Summary of cambodia country issues paper ym 311209-080110 _repaired_

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Violence Against Women (VAW) is prevalent in Cambodia despite being under-reported. The Cambodia Country Issues paper attempts to present the widespread phenomena of VAW and seeks to find the connection between VAW and the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)​​ to end Violence against Women.

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Summary of cambodia country issues paper ym 311209-080110 _repaired_

  1. 1.             Summary of the   Cambodia Country Issue  Paper on    Violence Against Women  and Information and  Communication Technology                By Ms. Chim Manavy  Open Institute, Cambodia  October 2009 
  2. 2. Summary of Cambodia Country Issues paper No. 19, Street 374 (opposed Sangkat Tuol Svay Prey Office), Khan Chamkamorm, Phnom Penh Page 1 of 4 Email: openinstitute@open.org.kh, website: http://www.open.org.kh INTRODUCTION  Violence Against Women (VAW) is prevalent in Cambodia despite being under-reported. This paper attempts to present the widespread phenomena of VAW and seeks to find the connection between VAW and the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Incidences of domestic violence remained high over the past decade, while reported cases of rape have increased. Reliable data on the incidence of sexual exploitation is unavailable, although it appears to be entrenched in Cambodian society.1 Traditional gender relations assign women a lower status than men; with women receiving lower levels of education and were typically not well represented in public decision making process outside the immediate household. VAW happens in almost every woman’s life but is rarely disclosed. All forms of VAW usually take place under the veil of silence and shame due to fear of stigmatisation and a strong sense of obligation to keep family’s reputations intact. Violence Against Women must therefore be viewed in the context of a wider culture of violence and impunity in which violence is an accepted way of resolving conflicts, and perpetrators are rarely punished2 . The government and many non-governmental organisations, whether individually or collectively, have been working to protect women’s human rights, on specific issues such as domestic violence, trafficking, rape, etc. The government National Action Plan to Prevent Violence on Women has been adopted by the Council of Ministers as guidance for further intervention. Very good progress has been achieved in strengthening the legal framework to address violence against women including the Cambodian Constitution3 and eight laws adopted in relation to protecting women’s rights. Cambodia has signed The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)4 , is a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and has ratified more than 10 international instruments providing fundamental protection for female workers. Besides this, Cambodia also committed itself to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In relation to ICT, there was a draft National Policy that is not yet finalised and approved. Despite the Prime Minister’s calls for all ministries and government institutions to mainstream gender into national policies, it is hardly seen in the draft ICT national policy. This country paper draws from many sources and websites, with materials in both hard copies and in electronic formats, including those from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, NGOs, APC, CEDAW, ILO, UN and others. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN  GENDER DISPARITIES  In Cambodian social-structure, men dominate the family and in almost all sectors, women are voiceless and less in value than men. Women’s rights and freedoms are limited in almost all spheres; they are not encouraged to speak out and participate in social development. Social norm, belief, tradition and culture reinforce gender stereotypes resulting in discrimination against women. Traditional gender relations assign women a lower status than men, receive lower levels of education and were typically not well represented in public decision making process outside the immediate household. Women’s participation in decision making is lower than men. It appears as a gender pyramid image. Although Cambodian women have the rights to vote and can run for election since 1955, women consist only 14.8% of the senate, 16% of seats in National Assembly, 8% in the office of the Secretary of State, 14.6% Under Secretary of 1 “ A Fair Share for Women-Cambodia Gender Assessment ” Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia, April 2008 2 “ A Fair Share for Women-Cambodia Gender Assessment ” Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia, April 2008 3 http://www.embassy.org/cambodia/government/constitution.htm 4 http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/states.htm
