International Women’s Day 2010 – a Lot to Think About – Monday, 8.3.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655
In former years, The Mirror carried references and reflections about the International Women’s Day – its early history as a day of public celebration in 1911, but also its prehistory in 1834; which surprisingly enough relates to a strike of women working in the textile industry in Lowell – the city of Lowell in Massachusetts in the USA, which is now a center of Cambodian immigrants in the USA, while female textile workers play an important role for the national economy of Cambodia; but also considerations in 2008 and 2009 about the important role of this day in Cambodia at present.
For this year, we just collected from the last three weeks pieces of text which have already been published in The Mirror, related to the life of women – a lot to think about.
Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future
The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.
It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.
An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]
The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.
The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’
106 Garment and Shoes Factories Closed [making more than 45,000 female workers unemployed in 2009 due to the global economic crisis]
The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women
The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’
Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly.
She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.
A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens – the majority of them women]
The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger
Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.
Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.
Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.
After a Woman Was Gang-Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases
Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.
A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.
He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’
According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.
‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs. I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’
A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter [working as a domestic servant] Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]
A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]
The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs
A Man Raped and Killed Two Nieces [they are four and twelve years old – Kampot]
According to an announcement by the US Embassy on 23 February 2010, the United States of America officially started a program with a contribution of US$13.4 million to improve the heath and the quality of life of Cambodian citizens, reducing the impact from HIV and AIDS, especially among vulnerable groups.
The HIV/AIDS program will also strengthen the national health system, fight maternal mortality, and address also other present priority health issues
A Man Raped His Daughter for Three Years – When She Could No Bear It Any More, She Informed the Police to Arrest Him [Svay Rieng]
A French Electricity Engineer Was Convicted to Serve Seven Years in Prison and Then to Be Deported from Cambodia [for buying child prostitution – Phnom Penh]
There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlor
At present, there are nearly 500 entertainment places in Phnom Penh, such as beer gardens, karaoke parlors, night clubs, discotheques, restaurants or other places where alcohol and some meals are served, accompanied with music, and female beer seller [called “Beer Girls”].
According to reports from the Phnom Penh Municipality, distributed during a recent convention to sum up the work in 2009 and to set the direction for 2010, big entertainment places include 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques. Based on unofficial estimations by expert officials, there are around 300 other places such as clubs, restaurants, small restaurants, or places where soup is served like in beer gardens, where there are women to entertain the male guests.
It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms.
It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]
Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]
The Prime Minister Ordered to Check Shops Selling Cosmetic Products and Performing Cosmetic Surgery, and Using Chemicals for Cosmetic Purposes
The head of the Royal Government ordered leaders of the Ministry of Health on 2 March 2010 to cooperate with other related ministries and institutions to check all shops selling cosmetic products and performing cosmetic surgery, and using products containing chemicals that affect the health of clients, especially the health of women.
During the closing ceremony of the 31st convention of the Ministry of Health at the Intercontinental Hotel, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘The Ministry of Health must focus and closely cooperate with related ministries and other institutions to carefully check institutions that produce and sell cosmetic products and perform cosmetic surgery.’
A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
The Prime Minister Warned that Police and Military Chiefs Had Better Leave Their Positions if They Do Not Dare to Crack Down on Brothels and Gambling Sites, Being Afraid of Interventions [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]
The International Women’s Day is a National Holiday in Cambodia. It provides an occasion for public awareness raising. As this recollection of random texts from three weeks of The Mirror shows, there is ample reason that such awareness has to continue throughout the year.
Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.