Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Wednesday that factory workers will have access to legal representation free of charge once his volunteer group of his lawyers is established, while civil society groups say the government should instead improve labour law enforcement.
Delivering a speech to garment workers in Kandal province on Wednesday, Hun Sen said he had allocated $500,000 from his own budget to create a group of 50 lawyers to defend disadvantaged women, particularly widows – and that garment workers could also seek help from them free of charge.
“I have already officially decided. Now I have 2,000 million riel or $500,000 in my hand to finance the work of my lawyers. But I am asking Ky Tech, the head of the government’s lawyers, to help me in preparing [the group]. This is not from the state budget. It is a budget I raised to establish a group of lawyers to defend poor clients,” he said.