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New LGBT policies necessary: CCHR

Members of LGBT advocacy group Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) at a Pride event in Phnom Penh in 2013.
Members of LGBT advocacy group Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) at a Pride event in Phnom Penh in 2013. Scott Howes

New LGBT policies necessary: CCHR

The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has called on schools to adopt a flexible school uniform policy to help transgender students and for the government to introduce LGBT anti-discrimination laws, while USAID announced a program worth almost $300,000 for LGBT people.

The two-year program, called “We Are the Same” and launched on Wednesday, is a social media network and mobile platform to give LGBT people information and support and will be run by Media One in partnership with CCHR.

The groups combined forces in the wake of troubling statistics for LGBT people: according to a December 2015 survey by Rainbow Community Kampuchea, almost one-third of LGBT Cambodians had never come out and more than one-fifth wished they were straight.

National media programming addressing LGBT issues will be broadcast in every province, US Embassy spokesperson Jay Raman said via email.

“Public misconceptions about LGBT persons are expected to be diminished – with reduction in unfounded social abuse, harassment and discrimination,” he wrote.

CCHR also launched a separate video urging school children and teachers to become allies and role models to counter bullying of LGBT children.

CCHR Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity project coordinator Nuon Sidara said although there was no law protecting LGBT people, he was positive the government would act, and said NGOs need to work to increase awareness and tolerance.

“Most importantly, we want to see a straight alliance to protect LGBT people,” Sidara said.

A previous version of this article suggested that CCHR's calls for policy changes were under the auspices of a USAID program. In fact, it was a separate initiative, though CCHR will be co-administrating USAID's program with Media One.

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