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TITLE: CAMBODIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994 AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DATE: FEBRUARY 1995 CAMBODIA Cambodia completed its first full year under democratic rule after 20 years of undemocratic regimes and civil war. The transition to democracy followed the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords by Cambodia's rival factions and a peace process overseen by the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). This process culminated in the May 1993 multiparty election sponsored by the United Nations. The U.N. certified the election as free and fair, although polling in areas controlled by the Khmer Rouge was not possible. The royalist party FUNCINPEC entered into a coalition with the other parties that participated in the election, including the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), which had ruled the country since 1979 following the ouster of the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime by the Vietnamese. In September 1993 a new Constitution was promulgated, establishing a constitutional monarchy with King Sihanouk as Head of State. The leader of FUNCINPEC, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and CPP leader Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers respectively. The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) are composed of former members of the armies of the factions that implemented the Paris accords. The RCAF continued to face a mostly low-level armed insurgency by the Khmer Rouge, who signed the Paris Accords but refused to implement them by demobilizing, opening their illegal zones, or participating in the elections. Although the KR have only a small number of troops, the effectiveness of the RCAF in combating the KR was marred by corruption, lack of materiel, overstaffing at senior levels, poor leadership, and the Government's inability to pay troops a living wage. The RCAF drafted and began implementation of a reform plan in September. The Government announced plans to integrate the police forces, which are composed mostly of CPP staff, by appointing personnel from other parties. The Interior Ministry began to carry out this plan in the latter part of the year. Although the economy depends largely on subsistence rice farming, Cambodia has a market economy. It was a radical Communist agrarian state under the Khmer Rouge, and had a centrally planned economy for most of the time of Vietnamese-backed rule, known as the State of Cambodia (SOC) period. Cambodia is primarily agrarian and very poor, with a per capita gross domestic product of approximately $200. The human rights climate was better than in past years, with a relatively open political atmosphere, a vigorous press, and an active human rights community. Cambodia continued, however, to suffer from many problems, including the ongoing threat of the KR insurgency. In July there was a failed coup attempt. There continued to be sporadic reports of political intimidation and of murders that appeared to be politically motivated. Emerging democratic institutions, particularly the judiciary, were weak. The ethnic Vietnamese minority faced widespread discrimination, sporadic attacks leading to numerous casualties, and uncertain legal status. There were credible reports that individual members of government security forces committed serious human rights abuses, including instances of extrajudicial killing. In many cases the Government lacked the resources or the political will to act aggressively against individuals who were responsible for such abuses. Women and people with disabilities, in principle protected under the Constitution, in fact faced discrimination. In areas they control, the Khmer Rouge denied citizens most basic human rights. There were confirmed reports that the KR summarily executed large numbers of civilians, including Cambodians, Thais, Western tourists, and Vietnamese fishermen. The dead and wounded also included women and children. RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing There was no evidence of orchestrated violence by the Government. However, there were credible reports that individual members of government security forces, including members of the RCAF, committed extrajudicial killings. In December, an RCAF Colonel was arrested in connection with the killing of a journalist. (See detail below.) There were several other murders committed by as yet unidentified assailants that appeared to be politically motivated. The authorities made few arrests in connection with these crimes, due to a combination of ineffectiveness of law enforcement and in some cases an intentional lack of prosecutorial vigor. There were numerous allegations of civilians killed by RCAF troops in various parts of Cambodia, particularly in areas in the Northwest where fighting with the Khmer Rouge was heaviest. One KR soldier was reportedly beheaded after interrogation (see Section 1.g.). In the province of Kratie, a civilian court convicted three provincial soldiers of voluntary manslaughter after they killed three villagers in April. Two of the soldiers were sentenced to 13 years; one was sentenced to ten years. In November a Thai worker on a USAID construction project was killed when soldiers fired upon the convoy in which he was traveling. The police questioned several persons in connection with the case, but it is unclear whether any arrests had been made by year's end. On April 19, Ang Kouy, the third-ranking FUNCINPEC party official in Kampot province, and his nephew, were killed at close-range by unknown assailants. According to well-informed observers, Ang had been threatened by district officials and believed his life was in danger. No suspects were arrested in the case. Human rights organizations asserted that there was strong evidence that local officials killed Ang Kouy. On September 7 Nuon Chan, editor of the Voice of Khmer Youth newspaper, was shot to death in Phnom Penh. His newspaper had been highly critical of