Cambodia internationals ‘unfair’ treatment of women, rights group says
Cambodia Internationals ‘uncivilised’ treatment women and girls are subjected to in its prisons and jails is an “absolute violation of international law,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released Thursday.
The organization also said it has received credible reports of sexual violence and harassment by the Cambodian government, including of young women who have been detained and forced to marry into poverty and abuse.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Cambodia, and HRW called on the government to immediately end its abuse of detainees.
In its report, HRW cited a March 2015 report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which said Cambodian authorities “have long engaged in a systematic, widespread and widespread use of forced marriage” and have used “all available methods” to do so.
“These practices are unbalanced and disproportionately affect women and children, who are more likely to be subjected to sexual violence, forced labor, and other forms of abuse,” HRW said.
The report, which also criticized Cambodia for failing to fully investigate sexual violence committed by police and military, also found that Cambodian officials have “repeatedly failed to ensure the safety of Cambodian women and women-led communities” and “failed to provide adequate protection for victims.”
Cambodia is the world’s largest democracy and home to more than 100 million people, but has been a victim of decades of armed conflict, poverty, and violence.
Since the 1970s, the country has been plagued by an armed conflict between the military and pro-democracy forces.
The country has had a military dictatorship since the 1970 and 80s, but later the military overthrew the government and installed the communist-led regime that was supported by China.
The new government came into power in 2013 and has faced criticism over its handling of the refugee crisis and the arrest of opposition leader Le Tse Tung, who has been detained for years.
Human Rights Council statement on human rights in Cambodia report (PDF) (PDF, 2MB) Cambodian Human Rights Committee chair, Ngo Xuan, said in the report that Cambodia has the “lowest human rights record” of any country in the world, “despite being a democracy and a member of the United Nations.”
Human Rights Commission (HRC) statement on Cambodia Human Rights Report (PDF), Cambodia Human Right Committee chair Ngo van Tu, said that Cambodia “has an appalling record on human and women’s rights.”
The report found that women are subjected “to severe and often degrading physical and sexual violence in detention, including rape and sexual harassment by police, prison guards, and prison guards who are not officers,” and that “the government has failed to effectively investigate or prosecute police and prison staff who violate human rights and prevent prisoners from exercising their rights.”
“We are outraged by the fact that this report documents that many Cambodians are still subject to systematic sexual violence by police officers and prison officials who are part of a government that has systematically targeted Cambodians for being members of the opposition,” Van Tu said in an emailed statement.
Human rights groups said they had documented at least 17 cases of abuse in Cambodia between April 2014 and February 2017, which included rape, sexual harassment, beatings, and torture.
In some cases, police and officials have forced women to wear a mask and blindfold and beat or beat or blindfold women in public areas of the prisons and in prisons themselves, said Ngan Chomkham, the head of Cambodia’s National Human Rights Center.
“There is no accountability for the victims,” Chomchham said in interview with The Associated Press.
The HRC called for the Cambodians government to “reopen all its prisons immediately to women and to take all necessary measures to ensure that no further victims are being subjected to these crimes.”
Cambodia has said it is in the process of building a new prison in the capital Phnom Penh, which will hold more than 10,000 people, including women and minors, to address a large number of prisoners.
Human Right Watch said it will be holding an event in Phnom Pok in the coming weeks to highlight the issue.
The Human Rights Office of Cambodia (HROCC), which is responsible for the monitoring of human rights, said it “will be providing a presentation on the ongoing abuses and violence in Cambodia in the near future.”
It said the HRC is the “sole provider of information and information sharing on the human and political rights situation,” and said its office has been working to monitor and respond to the violations and to the need to act on them.
“The HROCC will continue to monitor the situation closely and to monitor violations of the right to security of the person and the right of persons to liberty, security of persons and property, freedom of expression, and association, including by the authorities in relation to the human right to life and security of person,” it