Skip to main content

Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Comment by UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence on Cambodia court upholding charges against Chhim Sithar

03 May 2024

Supporters of Chhim Sithar, NagaWorld union leader, react outside Phnom Penh municipal court after her verdict in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 25, 2023 Credit: REUTERS


UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence



We are very concerned by the Cambodian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the conviction of trade union leader Chhim Sithar on charges of “incitement to felony or disturb social order” in relation to a strike in 2021 over layoffs at the NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh. We call for her immediate release.

She was sentenced, along with eight others, to jail terms of between one to two years in May 2023. She is the only one serving a jail term as the others were given suspended sentences or monitoring orders. We call on the authorities to quash all their convictions.

They were convicted for simply exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, protected by both the Cambodian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Cambodia in 1992. The rights to peaceful assembly and association include the right to hold meetings, sit-ins and strikes, and the right of individuals to interact and organise among themselves to collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.

A vibrant, strong and inclusive democracy that nurtures and respects a plurality of voices and opinions, including those that express discontent, is key to social and economic development. We urge Cambodia to fully uphold the human rights protections recognised under international law and create an environment where people can freely exercise their rights.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva
Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] 
Jeremy Laurence - +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected] 
Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

Tag and share

Twitter @UNHumanRights
Facebook unitednationshumanrights
Instagram @unitednationshumanrights