PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The United Nation’s International Labor Organization has elected Cambodia to its governing body at the 103rd session of the International Labor Conference held in Geneva last week.
Consisting of 28 government members, 14 employer representatives and 14 trade union representatives, the executive body makes decisions on the ILO’s policies, programs and budgets.
Maurizio Bussi with the ILO’s office for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos said Wednesday that Cambodia was nominated by its fellow ASEAN members, which whom it will represent after being elected on June 2 to the labour organization’s governing body.
“It means they have a seat on the governing body which convenes three times a year, and makes important decisions within the ILO, not just for Cambodia. The seat contributes to global policymaking and that is what they are expected to do — all the 28 members including Cambodia,” Bussi said.
Cambodian government officials from the Ministry of Labour declined to comment on Wednesday, but state-run Agence Kampuchea Presse credits Cambodia’s appointment to ILO’s decision-making board to the country’s record on workers rights and freedom of assembly.
“This success informs the world that Cambodia has good working conditions,” Cambodian Labor Minister Ith Samheng is quoted on AKP.
This high-level appointment comes after a year of fraught labor relations in the Southeast Asian country. Cambodia’s government came under intense scrutiny after government security forces opened fire on rioting workers protesting for a higher monthly minimum wage on Jan. 3. Since then, rights groups point to the recurring detention of trade union leaders and workers as a restriction of freedom of association.
A coalition of international brands including Hennes & Mauritz AB, The Gap Inc. and Puma AG has also met with the government several times this year to raise their concerns over workers’ right to strike.