  3. 3. Summary of Cambodia Country Issues paper No. 19, Street 374 (opposed Sangkat Tuol Svay Prey Office), Khan Chamkamorm, Phnom Penh Page 2 of 4 Email: openinstitute@open.org.kh, website: http://www.open.org.kh State (MOWA 2008) and 7.1% at ministerial level5 . Cambodia ranks 93rd out of 108 countries in the GEM, with a value of 0.409.6 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE  Violence against women is widespread in Cambodia. In recent years, it became crueller in manner and has assumed different forms. It happens in almost every woman’s life but is rarely disclosed. All forms of violence against women usually take place under the veil of silence and shame, due to fear of stigmatization and a strong sense of obligation to keep family’s reputations intact. Cambodian Women are judged base on the traditional code of conduct for women, which is called the Code of Women. This is not a law, it is just a literature paper written by an author for long time ago. The Code of Women Conduct says what women should and should not do. The Code of Women is often passed on at home from grandmother to granddaughter or mother to daughter. A number of the Code of Women's7 teachings considerably oppress the fundamental rights and basic freedoms of women. The Code of Women discourages women from speaking out their problems with their husbands because it may erupt the whole village. For example “women should not bring a fire from home to outside and vice-versa.” (a fire here means problem). Telling negative things about their husbands is regarded as against the tradition or opposite of “good women's behavior”. This instruction has a huge impact, making women who are suffering from domestic violence to be patient and keep silent, no matter how serious the case may be. As a result, domestic violence becomes the silent crime because it is considered a fire in their family and simply considered as a family affair. This creates a big challenge for the implementation of Domestic Violence Law in which the law asks that domestic violence cases should be reported and brought to the court. HUMAN TRAFFICKING  Cambodian men, women and children are trafficked for sexual and labor exploitations in Thailand, Malaysia, Macao and Taiwan. Women who were employed as house keepers were later forced into having sex with their employers. Men are also trafficked for forced labor in fishing, construction and other industries. Cambodia is also a transit point for victims trafficked from Vietnam to Thailand and a destination for women and children who are trafficked from Vietnam and China8 . Internal trafficking is also very serious in Cambodia. Amongst those who were trafficked, women and children remain more vulnerable than men. There are many cases of trafficking of women and children from the rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation. At the same time, there are many cases of young girls being sold by their own families to others, believing that they would be employed as domestic servants but who are later coerced into sexual slavery. Most prostitutes are from the countryside and rural provinces.   SEXUAL HARASSMENT  The research paper on “Violence against women and sexual exploitation “9 by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia describes one-in-ten garment workers had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and four-in-five beer promotion workers. Eighty 5 http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/data_sheets/cty_ds_KHM.html 6 http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/2008/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_KHM.html The gender empowerment measure (GEM) reveals whether women take an active part in economic and political life. It tracks the share of seats in parliament held by women; of female legislators, senior officials and managers; and of female professional and technical workers- and the gender disparity in earned income, reflecting economic independence. Differing from the GDI, the GEM exposes inequality in opportunities in selected areas. 7 http://carpediemilia.over-blog.com/article-21656482.html 8 http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/cambodia 9 Violence against women and sexual exploitation, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs
  4. 4. Summary of Cambodia Country Issues paper No. 19, Street 374 (opposed Sangkat Tuol Svay Prey Office), Khan Chamkamorm, Phnom Penh Page 3 of 4 Email: openinstitute@open.org.kh, website: http://www.open.org.kh percent of beer promotion workers had experienced unwanted sexual touching, and 38 percent had to perform a coerced sexual act in the workplace. RAPE  Rape is among the most serious problem in Cambodia. It appears in almost every issue of the newspaper. Most victims don't dare to speak out, to denounce their abusers because they are afraid of being stigmatized. The lost of a girl's virginity before marriage is viewed to bring shame to her family's honor and status. Together with the culture of impunity, rapists are often at large. The case therefore still happens. The same with domestic violence, rape cases is not properly reported. Also the research paper on “Violence against women and sexual exploitation “10 from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs indicates that incidence of rape is underreported and it is difficult to estimate prevalence rates. However, reports of rape to NGOs and media have increased from year to year. Licadho 11 , a local non-governmental organization working on promoting human rights ( Please see page 25 to know more about Licadho) reported an increase in rape from 66 to 86 between 2005-2006, while the number of rape cases reported in the media increased from 286 to 311. Gang rape appears to be more commonly practiced by specific groups of men including young urban men, university students. But the number of case is not as high