Arbitration Council Sets Fund-Raising Institution

The Arbitration Council officially in­augurated its fund-raising institution, the Arbitration Council Found­ation, in a ceremony on Thursday.

Men Nimmith, executive director of the foundation, said it was estab­lish­ed to make the council financially sustainable as an independent body.

The independence and transpar­en­cy of the council were unique in Cam­bodia’s judicial system, and the foundation would be critical to maintaining those standards, said Hugo van Noord, chief technical adviser of the International Labor Organ­i­za­tion’s Labor Dispute Resolution Project.

“Numerous strikes have been avoided or ended voluntarily,” with the council’s help, van Noord said.

But US Ambassador Joseph Mus­­someli remarked that “Cambo­dia is still far from being a genuine worker’s paradise.”

He expressed concern about the violence union leaders have faced.

“The deaths in 2004 of union leaders Chea Vichea and Ros Savan­nareth are disturbing reminders of the threats that union leaders still face in Cambodia,” he said.

The “legally questionable arrest” of Cambodian Independent Teach­ers’ Association President Rong Chhun, and warrants for other un­ion leaders, show that unions “often face limits on their freedom of ex­pres­sion—and the penalty for breach­ing those limits is sometimes severe,” he added.




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