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NGOs draft petition to improve women’s rights

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
NGOs want more protection for women against violence. KT/Chor Sokunthea

As International Women’s Day approaches, 12 organisations have finished drafting a petition calling on the government to continue to address challenges women are facing, including violence, inequality and poverty.

The 12 organisations include the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community, and Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights.

In a joint petition published on Sunday, the organisations said the government must build community kindergartens and workplace nurseries, improve working conditions, strengthen mechanisms to protect domestic workers, and provide shelters for victims of violence.

“When women suffer domestic abuse, or female workers are subjected to violence from home-owners, the victims are likely unable to get away from the perpetrators,” it said. “They also do not have a safe shelter to protect them, which gives perpetrators opportunities to continue to harass, use violence and threaten victims.”

In addition, the petition called for the stopping of persecutions, sexual violence in the workplace, and violence against human rights defenders.

“We urge the government to continue to respond to women’s needs and eliminate all forms of violence against women, promote gender equality and [follow] the national strategic plans,” the petition said.

CCFC deputy general secretary Keo Chanra yesterday said the petition will be submitted to the Women’s Affairs, Labour, Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministries, along with other government institutions this week to mark the upcoming International Women’s Day on Friday.

“Our working team worked together to promote women’s rights to achieve gender equality,” Ms Chanra said. “We know that effective and sustainable development work needs the participation of women as well.”

“So on March 8, we will have a gathering at the National Olympic Stadium and we will march to the Council of Ministers to submit this joint petition,” she added.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour yesterday said it has always paid attention to the needs of women in the workplace and will continue to address challenges.

“The ministry has always encouraged private and public institutions to pay attention to the working conditions of women,” Mr Sour said. “The ministry has also issued directives to improve labour conditions in the entertainment services sector – and we have plans to inspect this sector.”

“Sexual harassment is a criminal case that authorities must be prepared to address,” he added. “Victims must be protected in accordance with the law.”

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