Poipet Labor Group Says Officials Won’t Let Them Put Up Office Sign

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Prom Bunthorn, right, in a photograph posted by the group on their Facebook page on Tuesday.

An association that informs tuk-tuk drivers of labor rights says local officials won’t allow it to put up its logo outside a Poipet branch office.

Prom Bunthorn, president of the Cambodia Development People Life Association, said he had submitted letters to Banteay Meanchey provincial police and Poipet city administration on Monday, but the city authorities said the association would not be allowed without another letter from the property owner.

The group trains informal workers such as tuk-tuk drivers on labor rights in Poipet and Siem Reap, informs rural residents about their human rights, and conducts agricultural training with other NGOs, Bunthorn said.

The Phnom Penh-headquartered association is registered with the Interior Ministry and has offices in Kampong Speu, Kandal, Takeo and Siem Reap, and should only need to inform authorities about signage rather than seek permission, he said.

“I think the fact that local authorities require more complicated procedures is a kind of restriction against the freedoms of civil society, especially for my association in serving members in Poipet city,” Bunthorn said on Thursday.

Poipet city governor Keat Hul said he had not received any information about the incident, and did not see why there should be any problem putting up the association’s logo.

“I don’t know about this case, but generally, if he has proper legal standing, there’s nothing to ban,” Hul said. “Firstly, he has proper legal standing. Secondly, he is putting up a logo on his private land. So there’s nothing to ban.”

Human rights group Licadho’s spokesperson Am Sam Ath said denying a registered association from putting up signs would be unacceptable.

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