Fight to Ban Asbestos Boosted in Cambodia
In Cambodia, the fight to ban asbestos has taken a major step forward with the launch of the National Asbestos Profile. The National Asbestos Profile helps decision-makers, workers and consumers safeguard their health and safety by identifying the dangers of asbestos in their workplaces and communities.
Protecting workers from harm
Speaking to over three hundred people gathered at the launch of the National Asbestos Profile, Mr. Sok Kin (pictured below), President of the Cambodian Building and Wood Workers’ Trade Union Federation and Convener of CAMBAN, said that asbestos awareness is a new challenge for Cambodians.
“There are very few workers aware of the dangers of asbestos and they don’t know what materials contain asbestos. We are working with support from Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA to raise awareness among our members and we urge rapid government action to phase out use and protect workers and consumers.”
Working for a future free of asbestos
The National Asbestos Profile is the fruit of years of close cooperation between government and civil society. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has worked with the Ban Asbestos Network in Cambodia (CAMBAN) to bring about this joint effort between the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and trade unions, employers, and a number of other ministries.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Labour Vocational Training His Excellency Minister Ith Samheng urged rapid action to move forward on asbestos hazard awareness and regulation.
Mr. Leng Tong, Advisor to the Ministry of Labor and Employment Training, said he was looking forward to the day that Cambodia bans asbestos:
“Cambodia is still allowing asbestos use because we do not have tools for checking this substance, but in the future, Cambodia will prepare to erase asbestos, to implement an asbestos ban”.
Asbestos fight brings global benefits
The Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy, Mr. Luke Arnold, said the Australian government was pleased to support the work of eradicating asbestos through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). He highlighted the world-wide benefits of restricting trade on asbestos in South East Asia, saying:
“Minimising the trade in goods containing asbestos in South East Asia will reduce demand for asbestos products internationally. It also makes communities in Cambodia and in our region safer.”
In the coming years Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA will continue working with its partner unions and organisations to promote asbestos awareness, combat misinformation, and advocate for the elimination of the scourge of asbestos in Cambodia. By fighting for a ban on asbestos, Cambodian workers and communities can safeguard their health and well-being.
‘Asbestos. Not here. Not Anywhere.’ Cambodia was piloted with funds from the Australian Embassy’s Direct Access Program [DAP], and is currently supported by donations to Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA from the Australian public, the Australia’s NGO Cooperation Program [ANCP], the Australian Governments Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency [ASEA], and The Solidarity Centre.
Join the fight against asbestos
Support the fight to protect workers from asbestos by becoming a member of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement.