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Top retailers call for investigation into Cambodia killings

Some of the UK’s biggest retailers – including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark – have signed an open letter to the prime minister of Cambodia, demanding an investigation into the recent action that saw four people killed during protests over factory pay.

Multinational retailers Inditex, H&M and GAP have joined forces with retailers such as New Look, Bonmarche and N Brown Group, as well as sports names such as Nike and Adidas to call for answers over the “killing and wounding of workers and bystanders by security forces”.

Earlier this month, a number of people were arrested and four people shot and killed during protests over the minimum wage for factory garment workers. The protests were part of a nationwide strike disputing the recent announcement that the minimum wage for garment workers would be raised to $100 a month – less than the $160 previously expected.

In an open letter to prime minister Hun Sen, the 33 businesses highlighted their “grave concern” at the action.

It added: “The use of deadly force against protesting workers will not result in long-term industrial peace and jeopardises Cambodia’s position as a stable sourcing location for international brands. We strongly support the United Nation’s request that the Royal Government of Cambodia launch a prompt and thorough investigation into the events of 2 and 3 January.

“The investigation should ensure full accountability of any members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force and to take measures to prevent the repetition of such acts.”

The retailers went on to call for the Cambodian government to “lay the foundation for credible and regular dialogue between workers, employers and government”.

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