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Assembly Passes Disability Legislation

The National Assembly unanimously passed legislation on Friday to protect and promote the rights of the disabled, even though the opposition boycotted the session.

Cambodia has a high rate of disability, an estimated 4.5 percent of a population of more than 14 million.

Ruling party parliamentarian Chheang Vun told VOA Khmer the new law would help “resolve social problems.”

“This law sets up all conditions to help persons with disabilities receive various social services and rights,” Chheang Vun said. “This law provides much interest for the disabled, and this law is implemented in conformity with international standards.”

Heng Chantha, whose legs were disabled by polio and who is a rights protection officer for the Cambodian Disabled People organization, welcomed the law.

“This law serves the interests of persons with disabilities, particularly to receive equal rights before the law, non-discrimination, participation of rights in society, the protection and promotion of rights, proper living standards and proper health and education,” she said.

The law passed with 75 votes, after 19 Sam Rainsy Party and three Human Rights Party parliamentarians walked out of the session.

SRP parliamentarian Mu Sochua told reporters Friday the opposition had walked out on procedural complaints, not because its lawmakers disagreed with the law.

Opposition proposals to strengthen the law were not distributed in the full session of the National Assembly, she said.

“Our proposal would have strengthened the law and was aimed at providing special quotas, food, understanding and legal ownership of lands and rights to proper housing,” she said.