as rape by one man. According to the paper mentioned above, gang rape of sex workers, garment workers and women working in vulnerable occupations such as beer promotion and karaoke continues to be reported to NGOs and in the media. The incident of gang rape appears to be increasing both among sex workers and other women. THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND ICT  WOMEN AND ICT  Due to lack of ICT infrastructure, internet is only available at tourist destination cities and provinces at a very high price ($0.5/hour). It is not affordable to people whose income is lower than $2 per day. Moreover, the awareness of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and how it can be strategically used to combat violence against women is very limited. Only few local organizations are working on this while most are not even familiar with the use of ICT. Many Cambodian women are not familiar with the use of ICT while other women worldwide, women’s organizations and networks are already using online resources, websites, and chat rooms whether to share experiences, to mobilize support for specific actions or to develop global action strategies to end VAW. However, with the rapid growth of ICT around the globe, people are also concerned about the use of ICT for other purposes that are against human rights. NEW FORMS OF VIOLCEN AGAINST WOMEN  Some cases in Cambodia, Khmer Sex video on CDs can be bought from the road and in public places for less than $1/CD. Meant originally for personal use only, such recorded sex images and acts are now used to shaming the girls involved in the video in their own communities. Parents taught their 7-year-old daughter to shoot their sex activity by using the mobile phone in utter violation of the girl child’s rights. The recording was also transferred widely from phones to phones. Another case, against the will of a well-known female actress, her naked half body image was widely distributed and transferred through Bluetooth. We can see that the growth of internet tends to push the limits of a society's attitudes towards acceptable media images. This is quite a difficult issue because technology is moving across boundaries faster than the law can address. 10 Violence against women and sexual exploitation, , the Ministry of Women’s Affairs 11 http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/
  5. 5. Summary of Cambodia Country Issues paper No. 19, Street 374 (opposed Sangkat Tuol Svay Prey Office), Khan Chamkamorm, Phnom Penh Page 4 of 4 Email: openinstitute@open.org.kh, website: http://www.open.org.kh ACTION POINTS  From the situation presented above, there is a long way for Cambodia to go to reach a knowledge-based society where ICT is accessible and affordable for every one. In order to reach this stage, there are many recommendations made by decision makers on VAW and ICT related matter: 1. It is recommended that a national research on violence against women in Cambodia be conducted; 2. Government and civil society should work together to conduct a research to identify indicators of Cambodian population awareness on violence against women in response to the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals 2015, stating that increasing the population percentage aware that violence against women is wrongful behaviour and a criminal act to 100 by 2015; 3. Government and civil society should find out strategies in working together within the same contents and framework to end violence against women; 4. There is a need for an analysis of the advancement of ICT and its social integration so that ICT is available for everyone including women. 5. Affordable internet access for all: Lower price of internet connectivity, especially broadband. 6. Create engagement with strategic technologies: how to strengthen their networking for social justice, and compare them with the old on their effectiveness. a. ICT training that generates interest in gender and ICTs and that reach out to the women’s movement. b. Create women’s networking c. Gender mainstreaming 7. Make ICTs work for a sustainable environment. 8. Strengthen the spirit to work together to ensure that policy makers, the ICT industry and civil society understand the importance of growing the information and knowledge, including adopting open licenses and free and open source software. a. To promote a national ICT policy that is gender sensitive and response to the Internet Rights (IR). 9. Using the internet to improve governance, including governance of the internet: internet is used by civil society, communities and individuals as a powerful and effective tool for more transparent and participatory governance and for holding government accountable. We need maintain, seek and improve new models of governance of the internet. 10. Mobilize resources: organizations must have access to the resources they need to effectively implement the network’s vision and mission. 11. Network development and governance: a. strengthen in-house gender analysis and planning skills b. support each other’s campaigns and share skills and lessons learn c. collaboration on common priorities d. capacity development across the network e. Mainstreaming gender in every activities and process. 12. Inclusion of information on communication rights in existing/ongoing global policy monitoring process (ex: CEDAW). ==========

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