Cambodian official tells union boss to ‘go to the moon’

A TRADE union leader was told to go to the moon and stay there by an embassy official after enquiring about human rights abuses.

A TRADE union leader was told to go to the moon and stay there by an embassy official after enquiring about human rights abuses.

Ben Rickman, secretary at Brent Trade Union Councils, sent an email to the Cambodian Embassy, in Brondesbury Park, Willesden, via the Amnesty UK website.

In it he outlined his dismay over the targeting of union leaders organising national strikes in protest over poor working conditions.

However, he was shocked to receive the undiplomatic response from the embassy’s official email address on September 26.


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Signed the Webmaster, the email said: ‘It is none of your business! Please report to your clown boss to stop this childish game and stop this circus at once? Thank you.’

Mr Rickman replied saying ‘this is not a childish game and I will not stop until I get a sensible answer.’

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Two hours later Mr Rickman received a second email saying ‘please go to the moon and stay there until you get an answer. Cambodia is not part of the British Empire.’

Amnesty UK confirmed the response came from the embassy’s email address but didn’t want to comment further at risk of taking attention away from the human rights issue.

When contacted, a spokesman at the Cambodian Embassy said he had no record of the emails sent.

However, when the Times offered to forward the emails he said that wouldn’t be possible as the email system wasn’t working.

Separately, two affiliates of BTUC handed in a petition to the embassy while holding a protest outside on Wednesday, September 29.

John Tymon, chairman of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ Group, said: ‘We will allow the Cambodian Embassy 14 days to give us written assurances’ over the safety of the union leaders or ‘we will have to … escalate our protests accordingly.’

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