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AI Finds Reported Rapes on the Rise

The number of reported rapes in Cambodia is on the rise, Amnesty International reported Monday, calling on the government to act against the impunity and discrimination that lead to sexual assault.

Victims of a rape face “failures in the criminal justice system” along with “psychological pain and a perceived loss of dignity” when perpetrators are allowed to go free, Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s deputy Asia program director, told reporters on International Women’s Day.

“Dozens of survivors told us that they face extortion, ignorance and disbelief from officials whose job it should be to assist them and protect their rights,” Guest said in a statement. “For too many survivors of rape, the pursuit of justice and medical support adds further distress to the initial abuse.”

Amnesty International, which issued a 60-page report on sexual violence in Cambodia on Monday, called on the government to publicly condemn sexual violence, to improve its for investigation and punishment of the crime and to provide proper reparations, “including health and psychological services,” to the victims.

“Sexual violence in Cambodia is a difficult case because the suspect does not face the law,” said Kek Galbru, president of the rights group Licadho. “If we want to reduce the sexual violence coming down, the Cambodian government should cooperate with NGOs and all national authorities to find the solution on how to prevent suspects from escaping the law.”

Sy Define, secretary of state for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said the government had not identified an increase in sexual violence.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs had taken steps to train justice officials and police “to understand what to do when they are facing the problem of sexual violence,” she said.