6 Teachers Ask Human Rights Groups for Help

Six teachers transferred to new schools following a school corruption scandal in Banteay Mean­chey province have asked human rights organizations to intervene in their case.

Philosophy teacher Sim Sorn, the teachers’ leader, said the group has asked Licadho, the UN human rights office and the prov­incial Adhoc chapter to step in.

The teachers were suspended from Samdech Euv Secondary School and transferred to schools as far as 70 km away. They claim they are being targeted by administrators in retaliation for protesting school corruption in front of the National Assembly in May.

School officials say they transferred the teachers because they were insubordinate and provoked complaints from parents.

Sok Sam Oeun, coordinator for the Human Rights Action Com­mittee and president of the Cam­bodian Defenders Project, said he received a letter from the Khmer Youth Association asking his of­fice to help solve the problem.

“What we can do is provide them with ideas about legal procedure,” he said. “But if a case is about corruption, it is a penal case which must be sent to court. It can’t be solved administratively.”

The teachers have also sought advice from Legal Aid for Cam­bodia, lawyer Yim Simene said.

The teachers reported for work in their new schools on Oct 9, a day before the start of classes, but said their teaching is now sporadic.

“When we do not have enough money for gas, we can’t go,” Sim Sorn said. He added that the new schools have assigned the teachers to teach 20 or more hours per week.

After the teachers’ protest in May, a government investigation revealed money was missing from the provincial education office. One official was dismissed.

The teachers have already appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly Presi­dent Prince Norodom Ranariddh and the Ministry of Education for help.

Sim Sorn said if the teachers have done something to deserve the transfers, they want to know what it is. “We want the government to reveal our mistake,” he said. “If we made a mistake, we will ask for retirement.”

 

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