We are writing to correct some errors and misapprehensions
in your story on the case of Gavin Scott, in your last edition.
concerned that the press and the lawyer Robert Carlin are once again
misrepresenting the facts by suggesting that the complaint against Scott was
brought by just one NGO. In fact, the evidence lodged with the police was in the
name of 12 local and international NGOs acting on behalf of the children, under
the umbrella of End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT). ECPAT Cambodia
forms part of an international coalition of child care NGOs seeking to take
action to protect children from sexual exploitation. All the 12 NGOs involved in
supporting the complaint have co-operated in protecting and accommodating the
children, and providing evidence for the court.
ECPAT Cambodia would like
to remind your readers that all evidence lodged with the authorities has always
been the result of in-depth investigations and collation of information which
includes corroboration from witnesses. The decision to investigate and alert the
authorities is fully justified, in this case as in others, by complaints from
child victims from whom we were able to collect testimonies that were serious,
precise and corroborated by the accumulation of other evidence.
surprised at the claim that Gavin Scott had difficulty in getting a lawyer,
since according to the Phnom Penh court, Scott had a Khmer defender from the
first day he was arrested. The ECPAT NGOs fully support the right of Gavin Scott
to legal representation, and have certainly not sought in any way to prevent his
being represented. The reason the Cambodian Defenders Project had a conflict of
interest was that an approach had already been made by a member of ECPAT to see
if CDP could provide a lawyer for the children for the civil case.
emphasize that ECPAT has no political agenda or discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation, but merely seeks to prevent the abuse of minors, both boys
and girls, by adults, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the Cambodian Constitution. We dispute the idea that children involved
in these cases are less to be believed because they are Cambodian and street
children. The law should be applied consistently and allowed to take its course,
regardless of whether the plaintiffs or defendants are Cambodian or foreign,
rich or poor, homosexual or heterosexual.
Children are the future of
Cambodia. Lets protect the children.
- ECPAT Cambodia.
(ECPAT does itself a disservice by blaming
the Post for "errors". The article twice referred to "NGOs" - plural - involved
in invstigating Gavin Scott. In fact, Licardho was one of two NGOs primarily
involved in the investigation. As for ECPAT's misunderstanding that Scott had a
Khmer defender (Sam Sophal), a simple telephone call to Sophal from the Post
established that he was not in fact defending Scott. - Ed.)