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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Labor and Human Rights in Cambodia

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 3:00pm
2200 Rayburn House Office Building


Co-hosted by the Congressional Cambodia Caucus

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional Cambodia Caucus for a hearing on human rights, including labor rights, in Cambodia.   

Since 2015 the Cambodian government, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, has increasingly restricted political and social activism, civil society, independent media, and foreign-funded democracy programs. During 2015-2017, more than 25 opposition members and government critics were arrested, and many fled the country. On July 10, 2016, government critic Kem Ley was killed under suspicious circumstances. In 2017, the Cambodian Foreign Ministry expelled the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the grounds that it was not registered with the government; closed 32 radio frequencies affecting stations relaying Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and Voice of Democracy; and ordered the independent English-language newspaper Cambodia Daily to shut down, ostensibly for failing to pay taxes. In November 2017 the Supreme Court of Cambodia, at the government’s behest, dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the country’s principal opposition party. As a result, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) ran virtually unopposed in the 2018 National Assembly election. In November 2018 the government ended the work of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, charged with prosecuting former Khmer Rouge officials for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Meanwhile, economic development has entailed social and environmental costs. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians reportedly have been displaced as government, business, and foreign entities, often in collusion, have confiscated their land and homes, sometimes forcibly or without proper compensation, to make way for agricultural, mining, logging, tourism, and urban development projects. Cambodia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world and illegal logging continues, due to strong demand from China, Thailand and Vietnam, corruption, and suppression of environmental activists. Labor relations have shown signs of strain as the garment industry has developed, while human trafficking via debt-based coercion is a significant concern.

Witnesses will examine the multiple, interacting dimensions of the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia and offer recommendations for congressional action.  

This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website and will also be available for viewing on Channel 56 of the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi at 202-225-3765 (for Co-Chair Smith).   

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Alan Lowenthal
Member of Congress
TLHRC Executive Committee
Co-Chair, Cambodia Caucus
Steve Chabot
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, Cambodia Caucus

Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal, Executive Committee, TLHRC
    Written Remarks
  • Rep. Steve Chabot, Co-Chair, Congressional Cambodia Caucus


Panel I

  • Tola Moeun, Executive Director, Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights CENTRAL
    Written testimony
  • Teang Pa, Executive Director, Cambodia Center for Independent Media
    Written testimony
  • Jessica Champagne, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Strategy, Worker Rights Consortium
    Written testimony
  • Daniel K. Mitchell, Jr., CEO, GreenWolf International Ltd. and Managing Director, SRP International (Cambodia) Ltd.
    Written testimony
  • Olivia Enos, Senior Policy Analyst, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation
    Written testimony
  • John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
    Written testimony


Submitted for the Record




116th Congress