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Regulation of foreign marriages misunderstood

Regulation of foreign marriages misunderstood

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Ministry of Interior, I wish to refer to the article in The Phnom Penh Post dated January 6, 2009, titled "Subdecree creates new body to regulate foreign marriages: govt" I would like to offer some comment and to correct an inaccuracy contained therein.

In general, the ministry wishes to stress that it has laws and regulations that have continued to be applicable even during the period of suspension by a ministry letter of marriages between Cambodians and foreign nationals from March 29, 2008 to November 3, 2008.

During the suspension the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have worked closely together to sort out some of the challenges and irregularities in the regulations enabling the relevant legislation.

This has resulted in subdecree No 183 dated November  3, 2008. Although this subdecree has been approved by the government, there is still a requirement for the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to devise some common guidelines to implement the subdecree, and the Ministry of Interior wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this.

No commercial agencies

In particular, ministry officials needed to examine the operation of Article 3 of the subdecree which states that "any marriages arranged through a marriage agency, a broker or a commercial enterprise is prohibited".

In line with this Article, the statement in The Phnom Penh Post on January 6, 2009 that a new organisation, the Association for People Protection (APP), has been set up by Government subdecree is not correct. Nor is it correct that foreigners hoping to wed Cambodians must become members of the APP, as was stated by a notice from the organisation.

The APP, according to its status, cannot be a commercial company.

Letters of permission to any such organisations will not be issued by the Ministry if it is suspected that the aims of the organisation are political or to generate profit.

I hope that this has clarified some of the issues raised in your article.

Tep Phearun

Ministry of Interior

Send letters to: [email protected] or P.O.鈥圔ox 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

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