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Cambodia among the worst countries on the new ITUC Global Rights Index

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19 May, 2014The International Trade Union Confederation today released their Global Rights Index, ranking 139 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.

The International Trade Union Confederation has been collecting data on the abuse of trade union rights around the world for the past 30 years. Now for the first time the ITUC Global Rights Index presents carefully verified information from the last 12 months in an easy-to-use format so that every government and business can see how their laws and supply chains stack up.

“Countries such as Denmark and Uruguay led the way through their strong labour laws, but perhaps surprisingly, the likes of Greece, the United States and Hong Kong, lagged behind,” says ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow. “A country’s level of development proved to be a poor indicator of whether it respected basic rights to bargain collectively, strike for decent conditions, or simply join a union at all.”

Cambodia’s labour law fails to cover many civil servants, there are undue restrictions on the right to elect union representatives, and in 2013 the government responded with lethal force to demonstrators seeking a decent wage and working conditions. This resulted in Cambodia receiving a score of 5 in the Rights Index – the worst possible rating other than for those countries where the rule of law has completely broken down

Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, vows to promote change:

Workers in Cambodia face an uphill struggle which the violent actions and subsequent persecutions by the government in January clearly show. But IndustriALL is committed to change the rules of the game and to ensure that Cambodia's workers will be able to enjoy the fundamental right of freedom of association.

The ITUC Global Rights Index rates countries from one to five according to 97 indicators, with an overall score placing countries in one to five rankings.

1 – Irregular violations of rights: 18 countries including Denmark and Uruguay
2 – Repeated violations of rights: 26 countries including Japan and Switzerland
3 – Regular violations of rights: 33 countries including Chile and Ghana
4 – Systematic violations of rights: 30 countries including Kenya and the USA
5 – No guarantee of rights: 24 countries including Belarus, Bangladesh and Qatar
5+ - No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law: 8 countries including Central African Republic and Somalia.

Read the report – ITUC Global Rights Index: The worst places in the world for workers