Cambodia’s lower house of parliament voted to approve a new labor law that many union representatives claim will threaten their members’ rights. All 67 members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in the house voted in favor of the law, while 31 opposition members voted against it and claimed there was not sufficient time to adequately review all of the law’s provisions. The full text of the law, which the Cambodian government developed over eight years, has not been widely released, and it remains unclear when officials will actually begin implementing the law’s provisions. Following the vote, a major international human rights advocacy group stated the law’s provisions are contrary to international standards.
The parliament’s vote to approve the law came shortly after a protest by dozens of union members outside the parliament building became violent. Small clashes reportedly occurred when authorities moved to disband the protesters. The union and NGO concerns over the recently passed law underscore the Severe threat to human rights in Cambodia. The violent protest seen over the vote furthermore highlights the Elevated threat of man-made disruptions in the country. The number of strikes in Cambodia has risen significantly in recent years as workers launch more labor stoppages over grievances including their pay and working conditions.