Phnom Penh bans women's march

Phnom Penh bans women's march

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian authorities on Friday blocked hundreds of people who attempted to march through the capital demanding measures to prevent and end violence against women — on International Women’s Day.

Von Samphous, president of the Cambodia Domestic Workers Network, told Kyodo News that 400 people, mostly women, initially gathered at the National Olympic Stadium in central Phnom Penh.

They had planned to march to the Office of the Council for Ministers to deliver a petition for women’s rights but were blocked by police from leaving the stadium.

City authorities had earlier refused permission for the march, fearing it would disrupt public order.

However, she said the protesters eventually managed to read aloud the seven-point petition to a representative of city hall, adding that despite some commotion no one was injured.

Chak Sopheap, director of Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the banning by authorities showed that the government guarantees rights for women in policy but not in practice.

“It shows that women’s rights in Cambodia are not guaranteed and not protected,” she said.

The seven points include the provision of safe shelters for victims of domestic violence, striving to end sexual harassment and sexual violence against women at the workplace, and taking action to stop violence against female human rights defenders.

Also covered are reforms of the transport system to better protect workers, better working conditions for domestic helpers and strengthening mechanisms to protect the rights of domestic workers.

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