Clean Clothes Campaign Calls for Justice on Anniversary of Labor Leader's Murder

(Amsterdam) The Clean Clothes Campaign calls on Cambodian authorities today to honor the memory of labor leader Chea Vichea by bringing to justice the perpetrators of his murder and that of fellow union activist Hy Vuthy.

On January 22, 2004 Vichea was shot dead in Phnom Penh. He was president of the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC). Hy Vuthy, president of the FTUWKC union at the Suntex garment factory, was murdered in February of last year.

Although two men, Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, were tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison for Vichea’s murder, the investigation and court hearings were denounced by the then Special Representative of the United Nations' Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Peter Leuprecht, as lacking any credibility. Investigations by local NGOs revealed that the two had alibis and were not near the crime scene. In the case of Hy Vuthy, the police have yet to identify a suspect.

“The Clean Clothes Campaign urges the Cambodian government to thoroughly and impartially investigate the killings of both Chea Vichea and Hy Vuthy,” said Paige Shipman, Clean Clothes Campaign Coordinator. “The two men sacrificed their lives to protect the fundamental human rights of Cambodia’s workers. The government owes them and their families a just resolution and clear confirmation of its commitment to uphold the law and protect the safety of union activists.”

The Clean Clothes Campaign works with the FTUWKC and over 250 partner organizations worldwide to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry. The Campaign has offices in 12 European countries.