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ILO asks Cambodia to clarify accusations about 'untruthful' garment industry reports

ILO asks Cambodia to clarify accusations about 'untruthful' garment industry reports

The U.N. labor agency said Thursday it was seeking "clarification" from Cambodia after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the organization of misrepresenting conditions in the country's garment factories.
Hun Sen called on the Geneva-based International Labor Organization to correct any "untruthful reports" it has produced about Cambodia's garment industry, which is the poor nation's leading foreign exchange earner. He made the comment Wednesday to address the complaints of an unidentified investor at a business forum. He did not refer to any specific agency findings.
The ILO responded in a statement Thursday, saying it saw news reports with Hun Sen's comments and wanted elaboration.
"The ILO is seeking clarification from the Cambodian Government on these reports," the statement said, adding that a letter was sent from the agency's headquarters in Geneva to the Cambodian government. "We are awaiting a response."
Since 2001, the ILO has been running a project to monitor working conditions in Cambodian garment factories.
"The ILO's work in Cambodia has been taking place in a harmonious climate and we look forward to the continuation of these positive relations and constructive cooperation," said the statement, obtained from the agency's regional office in Bangkok.
Hun Sen, who is known for lashing out at uncomplimentary comments by international agencies, went so far as to suggest that some ILO staffers may be using blackmail tactics in their work.
"ILO is a good organization, but there could also be some bad people working for it," Hun Sen said. "Sometimes, some of its staffers may even try to extort money from factory owners, like, 'If you give me money, I will write a good report about you.'"
The garment industry employs 320,000 workers in 286 factories. Garment exports have grown to more than US$2.2 billion (euro1.7 billion) annually in recent years, largely because of restrictions imposed by the United States and the European Union on garment imports from China.


Updated : 2021-05-10 13:29 GMT+08:00