An official website of the United States government

Human Rights Council – Report of the UPR Working Group on Cambodia
December 1, 2009

Item 6 – Consideration of UPR Reports
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

“as prepared”

Thank you, Mr. President.
We also thank the delegation of Cambodia.

Cambodia has made strides in recent decades to rebuild its judiciary and eliminate judicial corruption. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is one example; however, even within the administration of the ECCC there have been allegations of corruption. A tough stance on corruption could have a positive effect, including increased foreign investment, decreased land disputes, reduced impunity, and greater respect for the rule of law.

The United States recommends the swift review and passage of the Anti-Corruption Law, which would include tough penalties for government corruption and would subject public officials to financial disclosures. We understand that the Royal Cambodian Government has prioritized a draft anti-corruption law to follow a Penal Code that has already been passed by the National Assembly and awaits enactment this year. Once passed, it is important that the government implement the legislation effectively and consistently.

The United States notes that while Cambodia has made efforts to combat child labor, there is still much to do to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, particularly in the sectors of brick making, rubber plantations, salt mining, gems production and shrimp processing.

The United States recommends that Cambodia reinforce relevant institutional capacity to maximize the implementation of its five-year Plan on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor (2006 – 2012).

Cambodia has ratified all ILO Core Conventions, but the protection of worker rights remains inadequate due to weaknesses in labor laws and enforcement. Although most workers are free to form and join trade unions of their choosing, civil servants do not enjoy such rights. Only about one percent of the total labor force is unionized, and the labor movement remains very weak outside the garment and tourism sectors. Where unions do exist, it is difficult for them to negotiate with management on equal terms. Ruling party or company-linked unions frustrate full freedom of association, and anti-union discrimination typically goes unpunished. Perpetrators of violence against trade union leaders enjoy impunity.

The United States recommends that Cambodia take all necessary measures to ensure that the trade union rights of workers in Cambodia are fully respected and that trade unionists are able to exercise their activities in a climate free of intimidation and risk to their personal security and their lives.

The United States welcomes the recent drafting of a law on the organization of the courts, which would create new types of courts, including trade, administrative, and labor courts.

The United States recommends that Cambodia establish labor courts in an effort to guarantee respect for worker rights, and to provide legal and efficient solutions to labor disputes, and to revise the Law on Trade Unions.

Thank You.