Laws Needed to Protect Rights Of LGBT People, Report Says

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people continue to face discrimination in Cambodia and more needs to be done to legislate for members of the community to ensure they have the same rights as other citizens, according to a new report.

Released on Thursday by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNDP and USAID, the Cambodia country report on “Being LGBT in Asia” found that while Cambodia is not punitive toward LGBT citizens, it is also not “positively affirming” toward them.

Transgender activist Sou Sotheavy arrives at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)
Transgender activist Sou Sotheavy arrives at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)

“While LGBT behavior is not criminalized in Cambodia, as it is elsewhere, Cambodian laws and policies are also silent about LGBT persons and rights,” an accompanying statement said.

“There is no anti-discrimination legislation or sanctions for those who violate the rights of LGBT persons, or reference to inheritance, tax or family rights facing LGBT persons.”

Others interviewed for the report also said they faced rejection or being forced into receiving treatment to “cure” their sexuality.

Leading transgender activist Sou Sotheavy said on Friday that she felt a greater degree of acceptance in society, “but we are still advocating to get approval from the government for LGBT rights to marry and a law for the protection of LGBT people.”

“We want to see those who abuse the rights of LGBT people to be punished in compliance with existing laws,” Ms. Sotheavy said.

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