September 18, 2006
The "Adultery Law" will not help women
Cambodian Defenders Project, a legal aid organization which provides legal assistance to women, has conducted a legal analysis of the Law on Monogamy, popularly known as the "Adultery Law".
Presenting the results of that analysis Executive Director, Sok Sam Oeun said "Although many women have welcomed the new law our analysis of the law shows that women will be no better protected under this law than they were before the law was passed and in fact they may be in a worse situation." Sok Sam Oeun said " This law is not good for women because it has been drafted in too much of a hurry and there has been no opportunity for lawyers and others experienced in the field of women’s issues to consider it and make representations to the National Assembly Commission before the law was considered by the National Assembly."
The new law will not help women because under the law the prosecutor may discontinue a prosecution if requested by the adulterer’s spouse. "It will be very bad for women because the inferior position of women in Cambodian society makes them dependent on men. If their husbands are charged with adultery, wives will be put under great pressure by their husbands, their families, the husband’s friends and male police officers to request the prosecutor to discontinue the prosecution. But if women are charged with adultery their husbands are much less likely request that the charges be discontinued. This will do little "to protect dignity, to strengthen harmony and happiness in families, and to ensure rights and respect between a husband and a wife" as is the stated purpose of the law." Sok Sam Oeun said.
Sok Sam Oeun called on the Senate to consider CDP’s analysis of the law, to consult with other interested organisations and to make recommendations to the National Assembly for changes to the law. An unofficial translation of the law is posted on the CDP website.