Khmer Thavrak Activists Dismayed With Women’s Affairs Ministry

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Khmer Thavrak members outside the Women’s Affairs Ministry on Thursday, August 25, 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)

Activists from the Khmer Thavrak activist group said Thursday nothing had been done by the Women’s Affairs Ministry on an April petition they submitted about state violence against NagaWorld’s striking workers.

Members of the group had petitioned the ministry on April 5, pointing to violence used by local authorities and law enforcement against the workers and asking for a meeting with Minister Ing Kantha Phavi to discuss the issue.

NagaWorld protestors have routinely been met with violence from police and security guards, with a woman getting a bloodied nose earlier this month as protesters and police fought in central Phnom Penh. Union leader Chhim Sithar was violently arrested in early January as she attempted to join the workers’ strike.

Seven activists went to the ministry on Thursday and were only able to handover small banners to a ministry officer but could not discuss their petition. Svay Samnang, one of the activists, said he was disappointed officials had not responded to their petition.

“They didn’t respond today. We will collect all the petitions to burn them because they never pay attention to the people’s concerns,” Samnang said, adding that a ministry official they reached on the phone said the petition had been sent to court. 

Sor Sineath, deputy director of the social development department at the ministry, is the official activists spoke to on the phone. She could not be reached on Thursday, nor could ministry spokesperson Mam Chenda.

NagaWorld workers have been protesting the lay-off of more than 1,300 workers by the casino corporation last year, with about 200 workers still continuing their protests and demanding reinstatement.

Over the last week, workers have been allowed to protest outside the casino complex, after a visiting UN official observed their labor action.

This story was corrected at 8 p.m. to include that the activists met with one officer from the ministry.

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