Cambodia reduces number of public holidays to attract jobs but activists express concern it could undermine democracy

Responding to the clamor of the business sector, the Cambodian government issued a decree reducing the country’s public holidays from 28 to 22. Authorities said this decision will boost the country’s competitiveness but some groups are worried that this might undermine public commemorations of important historical events.

The six holidays that will be removed in 2020 are the National Day of Remembrance (formerly the National Day of Hatred, commemorating the Khmer Rouge communist regime) on May 20, International Children’s Day on June 1, Paris Peace Agreements Day on October 23, International Human Rights Day on December 10, and two of the three days celebrating the king’s birthday.

The Paris Peace Agreements Day commemorates the end of war in Cambodia in 1991 and marks the country’s transition to democracy. It laid the framework for the building of a modern democratic state and reflected the unity of major political parties to pursue peaceful political reforms.

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