November 29, 2023
PHNOM PENH – The Ministry of Women’s Affairs launched a 16-day campaign to end violence against women, under the theme “UNITE! Invest to preventviolence against women and girls”. The campaign aligns with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed annually from November 25 to December 10.
Women’s affairs minister Ing Kantha Phavi stated that the country is committed to reducing gender-based violence to as low as possible by 2030, during an event at Kambol High School in Phnom Penh’s Kambol district on November 25.
She said the commitment aligns with pledges made by the government and over 180 countries during the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2019.
“Our commitment to reduce gender-based violence to the lowest level possible by 2030 is part of our commitment to achieve three zeros: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices,” she explained.
She emphasised that both the ministry and the governmentare highly attentive to responding to gender-based violence at all levels. They have implemented legal policies, action plans, relevant standards and programmes to enhance service providers’ ability to meet the needs of victims.
Am Sam Ath, operations director of rights group LICADHO, believes that the government’s commitment to minimising gender-based violence can be realised through political will and amendments to the 2005 Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims.
“Article 26 of the law states that violence affecting [victims’] mental or economic state, as well as light crimes, can be reconciled and compromised with the consent of both sides. We, the civil society organization, disagree with the article and have requested the government consider amending it. Additionally, more policies should be implemented to end gender-based violence,” he said.
The 16-day campaign was originally initiated by a group of men in Canada in 1991.
The latest demographic and health survey in 2022 revealed that domestic violence in the Kingdom decreased from 29% in 2014 to 21% in 2022. One out of five women aged 15-49 reported experiencing violence–physical, sexual and mental–by partners. Violence committed by immediate partners had reduced from 19.6% in 2014 to 13% in 2022.