No Clubs Near Schools, Council of Ministers Says

The Council of Ministers on Friday passed a sub-decree on the management of adult entertainment clubs and a draft of a new national housing policy to promote home ownership, a cabinet official said.

The new Sub-Decree on Management of Adult Entertainment Places, consisting of 25 articles, prohibits the establishment of discos or nightclubs within 200 meters of an embassy, school, pagoda or government institution, according to Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan.

If existing nightclubs are found to be too close to these locations, sub-national committees will be in charge of inspecting the clubs’ foundations and seeing if they can be knocked down.

“If existing big establishments built with strong foundations and are found to have no possibility for removal, the committee will find a way to make sure there is no leaking noise emanating from those entertainment places,” Mr. Siphan said.

The law also prohibits juveniles under the age of 18 from entering nightclubs, discos, karaoke parlors or beer gardens without parental supervision, and mandates that these establishments set up “posts to monitor and verify the identification cards of all young clients,” Mr. Siphan added.

According to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers, Cambodia currently has 659 adult entertainment establishments that employ a total of 11,331 people, but only 480 of these establishments are properly licensed.

“There is a small number of adult entertainment places among all establishments that have caused some troubles that affect society, such as causing too much noise for neighbors, being a place for gangsters and truants, sexual exploitation and drug use,” the statement said.

The Tourism Ministry will be in charge of inspecting nightclubs to make sure they comply with the new regulations, because these problems tend to be caused by “foreign and local tourists,” according to the statement.

The Council of Ministers also passed a draft of the new National Policy on Housing, developed by the Land Management Ministry in conjunction with a number of housing rights groups, that would help middle- and low-income Cambodians own their own homes.

The policy aims to ensure that “all shall have proper housing for living a decent life,” Mr. Siphan said. He said the plan would establish a joint committee to work with NGOs and the private sector to encourage home ownership.

“This means the government will give guidelines for them on how to access financial means [to get] decent new houses, or do renovation projects for proper housing,” he added.

Beng Hong Socheat Khemro, spokesman for the Land Management Ministry, said the policy would not provide homes directly, but would “find ways to help the people find homes.”

Asked if the policy would address widespread land and housing evictions that have become a major human rights issue over the past decade, he said: “It’s necessary to relocate the people in some places that belong to the state or to other people, but this policy would help them when they are asked to move out.”

(Additional reporting by Hul Reaksmey)

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