government authorities of all parties and his killing may have been politically motivated. In September the police arrested two suspects in connection with the murder. The investigating judge issued a statement that there was no evidence against the two persons and that a confession from one of them had been coerced. However, the case was returned to the investigating judge for further investigation. No trial had taken place at year's end. According to human rights groups, a guard at Kampot provincial prison shot and killed two prisoners who had surrendered after an escape attempt in May. The guard was not prosecuted. Human rights groups alleged there were several other instances which resulted in the deaths of prisoners in which prison officials used excessive force. In December, journalist Chan Dara was fatally shot in the city of Kompong Cham. RCAF Colonel Sath Souen, who was with Chan Dara at the time, was arrested for the killing. There was widespread speculation that Dara was killed in retaliation for publishing allegations about corruption involving Kompong Cham's rubber industry. Sath Souen had not been tried by year's end. Human rights groups presented credible evidence that the military killed at least 35 persons during the second half of 1993 at an illegal detention facility known as Cheu Kmau in a remote part of Battambang province. Human rights observers believe one more detainee was killed at Cheu Kmau in January 1994. Attacks on ethnic Vietnamese continued throughout the year, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. In April unknown assailants using grenades and AK-47's attacked a Vietnamese village in Kandal province leaving 14 civilians dead and over 20 wounded. The Khmer Rouge continued to execute summarily civilians in areas under its control. (See Section 1g.) In July KR forces killed nine people in a train ambush. In October Khmer Rouge radio announced that the KR had made a policy decision to engage in the systematic execution of Government officials in the countryside. Since then several officials have been killed by the KR, and others have been taken hostage or had their houses burned. The KR have kidnaped and killed other villagers as well. The Khmer Rouge have also broadcast threats to kidnap foreigners, particularly Americans, French, and Australians, and have implied that foreigners captured would be killed. In November the Government found the remains of three Westerners taken hostage and subsequently executed by the Khmer Rouge during the July train attack. Also in November, Khmer Rouge guerrillas were responsible for the massacre of 51 Cambodian villagers and, in a separate attack for which the KR is widely considered responsible, at least 21 Thai loggers, in border areas inside Cambodia. b. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. However, people frequently disappeared temporarily, including some who were abducted by the KR for short periods. There was no reliable mechanism for determining when or whether these people reappeared. Several such cases remained unsolved, like that of the three Vietnamese abducted with the Westerners in the July train attack. The disappearances of 17 political party activists before the May 1993 election, which UNTAC attributed to authorities of the former State of Cambodia, remained unsolved. Human rights groups suspect these missing activists were killed by members of the SOC security forces. There were no new disappearance cases of this nature in 1994, although people, including individuals abducted by the Khmer Rouge, were often temporarily unaccounted for in Cambodia. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The Government does not systematically use torture, but there were credible reports that security officials physically abused criminal detainees, particularly during interrogations. There were credible allegations that in 1993 and possibly in early 1994 members of the security forces tortured prisoners in the secret detention center, Cheu Kmau (see Section l.d.). According to press reports, Battambang provincial officials acknowledged in September that some prisoners were tortured in the facility. Discipline is poor within the RCAF and the Cambodian police; members of the security forces commit many crimes, including extortion, beatings, and car theft. At least one extortion attempt by soldiers is known to have resulted in a killing (see Section 1.a.). Access to prisons by human rights groups improved, and the Government allowed human rights groups to give human rights training to prison guards. Many government officials appeared determined to improve prison conditions within the limits of available financial resources. However, conditions in many prisons remained unsatisfactory. The Government allows independent monitoring of prisons. The U.S.-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Physicians for Human Rights, which sent a team to Cambodia to investigate prison conditions, issued a report on June 1 calling for the closure of the judicial police prison in Phnom Penh, citing overcrowding, food and water shortages, and a high level of violence against prisoners. The Cambodian NGO Licadho provided a similar characterization of conditions in that prison and, to a lesser extent, in other facilities. Human rights observers say that prisoners were often kept in their cells 24 hours a day in violation of international standards, and that the practices of using shackles and holding prisoners in small, dark cells resumed after being virtually eliminated during the UNTAC period. A U.N. human rights official stated that prison officials sometimes raped and abused women prisoners. In response to these criticisms, the Government, with the assistance of the Australian Government and human rights NGO's, began to take steps to improve conditions in the judicial police prison. d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile A Penal Code drafted by UNTAC and approved by the interim Supreme National Council remains in effect, as does a Criminal Procedure Law dating from the