Speech of Marieke de VRies- den Hollander, program coordinator CNV Internationaal- Final Closing conference- 13th March 2017, Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Dear colleagues of the CLC and its federations,
Esteemed guests from EU- Ambassador George Edgar,MoLVT- H.E. Som Chamnan, ILO- Mr. Sophorn Tun and President Ath Thorn,
Dear colleagues from other international CSO’s, unions, employersorganisations and labour NGO’s in the field of social development.
I am happy to see you all here, this is a sign for CNV and CLC that Core Labour Standards, gender equality and youth employmentis at your and our interest. Most of us have worked together the last three years of this project on promoting Core Labour Rights, thank you for working with us!
As a program coordinator of CNV, I have been coordinating this project, mainly funded by the Delegation of the European Union of the Kingdom of Cambodia. First I will give some short elaboration on CNV and this project cooperation. As there will be manu interesting speakers explaining more in debt on the project results, I will not tell you all the results yet. But I want to share my most important thoughts on this project and the cooperation.
CNV celebrates its 50 year existence this year, and was funded in solidarity with our brothers and sisters to support Decent work worldwide. Our main objectives are solidarity, participation and sustainability. For me this project started 1 year ago at the end of year 2 of the project. My first time in Cambodia, but what a warm welcome I received!
This country still faces many challenges, but I see humble and strong women and men who want to have a safe and democratic country with equal human & labour rights. Cambodian women have been working in the house for years, unpaid. But in holland we say the family is only a strong as their backbone, the women, so this work should be appreciated.
With the increase in labour in the garment sector and other sectors, women are a great part of the workforce these days. This project focussed on promoting Core Labour Rights and womens rights in work, equal and as leaders. I have seen strong and independent women, but we can only be part if we are accepted and if awareness is created about gender equality. This participation is the key. Promoting Core Labour standards on gender equality creates sustainability, especially if a behavioural change can be made.
As one of the male workers said; I only realized through the training that men and women work just as hard, so we should divide the work in the house also. This for me is the first step on promoting womens rights, awareness on gender. Like my husband, who is now in Holland taking care of our kids (cleaning, cooking, bringing them to school) and also working full hours, just like Cambodian women do each day.
As for the youth, they are the future also in Cambodia were there is a lot of youth unemployment and schooldrop outs to do unskilled work. In this project great steps have been made to reacht youth and train them. From students, workers and unemployed youth from all sectors. CLC is continuing on a project who will support youth to find jobs online and offline using your network. Also the youth committee of CLC is active online on twitter and Facebook. Train youth to become leaders and introducing them to the union will give them important experience and a network for the future as a union and labour society.
Lastly the aim of this project and its succes are all based on the Social Dialogue. In Cambodia where the political space for unions is decreasing at times and the Lango Law and New Trade Union Law put pressure on our rights to organize, our freedom of association, our right to collective bargaining and all other ratified ILO conventions.
CNV, the Dutch Embassy, and other international organisations have urged the Cambodian government to look at these laws again. In this world today, were Core Rights of unions are recognized and ratified it is time that tey can be practised also. In a democratic country with international realtions, these ILO conventions and basic Human Rights need to be followed.
My brothers and sisters of CLC work hard to improve their knowledge, to look forward, and work on a social dialogue within Cambodia. The social dialogue is increasing with (inter)national organisations, CLC is open to develop and look for improving Cambodia’s society, and with them many other organizations.
The focus on working more with employers and employers organisations is creating win-win situations. Because in the end we all want the same thing: a good economy in Cambodia to provide income, safe working conditions and knowledgable workers. Happy, healthy workers and a workplace were everybody is respected, this is the only way to improve lives and a country.
Listen to all the speakers after me, they will show the steps that have been made in this project, and see and hear for yourself.
Marieke de Vries- den Hollander