Police have no suspects in the homicide of a 15-year-old ethnic Tumpoun girl from Ratanakkiri province last week – the third violent death of a teenage indigenous girl in the province in four months.
Laminh Commune Chief Mein Ren said the body of the grade six student, Khveh Kha, was found in a cashew farm in Bakeo district.
“Based on the examination of her body last week, the victim was not raped,” Ren said. “In this case, the suspect took the victim’s bracelet and her motorcycle was left there.”
In October, an 18-year-old Tumpoun high school student was found raped and murdered in Lumphat district. And earlier this month, an 18-year-old ethnic Kroeung student was also found murdered and sexually assaulted in Banlung town. The killings have shocked the indigenous community in Ratanakkiri province. Yun Larong, coordinator at the Cambodia Indigenous People Association (CIPA), called on the authorities to provide more protections for ethnic minority women.
“Parents are now concerned that their daughters have no security and are thinking to just let them stay home and not go to school, and want to ask their kids to drop school since they have not found any other options or better care for the indigenous people from the government yet,” Larong said.
Theresa de Langis, a Cambodia-based gender researcher, said communities should resist reacting in a way that restricts women's movement, but said small communities can pull together to do a neighbourhood watch or raise awareness about the rights of women.
“Even though it’s good intentions, it can also backfire. It can also restrict women’s ability to be out and about and do what they need to do and make contributions to the community. The advice can’t be ‘stay indoors’. It needs to be, as a community, that this won't be tolerated and we will support women’s rights to work and be out and about.”
Updates to follow.