Some 150 people, including representatives of the government and relevant ministries, the LGBTIQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer), local authorities, ambassadors, parents and guardians held a meeting on Thursday under the theme Dialogue on Legal and Public Policies to Protect LGBTIQ People in Cambodia.
Keo Remy, head of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said at the meeting that the government had called for an end to discrimination against the LGBTIQ community and supported all forms of freedom of expression.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen has sent a message through me to inform the members of the LGBTIQ community at this meeting that the government stands against all discrimination against LGBTIQ people."
“This is the positive message that I will take to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, while we have included it in the Universal Periodic Review [UPR] meeting. We clearly state that the Cambodian government stands against discrimination."
“It is very important for LGBTIQ people to come together and create a platform with which to express themselves for the general public to understand. The government supports this,” Remy said.
Remy said Cambodian tradition could make it difficult for parents to accept their children’s choice of partner, particularly if they were of the same sex.
“Cambodian culture can make it hard, not only for the LGBTIQ community but for people to choose who they marry. Marriage is often arranged by parents. This issue has improved, and parents now often go along with their children’s decision,” he said.
Ly Pisey, a coordinator at Rainbow Community Kampuchea, said the LGBTIQ community was pleased that the government had acknowledged their proposals for the legal right to get married, adopt children, gender identify and live without discrimination.
The government has discussed the proposals with ministries and would bring them up at the UPR meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from July 4 to 5.
Pisey said some 2,000 LGBTIQ people are currently part of Rainbow Community Kampuchea. However, she was still concerned about the discrimination still faced by LGBTIQ people.
“We still need the support of the police and legal frameworks because there are many problems facing LGBTIQ people, such as discrimination and domestic violence, with some even committing suicide,” she said.