Police release 200 NagaWorld workers arrested during strikes

At least 180 NagaWorld employees were arrested during strike action.
At least 180 NagaWorld employees were arrested during strike action.

Cambodian officers have released around 200 NagaWorld workers who had been arrested during strikes in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia.- Authorities in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh have released about 200 workers who had been arrested for breaching Covid-19 health protocols. Workers are calling for a resolution to their long-standing labour dispute, which has been backed by the United Nations. 

NagaWorld casino workers told Radio Free Asia that security officials took the striking workers to an isolation centre on the outskirts of the city for quarantine. They were released on Wednesday after they refused to be tested for Covid-19 without an official order.

Chhin Ouksaphea, one of the workers, said she and other workers were told to “walk home” after their release and were denied medical attention despite being beaten by police.

NagaWorld employees went on strike on December 18 2021 in protest against NagaCorp’s layoffs and pay cuts that aimed to improve cost efficiency due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Government-mediated negotiations with the casino operator failed to bear fruit.

Cambodian authorities have said the strike is illegal and even claimed it was backed by foreign donors in an attempt to overthrow the government. Activists say such allegations were fabricated to end the strike.

The UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet said: “I call on the authorities to respect the right to peaceful assembly and engage in dialogue to address the strikers’ legitimate requests.”

Sokkhoeurn An, Cambodia’s permanent representative to the UN said Bachelet was “ill-advised and selective” about the situation.

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