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Women detained in stadium on Int’l Women’s Day

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
The women celebrating International Women’s Day and posting their demands. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

Around 400 persons, mostly women, gathered at the Olympic Stadium on Friday (March 8) to celebrate International Women’s Day that is themed “Promotion of Gender Equity and Social Protection for Human Resource Development.” They planned to file petitions at various government bureaus, but were contained in the stadium by security personnel.

The women from over ten organizations and unions attempted to leave the stadium to go to the Council of Ministers, the ministries of Women’s Affairs, of Labour, of Justice, of the Interior, of Foreign Affairs, and the National Committee for Counter Trafficking and file their petitions requesting the resolve of certain issues. Security guards shut the gates, locking them in. This caused a bit of a commotion, but no violence.

KT/ Chor Sokunthea
Security guards block the gates of the Olympic Stadium, not allowing the women to continue their march.

Ms Chak Sopheap, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, asked for their release, but a guard said they must stay inside, “I have orders from a higher level not to allow you to celebrate outside. Our higher level is the city governor.”

After an hour the gate was opened through the intervention of Mean Chanyada and Kert Chhae, both are city deputy governors and acted on behalf of the ministries.

The petitions requested the creation of preschool and child care centres at workplaces; safe havens for women facing domestic violence; an end to sexual harassment and abuse at the workplace; a stop to violence toward women’s rights defenders; reform of transportation means for garment-, textile-, and shoe-factory workers; better working conditions; stronger defences against the exploitation of domestic workers and migratory workers; and the termination of human trafficking and wage slavery.

KT/ Chor Sokunthea
Kert Chhae, Phnom Penh deputy governor (C) accepts the petitions of the women’s representative.

Mr Chhae said that he will “send the petitions to the ministries by Wednesday [March 13]” and give the petitioners feedback.

Prime Minister Hun Sen posted on Facebook: “I and my wife send our greetings to our compatriots, especially to the ladies and women in the whole country, and wish them happiness in their families and good luck on the 8th of March, the 108th International Women’s Day, in 2019.”

WATCH: Civil society and union members, whose rally at the Olympic Stadium to mark International Women's Day (Friday March 8 ) was disallowed, confront the responsible authorities. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Posted by Khmer Times on Thursday, 7 March 2019

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