EI voiced its strong protest to the Prime Minister of Cambodia in a letter dated 2 May against a ban on May Day celebrations by its affiliate, the Cambodian Independent Teachers' Association (CITA).
This is against article 3 of the Convention 87 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which the country has ratified in 1999. EI condemns the Cambodian government's persecution of trade unions and reminds them that EI and its member organisations around the world are determined to support fellow education personnel and trade unionists in Cambodia.
Below is the EI's letter in English dated 2 May 2006:
Mr. Hun Sen Prime Minister Kingdom of Cambodia Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Fax: +855 12 819 858 +855 23 724 059
Brussels, 2 May 2006
Dear Prime Minister,
Education International (EI), the global union federation of teachers, which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries and counts the Cambodian Independent Teachers' Association (CITA) among its affiliates, deplores the banning of May Day celebrations in Phnom Penh.
As you are aware, Article 3 of the International Labour Convention 87, ratified by the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1999, states clearly that “workers' and employers' organisations shall have the right to […] organise their activities and to formulate their programmes. […] The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.” May Day is observed worldwide by workers and citizens to celebrate the collective rights and struggles of working people.
Together with the Cambodian Independent Teachers' Association (CITA), Education International stressed with the other Global Unions: “We will stand, as ever, in solidarity with all those who face oppression, discrimination and violation of their rights. We remain steadfast in our determination to end global poverty, and to build a global economy that serves the interests of people rather than capital, where the rules of trade and finance support workers’ rights and development instead of promoting a race to the bottom.” This message needs to be voiced clearly to all citizens in every country.
On a previous occasion, EI and other member organisations in Europe, North America and Asia, have raised concerns about your government’s treatment of trade unionists. We again urge your government to uphold freedom of expression and trade union rights as fundamental principles of democracy in Cambodia.
EI and teachers' unions worldwide remain determined to support fellow teachers and trade unionists in Cambodia.
Yours sincerely, Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary