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Seven nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize are Khmer women

Seven nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize are Khmer women

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One thousand women from over 150 countries were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

this year in an attempt to call international attention to the important role women

play in challenging harmful social and cultural barriers and creating peace in their

communities and the world.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mu Sochua.

The names of all 1,000 women were released at a press conference held in Bangkok

on Wednesday, June 29.

Eight of those nominated live in Cambodia. They range in age from 33 to 63, from

prominent activists to humble village women.

They work on a variety of issues, including domestic violence, peace education, demining

and micro-financing.

All share a deep commitment to bettering life for women here, in a country still

recovering from the deep scars of over 30 years of civil war. And all have unique

ways of working towards their goals.

-Oung Chanthol founded the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center, which has served over

55,000 survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking since

1997.

-Prak Sokhany has devoted her life to peace building by training NGO workers, government

officials and entire communities in conflict resolution.

-Dr. Pung Chhiv Kek Galabru founded the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense

of Human Rights (LICADHO).

-Mu Sochua is the deputy head of the steering committee for the Sam Rainsy Party

and wrote the Prevention of Domestic Violence law, now before the Parliament.

-Chea Vannath was forced to work in labor camps under the Khmer Rouge and now organizes

public debates on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

-Boua Chanthol helped set up a small savings programs.

-Oddom Van Syvorn is a quiet, rural woman who has shown extraordinary courage and

dedication working with women in her small village.

In addition to the seven Khmer women nominated, Emma Leslie, and Australian national

who lives and works in Cambodia, also was nominated. Leslie developed peace education

for Cambodian high schools.

The 1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 project began in 2003 and relied on

many coordinators and volunteers from 20 different regions of the world to identify

and document the 1,000 nominees.

At least one Cambodian nominee is overwhelmed with gratitude.

"This is more than an honor. It's more than I could have ever dreamed of,"

said Mu Sochua, one of the nominees and a former Minster of Women's and Veteran's

Affairs. "We have heroines in ever corner of the world, in every village in

our country, who are so rarely recognized ... the prize is really for them."

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