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PM: Stop violence against women

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Activists say it is unacceptable that women in Cambodia continue to face gender discrimination. KT/Mai Vireak

The prime minister has urged government ministries and public institutions to speed up work on an action plan to prevent violence against women and children, calling for education on the issue to start from an early age.  
In a ceremony to celebrate International Women’s Day at the Koh Pich Theater in Phnom Penh, Mr. Hun Sen said all public bodies must work to promote women’s rights and make society safe.  
“We must teach children about living in a dignified society and resolving problems peacefully from a young age,” he said. “Men also need to be role models for the elimination of all forms of violence and maintaining nonviolent culture.”
Cambodian Center for Human Rights executive director Chak Sopheap stated on her Facebook page yesterday that it was unacceptable that women in Cambodia continued to face gender discrimination.
“No society can flourish while any of its members are denied equal treatment. Today and every day, we call for bold action to ensure gender equality and an end to gender-based violence in all its forms,” she said.
“Please recognize the heroism of female activists who face punishment for their work in support of the rights of others.”
Eight civil society organizations also issued a joint statement to mark International Women’s Day yesterday, calling on the government to address the hardships faced by women and children.
They want ministers to amend the domestic violence laws to better protect victims, using the framework provided by the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw).
Chim Channeang, the coordinator of the Cambodia NGO committee on Cedaw, said the cases of violence against women and children are getting worse, with more women being killed.
She said laws to prevent domestic violence and protect victims do not work effectively and can’t protect the victims. She urged the government to amend the law and increase criminal penalties for perpetrators. “Our current law covers some victims but fails to protect others,” Ms. Channeang said.
“If a couple are divorced and don’t live with each other, the law cannot protect the woman even though the ex-husband can still mistreat her.
“It’s the same in cases of violence between a boyfriend and girlfriend. The law only refers to husband and wife.”
Keo Remy, the head of the Cambodia Human Rights Committee, said the government must strengthen the implementation of laws to protect women, in collaboration with police and relevant authorities.
He said victims of violence must also have access to legal services, pledging to continue the committee’s efforts to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
An Interior Ministry report last year recorded 737 cases of violence against women, a 10 percent increase year on year.

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