On 31 July 2020, the president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) and prominent unionist in Cambodia, Rong Chhun, was arrested for “incitement to commit felony” regarding his public comments on farmland losses and border irregularities between Cambodia and Vietnam. Under this fallacious pretext, the Cambodian authorities in reality targeted his activities leading pickets in garment factory closures and urging the government to make human rights improvements, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rong Chhun faces two years in prison if convicted.
On 7 August 2020, at least seven protesters and CCU members were arrested for demanding Chhun’s release, including Sor Saknika, president of the Cambodian Informal Labourers’ Association (CILA), who was charged with incitement to join the solidarity protest and who remains, to this date, in pre-trial detention.
On 10 August, Ouk Chayavy, former president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA), was attacked by thugs after visiting Rong Chhun in prison. She was leading the Free Rong Chhun campaign and was in the process of submitting petitions to the UN and country representations.