Tag Archives: sex trafficking

Appeal to Stop State Act of Violence against Women

(Translated from Khmer)

“Violence against women constitutes a violation of basic human rights and is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and  peace”, Fourth World

Conference on Women- Platform for Action

As elected representatives of the people, we recognize the vital participation and
contribution made by women in all sectors, in particular the garment industry, agriculture and micro-business.

As elected representatives of the people, we are gravely alarmed by and condemn the excessive use of force by the military police, local police and hired security guards to crack down on female factory workers who demand better working conditions and fair wages.1

As elected representatives of the people, we have intervened on behalf of women farmers and hundreds and thousands of families who are brutally forced out of their land and their homes.2 These evictions are often carried out violently by police, military police or private armed forces, despite prohibitions under the Land Law.3

These systematic acts of violence against women are widespread and committed by the state against its own people. Serious injuries including miscarriages have occurred without proper compensation, medical treatment, investigation or prosecution.4

As elected representatives of the people, we have the right and the duty to remind the Government of Cambodia of its obligations stipulated in the Constitution, the national laws and the UN instruments which Cambodia is signatory to.

Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Declaration on the UN Elimination of Violence against Women defines physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs, as an act of violence against women.

We urgently appeal to all citizens, members of the civil society, trade unions and the international community to join us in calling on the Government of Cambodia to take the immediate following measures:

  1. Stop the excessive deployment of security forces, the use of electric batons and deadly weapons on demonstrators, most specifically where women and children have gathered;
  2. Stop the use of armed forces and hired security guards in forced evictions;
  3. Strictly implement the Penal code in cases of abuse and violation committed by the armed forces, military police, police and security guards against demonstrators and/or during evictions and land grabs;
  4. Drop all charges against women who have been wrongly accused in cases of land grabs, forced evictions and workers’ strikes;
  5. Release all women detained on false accusations related to land disputes.

Fair wages, safe working conditions, decent housing and land tenure are women’s rights. Women should not be exposed to violence, shame or mistreatment by the Government in their enjoyment of these rights.

Preventing violence against women is essential to provide women and their families the fundamental guarantees of a life free from fear and abuse.
Signed by Members of Parliament
Sam Rainsy Party

Notes:

  1. Land and Housing Rights in Cambodia
    Parallel Report 2009; Land and Housing Working Group, Cambodia
    April 2009
  2.  Bitter sweet- A Briefing Paper on Indistrial Sugar Production, Trade and Human Rights in Cambodia- David Pred, September, 2010
  3. Losing Ground-Forced Evictions in Cambodia. The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee. (CHRAC) September 2009.
  4. Justice for the Poor? An Exploratory Study of Collective Grievances over Land and Local Governance in Cambodia. Center for Advanced Study-world Bank, Phnom Penh-October 2006

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Police brutality against womenThe brutality of armed police, hired security guards to crackdown on women, children and the elderly whose only crime is to defend their homes, must be strongly condemned. The 10,000 residents in this lake community are victims of the government policy that steal land from the poor to give as economic concessions to a senator from the ruling party, can not be tolerated.

Violations and brutality against women and children must be reported and  I intend to assist the victims to file complaints. The aid community and the UN must no longer deal in silence with such violations and crimes against the most disadvantaged members of our society.
Please join me in sending police brutality against women in cambodialetters to your Congress, Parliament and government. We must act together till there is protection and safety for our women, children and the elderly.

Sochua

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Seven MPs Take the Stage

Amanda Figueroa | Madrid | posted to http://www.elmundo.es

Original version in Spanish here.

Mu Sochua (Cambodia), Mukhtar Mai (Pakistan), Farida Azizi (Afghanistan), Inez McCormack (Northern Ireland), Hafsat Abiola(Nigeria), Anabella de Leon (Guatemala), Marina Pisklakova Parker(Russia). These seven women are examples of female fighters. Each from its place, have faced huge challenges in realizing that sometimes the individual is able to change the course of history.

To remember their efforts and encourage others, seven MPs will take the stage and perform ‘Seven’, a play that brings the viewer to the battlefield.

“It is a very exciting and moving. These are the stories and experiences of these women,” says MP Cecilia Wikström (Alde). The Swedish politician has been the promoter of the project in the European Parliament. The play is in charge of giving body and voice to Cambodian Sochua, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight against human trafficking and sexual abuse.

“These stories communicate values that cross political groups. This is demonstrated by the willingness of my colleagues from different political groups to participate,” adds Wikström.

The Romanian Renate Weber (Alde) notes that the stories told in the book are of women who “had the courage to defy their own destiny, their societies and the long tradition of abuse. In this way, they have positively influenced the lives of thousands and thousands of other women. ” She plays the Russian Pisklakova Parker, who founded the first hotline for victims of domestic violence.

The other actresses are politicians: Tanja Fajon (Eslovenia. S & D),Marielle Gallo (France. EPP), Eva Lichtenberger (Greens Austria.)Sargentini Judith (Netherlands. Verdes), Eleni Theocharous (Chipre. PPE)

The artistic director of ‘Seven’ is Hedda Krausz Sjögren, of the Swedish National Theater Company ( Riksteatern ). “‘Seven’ is a theater project that involves many people. Now that the politicians of the European Parliament are on stage to give voice to these activists for women’s rights, human rights issues are placed in the spotlight “she explains.

The work shall be shown on the 8 and 9 December in Brussels. The text was written by Ruth Margraff, Anna Deveare-Smith, Susan Yankowitz, Carol K.Mack, Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux and Gail Kriegel, based on interviews with activists. Two of them, Sochua and Hafsat Abiola, will participate in a debate after the event.

