A HUMAN RIGHTS ANALYSIS OF THE
DRAFT LAW ON TRADE UNIONS
Prepared by the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia

Introduction
The present analysis was prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia as a contribution to the consideration of this law. It
provides an analysis of some key aspects of the initiative, in order to provide constructive
elements to the process of drafting the Law on Trade Unions, which integrates the relevant
international human rights standards. OHCHR offers it in the belief that the draft law holds
direct implications in the ability of people to form and join trade unions, as an inherent part of
the right to freedom of association.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has reaffirmed that the right to freedom of
association, together with the right to peaceful assembly, are essential components of democracy,
as they empower men and women to “express their political opinions, engage in literary and
artistic pursuits and other cultural, economic and social activities, engage in religious
observances or other beliefs, form and join trade unions and cooperatives, and elect leaders to
represent their interests and hold them accountable” (Human Rights Council resolution 15/21,
preamble, emphasis added).
The UN Human Rights Council has “remind[ed] States of their obligation to respect and fully
protect the rights of all individuals to …associate freely, online as well as offline, including in
the context of elections, and including persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs,
human rights defenders, trade unionists and others, including migrants, seeking to exercise or to
promote these rights, and to take all necessary measures to ensure that any restrictions on the
free exercise of the rights to …freedom of association are in accordance with their obligations
under international human rights law.” (Human Rights Council resolutions 15/21, para. 1; 21/6,
para. 1; and 24/5, para. 2, emphasis added).

1 
 

Select target paragraph3