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Kidney sale fears inspire new organ donation statute

A man in Phnom Penh shows a scar on his side where a kidney was taken out.
A man in Phnom Penh shows a scar on his side where a kidney was taken out. Heng Chivoan

Kidney sale fears inspire new organ donation statute

A law to regulate organ donations has reached draft stage, according to a press release issued by the Council of Ministers on Friday.

It is already against the law to “traffic people with the purpose of organ removal”, and the first convictions in the Kingdom under the existing law were handed down in March, but the new legislation will outlaw all for-profit donations.

However, the new law, which Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said followed the government coming “across a number of cases happening in Cambodia as well as other countries”, will further outlaw the trade in human tissue.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Siphan said the law was a response to a global rise in demand for kidneys. “Scientific research found that low and average income countries face a high risk of kidney trafficking,” he wrote. “Poverty drives some people to sell their kidneys through brokers.”

According to draft articles posted by Siphan, the law will require all organ donors to be over 18 and of sound mind. It will also expressly forbid donations to be made for profit or solicited by advertisement.

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