World in 2011: A Day of Discussion in New York

December 05, 2010. Elizabeth Tam. NY Business Events Examiner

Full examiner.com article here.

December 4, 2010 marked the third day of the Economist’s World in 2011 Festival in New York.  The day included a series of speakers and panels on various issues that may shape the future of 2011.

Panel on Women’s Economic Opportunity

Alyse Nelson (President and CEO of Vital Vibes) very eloquently introduced the first panel of speakers, including Leo Abruzzese (Editorial Director North America; Director Americas, Country, and Economic Research of The Economist Intelligence Unit)Zainab Salbi (Founder and CEO of Women for women International)Mu Sochua (Member of the Cambodia Parliament) and Kah Walla (Director of Strategies S.A. and Presidential candidate of Cameroon), who discussed the issue of Women’s Economic Opportunity.  Nelson explained how women and girls are underutilized and how the world needs to utilize all of their resources and potential, both men and women.

Leo Abruzzese started the panel presenting a study conducted on the economic opportunity of women, highlighting countries’ ranking on how they compared on this topic.  Out of 113 countries, Sweden, Belgium and Norway ranked at the top of the list, Chad, Yemen and Sudan at the bottom, and the United States ranked #15.  The United States was ranked #15 due to the fact that the United States does not sign international treaties to protect women’s rights and does not have mandatory maternity leave.  The report concluded the driving factors of economic opportunity to be based on four items: 1-Labor Laws and Practice, 2-Access to Finance, 3-Education and Training, 4-Legal and Social Status.  Three important issues that need to be addressed are the issues of: 1-Maternity Leave, in which the US is one of 2 countries that do not have paid mandatory maternity leave and benefits, and will be the only country next month; 2 – Equal pay for equal word, there is good legislation, however this is not being enforce; 3 – Violence Against Women, women exposed to violence earn 50% less than those who are not.

Mu Sochua spoke on the importance of not just making predictions, but how to make it work and the necessity to break issues down to the micro level, using the “she economy,” i.e.She is in…, her, economy.  Women need to justice and people need to make a commitment.  Zainab Salbi made a few predictions for the future, revolving around the notion women are the solution; women make up 80% of the work force, 60% of the food in the world, but only own 2% of the land.  She believes that the two main actions that need to be made to achieve this are to: 1-private sector engagement, and 2-to start portraying women as good borrowers, this will not be an easy or cheap process.  Kah Wallah discussed three important issues that need to be addressed in 2011: 1-countries need to make a commitment as most of the growth is in developing countries, not the developed countries; 2-corporate level partners, companies have the opportunity to make a conscious effort as there needs to be more women in high level positions, and 3-this notion needs to be taken to global discourse and needs be discussed with the G-20.  The opportunities are there, countries just need to commit.

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Mu Sochua, Comes to Staples

Article written by Kate McNee for Inklings High School Newspaper, on Sochua’s recent visit to Staples High School, CT.  Full article here.

A feeling of awe circled the room as Mu Sochua, an accomplished human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and Cambodian Parliament member stepped in front of the class.

As she began her presentation, she did not list her accomplishments, nor did she instruct the students on how to help her cause. Instead, she laughed heartily and in her native language said, “You guys are probably going to say what?” Soon the whole group was laughing.

On Nov. 18, during periods 7 and 8, Sochua spoke about the issue of sex-exploitation, and promoted the documentary “Redlight.” The presentation was sponsored by the group Teen Vital Voices, a club founded by Alexis Teixeira ’13. The club, which is an extension of the nonprofit organization Vital Voices, focuses on female empowerment.

Sochua led an interactive presentation, where she spoke in an intimate classroom setting. She challenged students to imagine their lives as Cambodian citizens, particularly as women who often don’t receive any education, make less than two dollars a day, or are forced into sex-exploitation at as young as 8-years-old.

Though she is native of Cambodia, and explained many of the specific issues that have plagued the country, such as the Camboidan killing fields, she also stressed that the issue of sex-trafficking is not just within her own country.

“It’s a global issue, that’s why I’m here,” Sochua said.

Her main point in presenting was to promote awareness of this tragic and little known issue, and to encourage young adults like Staples students to help. As Teen Vital Voices aims to do, she hopes that young people know that they can make a difference.

“All in all, students were interested and many who heard her speak learned something new and were really moved by her story,” said Teixeira.

Cambodian lawmaker focuses on rights for women

By Bonnie Adler. Minuteman News Center. November 17, 2010

Nobel Prize nominee Mu Sochua, an advocate for rule of law and rights for women in Cambodia, is a remarkable study in contrasts.

At 55, she is an exotic beauty, slender, soft-spoken, graceful and charming. She is also alarmingly brave and intensely committed. As the most outspoken female leader of the opposition party in an impoverished post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, she risks her life in calling publicly for the cessation of sex trafficking, equality for women and an end to the corruption that is endemic to all levels of Cambodian society.

Mu Sochua made numerous appearances in Westport last week, raising awareness about her work as a Cambodian lawmaker to promote greater equality and freedom for women in her country and to publicize the deeply disturbing film documentary “Redlight,” an expose about the global issue of sex trafficking of children.

Mu Sochua is featured in the film, which focuses on the personal stories of the victims of child sexploitation and the efforts made thus far to try to stop the crime, which is so prevalent in Cambodia. “Redlight” was directed by an award-winning Israeli filmmaker, Guy Jacobsen, and was shown in Westport and Ridgefield last week with personal appearances by both Mu Sochua and Guy Jacobson.

Read the full article here.