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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 710


Mr GRIFFIN (Bruce) (16:21): I rise today in the House to raise concerns with respect to human rights violations which have been reported to be occurring in Cambodia. Honourable members would know that the Australian government has for many years had an interest in Cambodia and in the process in leading to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Cambodia. Our former foreign minister, Gareth Evans, played a very prominent role in seeking to achieve a lasting peace in Cambodia, and Australia remains a very significant donor to Cambodia. We also have a substantial expatriate community from Cambodia, particularly in parts of Sydney and in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Those people are very concerned about recent reports regarding actions by the Cambodian military, which included—on 3 January—reports that five garment workers were shot dead and more than 40 other protesters were wounded, and that some 23 unionists and human rights activists were detained without charge.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has just returned from Cambodia, and, although we have limited reports at this stage with respect to what issues were discussed, other than asylum seekers, one would certainly hope that she took the opportunity to raise the concerns of the international community with respect to human rights abuses in Cambodia. If this government is truly concerned about the issues of workers' rights—as it appears to say it is—then this is something which must be acted upon.