Deadlock Could Stall Domestic Violence Law

A delay in the formation of a new government could prolong the National Assembly’s adoption of domestic violence legislation, of­ficials from the Cambodian Committee of Women said on Wed­nesday.

The status of a draft domestic violence law, which was not im­ple­mented in the first and second terms of government, is now un­clear as politicians are busy trying to work through a potential political deadlock, they said.

“We had wished the domestic violence law could have been passed in the second term of government,” said Kek Galabru, founder of the Licadho human rights group and Cambow mem­­ber. “But, unluckily, it was de­layed and will take more time un­­less we have a new government.”

The law had been held up in the Assembly as parliamentarians research and debate the details of the draft. Several lawmakers and wom­en’s groups have criticized the law, saying the wording of the draft blames women for their abuse, while others have complained that the law is contrary to traditional Khmer customs.

But, Ly Sunlina, Licadho’s wom­en’s rights coordinator, said the domestic violence law is an im­portant step forward for wom­en’s rights.

“We plan to lobby new parliamentarians to understand the im­portance of the domestic violence law because it gives benefits to both men and women,” Ly Sun­lina said. She said that it would empower local authorities to intervene in domestic situations, and it would educate men and women against violence.

Ly Sunlina said Cambow is en­­couraging government officials to appoint a female minister as head of the Ministry of Women’s and Veterans’ Affairs. She said a fe­male minister would boost the chances of the law’s approval be­cause women better understand the is­­sues surrounding domestic violence.


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