Statement of Cambodian Women
On the 13th November 2012, we, all are representatives of the Civil Society Organizations, association, community, unions of the workers, migrant workers, students, university students, women of domestic violence and women farmers, MSM (Men Love Men), entertainment women workers, as well as women activists – all are 176 people together, 60 of whom from Civil Society Organizations and the other 116 people are female farmers, participated in a Women Forum to discuss and identify problems and basic necessities of women, to seek support from the royal government of Cambodia to find a solution as well as intervention from the Asean leaders into major problems that Cambodian women have faced.
The 21st Asean Summit, which scheduled from 18th to 20th November 2012, of which Cambodia is a host and chairman of the summit, is the special occasion for Cambodian people as well as the whole Asean nations so as to raise major on-going problems and submit them to the Asean leaders for consideration and find an immediate solution with an effectiveness, transparency and justice in accordance with the Asean Charter and other legal documents that were adopted.
Through the one-day forum of the provincial grass-roots women and Cambodian women forum, we find some major issues as below:
- Migrant workers, especially women lack protective mechanism when they left and worked as domestic workers in the country and in foreign countries. Migration has increasingly led to missing relatives, while the other migration has caused physical loss and severe impact on mentality, waste of timing and other chronic diseases due to sexual abuses, sexual harassments, and even loss of life.
- The price of local products is quite low and there are no markets to sell their products sale, prompting the farmers have become depressed and their livelihood are facing difficulty.
- The working condition for women is inappropriate because of a short-term work contract and low pay, causing the loss of advantage, rights and safety and forcing those women to work as entertainers, sexual workers and other workers that they do not satisfy, etc.
- The Cambodian citizens are not well-equipped with knowledge and technique that relates to agriculture and industry. This has worried the people especially the grass-root women when Asean community will be integrated in 2015.
- There is no independent court that provides justice to the workers and employers; the law implementation is still ineffective.
- The land concessions for development have caused forced evictions, that are carried out by the local authorities. Many people lost their housing, land and livelihood. Consequently, they their daily life and education of their children are affected, especially impacts on human rights, rights of women and children.
- Women, who are victimized by violence, labor exploitation and sexual abuses, have faced discrimination when they demand justice through the judicial system.
- Women, who work in informal economic system, face right abuses and severe discrimination due to a lack of mechanism to protect their rights.
- A number of young girls miss their opportunity in education and training due to economic, social, traditional and cultural factors.
- Failure of dissemination and consultation with the people about the drafts and Asean Human Rights Declaration, reportedly the bill is pending for adoption during the Asean Summit, 18th – 20th November, 2012, have bring about people’s concerns over loss of their rights at the present and over some laws that cannot be applied.
- Homosexuals are facing discrimination and losing a number of rights due to social, cultural and traditional reasons.
Through the discussion, we all together join ideas and put them into recommendations as below:
To the Royal Government of Cambodia and Asean Leaders
- Speed up implementation and preparation of a memorandum of understanding and agreements with any countries that grant work for Cambodian workers, in order to provide the rights and freedom and dignity to those female workers who worked as domestic workers and the others who work in enterprises according to Asean’s announcement, dated 17th January 2007, on protection and promotion of rights of the migrant workers, during the Asean Summit held in Sebu, Philippines, and other major International Standards.
- Urge all Asean members to ratify the International Labor Organization convention numbered 189 about appropriate work and the United Nations Conventions on protection of rights of migrant workers and their families.
- All Asean leaders should consider and ratify the International Labor Organization Convention Numbered 183 regarding the motherhood and advantages during and after maternity.
- Asean governments should find markets where products are sold at fair prices.
- Asean governments should create appropriate working conditions and terminate short-term work contract within the fields of garment and tourism industries, as well as appropriate wages for female workers and female employers.
- Provide possibility to people especially the rural women to have access to loan with low interest and eliminate any unfair confiscation.
- Include general knowledge about Asean and make assessment of impacts on globalization into curriculums at high school and bring the public awareness.
- Propose all Asean members to provide scholarships especially for young girls from less developed countries.
- Establish a mechanism of fair trade and work balance
- Establish independent, fair and neutral court according to each Asean country
- Stop forced eviction of people from their houses and land; encourage more on-site developments for the people; especially the governments provide an adequate compensation and ensure appropriate infrastructure.
- Urge that laws are more effectively applied, monitoring, and elimination of all kinds of discriminations in applying laws that discriminate against women.
- Allow the establishment of forums, movements of Asean young girls, in order to uphold right protection and benefits of women in the Asean community.
- Big gap between men and women in a decision-making process and leadership, including a lack of full rights in their roles due to lack of clear policy to encourage, support and protect women in politics and other decisions.
- Take a special measure to increase women in leadership and involved in decision-making and empower them in their roles and duties without discrimination, at all levels from the grass-roots to national level, and Asean community as well as Asean secretariat.
- Asean should provide rights to homosexuals to get married without setting conditions.
- Asean leaders held congress with their people within every six months.
- The human right declaration should exclude any phrases and sentences that mention about attitudes or morality aiming to limit women’s rights.
- Asean Human Rights Declaration shall become a principle document that should be used to promote other human rights laws in Asean-member countries at the same level of improvements.
- Asean governments should postpone adoption of the Asean Human Rights Declaration for [further] reviews and amendments, each year, with participation from civil society organizations.
Ms Khy Thy, tel: 012 838 464 Ms Sok Panha, tel: 012 713 580
Ms Prok Vanny, tel: 012 538201 Ms Sin Kethsereylak, tel: 017 494004