Rape Reports Increased in 2003, NGO Says

Reports of rape in Cambodian newspapers increased in 2003, according to a study by human rights NGO Licadho that was released in advance of today’s International Women’s Day.

Some 266 cases were reported last year, up from 221 cases in 2002. Complaints of rape to Licadho remained about the same in 2003—177 last year, compared with 179 in 2002.

Representatives from Licadho, and about 30 other NGOs, which are members of the Cambodian Committee of Women, participated in a ceremony at Phnom Odong in Kompong Speu pro­vince on Sunday.

About 800 people attended the event—the largest-ever turnout for Women’s Day festivities organized by the NGOs, Licadho foun­der Kek Galabru said Sun­day.

Victims and perpetrators of violent rapes are getting younger and younger, increasingly taxing the health care and judicial systems, said Minh Navy, NGO Gen­der and Development advocacy program supervisor.

Human rights NGO Adhoc reported 356 complaints about rape in an updated, recently released report on 2003. The number increased from 2002—when 297 cases were reported. In 70 percent of the cases reported, victims were under 18 years old, according to a human rights Adhoc report.

The age of the victim—the youngest was 14 months old in April in Pursat pro­vince—could cause people to report cases more readily, Adhoc legal adviser Katarina Hamma­berg said last week.

Licadho Director Naly Pilorge cautioned against interpreting the statistics as an increase in rape nationwide. A more comprehensive survey would be needed to indicate the rise or fall of rape in the country, she said.

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