State of Cambodia period. The Criminal Procedure Law in theory provides adequate protection for criminal suspects, but in practice the Government frequently ignored these protections. The inefficiency of the judicial system resulted in long pretrial detention periods. Although the Government did not generally use detention without charge as a means of political control, there were a few cases in which persons, including a newspaper editor and a human rights NGO worker, were detained for political reasons (see Section 1.e.). Human Rights groups criticized the Government for detaining for a long period without charge nine Thai nationals arrested in June for suspected involvement in the failed coup attempt. In October the Government tried the Thais, who were all given three-year suspended sentences. At year's end the nine had returned to Thailand. Human rights groups presented convincing evidence that 19 prisoners were held illegally by the security forces in the secret detention facility in Cheu Kmau (see Section l.a.). Although in 1993 UNTAC observers identified the site as an illegal detention facility, government observers initially denied reports of abuses at Cheu Kmau. At year's end the Government had not conducted a credible investigation. However, according to press reports, Co-Interior Minister Sar Kheng and a Deputy Governor of Battambang acknowledged in September that Cheu Kmau was used as a detention center until mid-1994. Human rights groups believe the security forces stopped detaining prisoners at Cheu Kmau by year's end. Some groups believe that military officials continued to detain prisoners in other illegal facilities, but there is no evidence to support this assertion. Exile is prohibited in Cambodia's Constitution and is not practiced. No legal system is known to exist in Khmer Rouge zones. KR forces often seize hostages in order to intimidate villagers into cooperating with their insurgency (see Section 1.g.). e. Denial of Fair Public Trial Although mandated in the Constitution, in practice the Government does not ensure due process and an independent judiciary. There is a severe shortage of lawyers, particularly in the provinces. The judicial system implemented during the SOC regime generally remains in place, and the country's judges, most of whom were appointed during the SOC period, are not equipped to operate an independent judicial system. There are frequent and credible charges of corruption by judges. The Constitution calls for the establishment of a body to choose judges. In late December, the National Assembly passed legislation establishing a body to choose judges. The body had not been established by year's end. Prisoners are usually allowed visits by their family and their attorneys, if they have them. However, the Government does not provide attorneys to the indigent, although human rights groups sometimes provide defenders. Foreign and local NGO's are conducting major, long term projects to train defenders and otherwise strengthen the judiciary. The military justice system faces similar problems. Although the practice of holding political prisoners, common under the SOC, has all but disappeared, there were a few cases in which persons were detained for political reasons. Newspaper editor Nguon Non was detained in July on national security charges and released in August pending trial; there is widespread speculation that he was arrested because the Government disapproved of his coverage of the July coup attempt (see Section 2.a.). A human rights worker for the NGO Adhoc in Prey Veng province was detained from November 1993 to February 1994 under an antiterrorism law; his alleged act of "terror" was that he created instability and chaos by encouraging villagers to reclaim their property. Human rights groups believe his detention was an act of retaliation on the part of local authorities who suspected him of being the source of a news article describing the corrupt handling of land disputes by officials. Human rights observers also believe that several prisoners held in various areas on suspicion of being Khmer Rouge members were detained for political reasons. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence According to human rights observers, the police routinely make arrests and conduct searches without warrants. However, the number of forced entries into homes and offices decreased, after a high incidence during the 1993 political campaign. Reports of surveillance continued, but decreased as the security apparatus of the SOC continued to be dismantled. According to newspaper reports, the Government often monitored private citizens' telephone calls and asked telephone companies for records of conversations. There were no reported incidences of forced political party membership. Persons in Khmer Rouge zones are subject to rigid social controls and accorded no right to privacy. g. Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts Fighting between government forces and the Khmer Rouge insurgency escalated in early 1994. A rise in the number of incidents of excessive force and violations of humanitarian law on both sides accompanied this fighting. As in previous years, many civilians were killed or wounded by indiscriminate shelling and by land mines laid by both sides. Villagers were subjected to burning and looting during Khmer Rouge raids and to harassment by RCAF officials. Human rights NGO's reported that a Khmer Rouge soldier was beheaded in May after undergoing interrogation by the RCAF. According to these reports, the soldier's head was later displayed on a wall outside the RCAF headquarters in Battambang. There were several other credible reports of executions of Khmer Rouge prisoners by the RCAF. The Khmer Rouge continued to abduct and summarily execute both Cambodians and foreigners in areas under its control. (See Section 1a.) In mid-November the Khmer Rouge massacred 51 villagers in Battambang province. The Khmer Rouge often attacked civilians. A KR ambush on a train in July left 9 dead. After the train attack hostages were taken, including three Westerners who were subsequently killed and whose remains were identified in November. (See Section 1a.) At year's end the fate of three Vietnamese taken captive after the train attack remained unknown. Khmer Rouge soldiers raped the wives of 10 RCAF soldiers in an attack on a village in Banteay Meanchey province. Several hundred people were abducted by the Khmer Rouge or remained missing after being abducted in earlier years. Most hostages are released after several weeks, but in some cases the captives are held for longer periods. For example, Khmer Rouge soldiers abducted 25 villagers in Kompong Speu province on August 19. After a 5-day walk they arrived at a Khmer Rouge camp where about 35 other hostages were already being held. They were held for approximately 7 weeks. Some escaped, and the rest were released after many of them became ill. Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The Cambodian Constitution provides for freedom of expression, press, publication, and association. However, the Constitution implicitly limits free speech by requiring that the speech not adversely affect public security and be carried out in accordance with law. The Constitution also declares that the King is "inviolable." The National Assembly has yet to implement legislation to clarify how these articles affect press freedom. In practice, the Government placed some restrictions on press freedom. Self-censorship, reflecting the Government's inability to ensure the safety of journalists, remained a problem. Cambodia's independent news organizations, which were first allowed to operate during the UNTAC period, remained active. At year's end, there were 33 newspapers and magazines in operation. The Khmer Journalists' Association, established at the end of 1993, drew up a code of ethics and served as an informal liaison between the press and the Government. However, throughout the year government pressure and violence from still undetermined sources created a climate of fear among the members of the Cambodian press and a widespread suspicion that journalists who criticized officials were being targeted for violence, possibly by members of the Government or security forces. In March two men on motorcycles threw a hand grenade into the office of the newspaper Intervention; police made no arrests in connection with this incident. In June the editor of Intervention, Tou Chhom Mongkol, was found unconscious with a fractured skull on a Phnom Penh street and later died. A police report stated that the cause of death was a collision with a bicycle taxi. In September another newspaper editor, Nuon Chan, whose predecessor as editor of the newspaper Voice of Khmer Youth had resigned after receiving threats on his life, was shot to death in what may have been a politically motivated killing (see Section 1.a.). In December of journalist Chan Dara was fatally shot in Kompong Cham (see also Section 1.a.) Nguon Non, editor of the Morning News, was arrested in July under a provision of the SOC Press Law which prohibits newspapers from publishing articles detrimental to the national security. His newspaper had published articles that implied involvement of high-ranking officials in the failed July coup attempt. After several postponements of his trial, he was released from prison in early August. By year's end he had not been tried. Human rights groups criticized the broad language of the SOC-era Press Law. There are currently no laws on libel. There were several instances in which the press printed stories that included harsh personal criticisms of Government officials, prompting Government threats to restrict press freedom. Although the final form of the draft press law under consideration in the National Assembly was not known at year's end, Members of Parliament may be responsive to King Sihanouk's request that the draft law's criminal penalties for libel be replaced by civil penalties. The Government placed pressure on the press on several occasions. In May police surrounded the newspaper Sakol and seized copies of the newspaper and printing materials. The newspaper had printed material critical of King Sihanouk. The authorities closed down the newspaper briefly, then allowed it to reopen. High-level government officials often hinted publicly that they would shut down newspapers that continued to print irresponsible stories. Although many newspapers continued to publish critical stories in spite of these threats, some practiced self-censorship in order to avoid government reprisals. The Khmer Rouge does not allow freedom of speech or press in zones they control. b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association are provided for in the Constitution and were generally unrestricted in 1994. There were fewer political rallies than in 1993, an election year. There were no reports of disruption of the few demonstrations that did take place, most of which concerned land distribution. However, human rights groups believed that in some provinces the Government maintained a climate of political intimidation that discouraged residents from engaging in political activities. Cambodia's large NGO community was generally allowed to operate freely, particularly in Phnom Penh. However, the lack of legislation clarifying the rights and obligations of NGO's led NGO's to worry that they would unintentionally run afoul of the authorities. The Interior Ministry registers NGO's and requires them to submit lists of their staff, and to obtain permission to conduct training. There were reports that some provincial officials enforced these requirements in a manner which inhibited the NGO's ability to operate freely. In Khmer Rouge controlled areas freedom of assembly and association do not exist. In early 1994 two participants in a peace march in an area along the Thai-Cambodian border were killed by Khmer Rouge gunfire. c. Freedom of Religion Buddhism is the state religion, but the Constitution provides for freedom of religion and forbids discrimination based on religion. d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation The Government does not restrict travel outside Cambodia or within parts of Cambodia it controls. However, the presence of land mines and bandits makes travel in some areas perilous. The Khmer Rouge, who refused to comply with the Paris Accords by opening the areas they control, continued to restrict access to, from, and within these zones. Tens of thousands of ethnic Vietnamese fled Cambodia in early 1993 due to racial violence directed at Vietnamese. Many returned overland after the elections. However, the Cambodian authorities stopped and forbade reentry to several thousand boats on the Mekong river. Immigration legislation passed in August made no reference to nationality and therefore failed to resolve the status of these people, many of whom were born in Cambodia. Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to change their government, and most citizens exercised this right in the 1993 elections. In those areas of the country controlled by the Khmer Rouge, citizens cannot exercise this right. Cambodia experienced its first complete year under democratic rule in decades. The Government was formed after a U.N.-sponsored election in May 1993 in which each province elected Constituent Assembly members through proportional representation. Some 20 parties took part; four won seats. The United Nations certified the election as free and fair. After the drafting of a Constitution the Constituent Assembly became the National Assembly. All four parties that took part in the election entered a coalition government, which remained in power throughout the year. In July CPP members Sin Sen, Sin Song, and Prince Norodom Chakrapong attempted a coup d'etat, which was quickly defeated, in large part because of the loyalty of RCAF forces to the Government. In October following a 2-day trial, a military court found guilty and sentenced those involved in the coup attempt. The three who led the effort received prison sentences ranging from 18 to 20 years. At year's end Sin Song remained outside Cambodia, and Prince Chakrapong was in exile in France. Other CPP members involved received lesser sentences. In July the National Assembly outlawed the Khmer Rouge after their refusal to negotiate in good faith with the Government. Traditional cultural practices inhibit the role of women in government. There are seven women among the 120 members of the National Assembly. Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights Cambodia's large international and indigenous human rights community, which first began operating under UNTAC, remained active and engaged in diverse activities. The National Assembly established a commission to serve as a liaison with the human rights community. Although generally allowed to operate freely, there were isolated incidents in which the Government restricted NGO activities, especially in the provinces. There were also credible reports of intimidation of NGO's by the Government. An employee of the NGO Adhoc was imprisoned for what appeared to be political motives (see Section l.e.). Also, during a human rights class in Kompong Chhnang province, several NGO workers were taken away by RCAF soldiers wielding AK-47's. The NGO activists were held at the police station for 3 days, then released but prohibited from conducting the human rights class. There were credible reports that human rights workers were verbally threatened by provincial authorities. On at least one occasion officials in Battambang prevented an NGO from conducting human rights training; provincial NGO's later stated they no longer felt restricted. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) interpreted as an accusation of government involvement a statement released by the NGO Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID) on the killing of newspaper editor Nuon Chan. In response, the MFA stated that KID was operating illegally and threatened to close the organization. However, since KID was registered properly and did not, as an indigenous group, fall under MFA jurisdiction, no action was taken against the organization. The Government informed another indigenous NGO that it, too, was operating illegally, but took no action to close the organization. The Khmer Rouge does not permit any investigation of human rights violations within their zones. Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status Although the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religious belief, or political views, the Government does not always protect these rights in practice. The Government's failure to implement these provisions effectively means that women and children, the most vulnerable elements of Cambodian society, are often victims of discrimination. Women The Constitution contains strong language providing for equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, and equal status in marriage. In practice, women have equal property rights with men, have the same status in bringing divorce proceedings, and have equal access to education and some jobs. However, cultural traditions continued to affect adversely women's ability to reach senior positions in government, business, and other areas. There were a large number of women's NGO's and the leaders of two of the most prominent human rights NGO's are women. International and Cambodian NGO workers confirm that violence against women, including rape and domestic violence, is common, although there have been no systematic studies to determine the extent of the problem. Authorities normally decline to become involved in domestic disputes. Children Children are often victims of land mines. There is also evidence of increasing numbers of child prostitutes among street children in Phnom Penh. The Constitution explicitly provides for children's rights, and ensuring the welfare of children is a specific goal of the Government's political program. However, the Government must rely on international aid to fund most social welfare programs targeted at children and, therefore, resources devoted to the goal are