Cambodia: Rape victims denied access to justice new report

New report exposes endemic corruption as cases increases

Survivors of rape in Cambodia face limited access to justice, medical services and counselling despite the number of rapes increasing in the country, Amnesty International revealed in a new report today (8 March).

Breaking the silence: Sexual violence in Cambodia , issued to mark International Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Day, exposes how corruption and discrimination within the police and courts in Cambodia are preventing survivors of rape from receiving justice and assistance, while most perpetrators are going unpunished.

Amnesty researchers found sex workers and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights living in poverty faced serious obstacles in seeking justice and accessing medical services. They were unable to pay bribes which were often demanded from the police and others, and could not afford legal or medical services.

The report includes 30 interviews with Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls aged between 10 and 40. The family of Mony, a 19-year-old woman with a learning disability, explained how police officers ignored their complaint when she was raped in late 2009.

Mony’s father said:

“The police only work if you have money, if you can pay. With around 100,000 riels [£15] perhaps we could have secured an arrest, but we don’t have that.”

He added that Mony lived in constant fear of the perpetrator, who remained at large. The family also struggled to afford the medicine she needed, and described transportation costs to court and police as very difficult.

Cambodian society, like many around the world, exhibits deeply ingrained gender discrimination that stigmatises survivors of sexual assaults, while perpetrators, who mostly remain at large, face limited sanction, if any.

Donna Guest, Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, said:

“Dozens of survivors told us that they face extortion, ignorance and disbelief from officials whose job it should be to assist them and protect their rights.

“For too many survivors of rape, the pursuit of justice and medical support adds further distress to the initial abuse.

“With the lack of social support towards victims, it is crucial that the government breaks the silence and publicly condemns sexual violence, to show that it will not tolerate such serious crimes and to acknowledge the pain of the survivors.

“Cambodia has made important inroads into tackling gender-discrimination, with a focus on domestic violence and human trafficking. It is time the government incorporated sexual violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights into these categories to address its failure to meet the human rights obligations under the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.”

With a new Penal Code set to come into force later this year, Amnesty is calling on the Cambodian government to firmly address inadequate law-enforcement, extra-judicial settlements, weak prosecution and widespread corruption in cases of suspected sexual violence. Amnesty also urged the government to train and equip the police, deploy female police officers, and allocate necessary budgets so that they can investigate allegations of crimes promptly, professionally and sensitively.

Data provided by police and NGOs indicates that incidents of rape are increasing in Cambodia, but the extent of the increase is hidden by a lack of monitoring and limited reporting and coordination of statistics.

The Cambodian authorities should compile such information and use it to inform policy and plans of action.

  • Download Breaking the Silence: Sexual violence in Cambodia (pdf)
  • Find out more about violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights /li>

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