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Workshop held in Phnom Penh to discuss discrimination against women

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National and international organisations convened a workshop on Tuesday to discuss the discrimination of women. HEAN RANGSEY

Workshop held in Phnom Penh to discuss discrimination against women

Ten national and international organisations jointly convened a workshop on Tuesday in Phnom Penh to discuss the discrimination of women.

They also voted on some of the 57 recommendations tabled at the 74th Session of the UN’s Committee on the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) in Geneva, Switzerland in October.

Chim Channeang, the coordinator of the Cambodia NGO committee, told The Post that the attendees voted on the recommendations so that the government would begin implementing them over the next four years.

She warned after the workshop that if the government failed to prioritise certain recommendations, then future Cedaw sessions would only yield the very same concerns.

Cambodia had implemented some of the recommendations since the Kingdom ratified it in 2006, she said.

The UN had recognised the government’s efforts to implement only seven recommendations, while several international organisations had expressed concern over the remaining 50.

They include Cedaw; the Cambodian Organisation for Health and Community Education; Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia; Klahaan; Banteay Srei; Planete Enfants & Developpement Cambodia; Christian Home Educators of Colorado; Gender and Development for Cambodia; Adhoc; Licadho; and Solidarity Centre.

“The Cedaw committee raised some [concerns] and offered recommendations during previous assessments from 2006-2013 and in 2019 [but] civil society organisations observed that the government had not implemented all of them.

“Over the next four years the government will experience difficulty in implementing them, therefore, we think the government should prioritise the main concerns first,” Channeang said.

She said the organisations voted in favour of supporting the government to implement four recommendations – the inclusion of women in the legislative framework, representation of women’s issues in the national budget, national mechanisms to promote the advancement of women and female education.

Among recommendations that were also put to vote on Tuesday were the access to justice and compensation; independent national human rights institutions; special and temporary measures for gender equality, and discriminative gender mindset.

Others were women-based violence; human trafficking; sexual exploitation; political engagement in the public sector; employment; health; rural women, climate change and disaster reduction; detained women; surrogate women; and marriage and family relations.

Klahaan executive director Bunn Rachana told The Post that some national plans designed to promote gender equality were still not implemented because the Kingdom had not allocated the budget for it.

“Organisations have advocated for this [the national plans] for many years and asked the government to prepare a package in the national budget to address gender issues. Without funding from development partners, the plans will not be complete,” she said.

Gender and Development for Cambodia programme manager Eng Chandy told The Post that she remained concerned regarding the lack of women’s engagement in the political system since 1993, noting that only 43 of the 24,435 people serving in the diplomatic corps are women.

Chandy said women only accounted for some 21 per cent of the National Assembly and 19 per cent of the Senate. Meanwhile, the Kingdom only has one woman serving as deputy prime minister and one woman as provincial governor. Only 43 of the 24,435 people serving in the diplomatic corps are women.

“We see that women judges account for 14 per cent and this number has remained stable since 2013. Women account for just 13 per cent of the total number of prosecutors. While the number has increased by three per cent since 2013, it is still low,” she said.

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