modest. National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities People of Vietnamese and Chinese background have long comprised the largest ethnic minorities in Cambodia. Ethnic Chinese are well accepted. However, fear and animosity toward the Vietnamese, who are seen as a threat to the Khmer nation and culture, continues. In the absence of a nationality law, the legal and constitutional rights of ethnic Vietnamese are unclear. Constitutional protections are extended only to "Khmer people." The Vietnamese Government and some NGO's expressed concern that an immigration bill passed in August could be used to conduct large-scale deportations of ethnic Vietnamese. The Government, however, made assurances that this would not happen, and there were no such deportations in 1994. The legal status of ethnic Vietnamese, many of whom were born in Cambodia, was not resolved in the immigration legislation. The Khmer Rouge continued a calculated campaign of racial violence and inflammatory propaganda directed against ethnic Vietnamese civilians, although relatively few killings of ethnic Vietnamese could be attributed definitively to the Khmer Rouge (see Section 1.a.). There was violence against ethnic Vietnamese from other sources. In April 13 Vietnamese residents of Kandal province were killed and 27 were wounded in an attack on their village. Seven suspects were arrested but later released for lack of evidence. Several thousand ethnic Vietnamese who fled to the Vietnam-Cambodia border following massacres in early 1993 were prohibited by the Government from returning to their homes. They remained on the border at the year's end (see Section l.d.). People with Disabilities The Government does not mandate accessibility to buildings or government services for people with disabilities. According to international human rights groups, one in 236 Cambodians is missing at least one limb. This figure reflects the continuing impact of landmines on the population. Programs administered by various NGO's have brought about dramatic improvements in the treatment and rehabilitation of amputees, but they continue to face discrimination, particularly in obtaining skilled employment. Section 6 Worker Rights a. The Right of Association The current Labor Law was passed by the SOC in 1992. Throughout the year the Government worked with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Asian-American Free Labor Institute (AAFLI) to draft a new labor code, but at year's end the new legislation had not been passed. Workers have the right to form unions of their own choosing without previous authorization, and unions are not required to join a single trade union structure. There were few, if any, independent trade unions active. The majority of salaried workers are employed by the State, although there is a growing service sector. A large proportion of the urban population is engaged in low-level commerce or self-employed artisanship. The SOC Labor Law permits unions to join federations but does not address whether they may be affiliated with international bodies. The 1993 Constitution provides for the right to strike, but the Government has not passed implementing legislation. There were several strikes throughout the year. b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively The Labor Law provides for collective bargaining, although any agreement reached between workers and employees is subject to government approval. In practice collective bargaining does not take place. The Government sets wages for civil servants. Wage rates in other sectors are set largely by the market. The Labor Law prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers, but there is no mechanism for enforcement of this provision. No export processing zones existed in 1994. c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor The Labor Law prohibits forced or compulsory labor and contains penal sanctions for offenders. However, the Government does not adequately enforce these provisions. There are no reports that domestic or foreign workers are being forced to remain in situations amounting to coerced labor, although there were some reports of women being forced to work as prostitutes. The Khmer Rouge compel people under their control to serve as porters for military and other supplies and to clear land for farming. d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children The Labor Law states that the minimum age for employment is 16, except for those workers in family enterprises. Although penalties exist for violation of these provisions, the Government has not established an apparatus to enforce them. Cambodians under the age of 16 years routinely engage in a variety of jobs, including street trading, construction, and small-scale manufacturing. According to a NGO study, at least 86 children, most aged 11 to 14, worked in the Phnom Penh dump collecting recyclable materials under extremely unhealthful, dangerous, and unsanitary conditions. e. Acceptable Conditions of Work The Labor Law does not provide for a nationwide minimum wage, but requires a wage that assures a decent living standard. This standard wage varies according to region. The Government, however, does not enforce this requirement. Currently, market-determined wage rates at lower levels are not sufficient to provide a decent living for a worker and family. The Labor Law provides for a standard legal workweek of 48 hours and a 24-hour rest period and requires overtime pay. The Government does not enforce these standards and workers commonly work more than 48 hours per week. The Law states that the workplace should have health and safety standards necessary to ensure the workers' well-being. However, the Government has not yet set specific standards. Penalties are specified in the law, but there are no provisions to protect workers who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions. Conditions in factories and small-scale industries are generally poor and often do not meet international standards. (###)
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