The Cambodian Committee of Women expressed disappointment Sunday that politicians embarking on national election campaigns next week could be too busy to pass the domestic violence draft law, which is awaiting debate in the National Assembly.
Cambow, a coalition of 32 organizations, said it doubted that Assembly members would prioritize the domestic violence law over their election campaigns.
“We are hopeless that the domestic violence law will be passed in this term of government,” said Kek Galabru, founder of the local human rights group Licadho.
Ly Sunlina, Licadho’s women’s rights coordinator, said Cambow’s efforts to find a new strategy to compel parliamentarians to pass the law were fruitless. “The meeting has resulted in our hopelessness…because parliamentarians are paying attention to the upcoming national election campaign rather than” the bill, she said.
But Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said Sunday that she was confident that the law would be passed this term, because parliamentarians have a few days to debate the draft law before campaigning begins Thursday.
“I only need one day to ask the parliamentarians to pass the law,” Mu Sochua said. “I remain hopeful, unless the head of the National Assembly (Prince Norodom Ranariddh) claims it will not be passed.”
The draft law has drawn criticism from various lawmakers and women’s groups. Some parties have voiced concern that its wording blames women for their abuse, while others have complained that the law is contrary to traditional Khmer customs.