Cambodias garment sector has been hurt by violent unrest and demonstrations

Cambodia's garment sector has been hurt by violent unrest and demonstrations

Brands and retailers including Puma, H&M, Gap Inc, Columbia Sportswear, American Eagle Outfitters, The Jones Group, Warnaco Inc and Lululemon Athletica have joined a coalition of industry groups calling for an end to the violent unrest that continues to plague Cambodia's garment sector.

Their action has been prompted by an incident in the Manhattan Special Economic Zone (SEZ) last month, where three female workers at Puma supplier Kaoway Sports Ltd were shot and injured, and products and facilities of Kaoway, Kingmaker and Sheico were damaged by demonstrators.

A letter sent last week to Cambodia's Minister of Commerce, HE Cham Prasidh, urges the government to conduct a "full and transparent investigation into the recent activities."

"We hope the government will redouble efforts to create a safe and stable environment for workers and businesses in the country," add the groups, which include the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), along with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and the Ethical Trading Initiative.

"We had hoped that the agreements set out by the local authority were satisfactory enough for all parties to settle their differences and begin to rebuild industrial peace.

 "We respectfully urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the recent activities in the Manhattan SEZ and hold those responsible for injuring workers accountable."

The coalition says it will continue to stand by Cambodia "through this period and support constructive dialogue between all parties.

In 2011, Cambodia supplied nearly $2.6bn worth of apparel to the US, making it the sixth largest supplier.