, 19.12.2008

  • Winn Casino Resort’s Owner, Worrying about Threats to Their Lives, Asks [unnamed] Embassy and the Royal Government to Help [after armed persons, including a military police officer in Svay Rieng, threatened many times to kill the casino’s guards with a gun]
  • The Painter Svay Ken Who Died [at the age of 75] Leaves Famous Paintings for the Next Generation of Khmers [his masterpieces are well-known in Cambodia and also in foreign countries through exhibitions; his work reflects the daily life of citizens in Cambodia]
  • Oil Price Drops to US$40; the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC – Reduces the Production [by 4.2 million barrels per day]
  • Two Big US Car Manufacturers [Chrysler and Ford] Close Their Factories [for one month] in the Time of Crisis

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3459, 19.12.2008

  • Shoes Flung at US President by an Iraqi Journalist Are Auctioned at US$10 Million [by an Arab businessman]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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