Coalition: Domestic Violence Law Neglected

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.

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