- October 13, 2019 6:11 AM
- November 3, 2019 5:37 AM
- September 27, 2022 11:56 AM
PHNOM PENH–Cambodia is poised to make strides toward full integration of LGBT persons in all social sectors, effectively protecting them from violence and discrimination, a UN expert says.
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, presented his conclusions on Jan. 20 at the end of a 10-day visit to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.
However, there was evidence of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in families and this spilled over to schools, work and when accessing health services.
Madrigal-Borloz urged authorities to legally recognise LGBT families to ensure social integration.
“Without exception, state agents with whom I held conversations acknowledged that diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity was a trait inherent to humankind, and that all Cambodian citizens, including members of the LGBT community, were valued members of society who have the right to live in freedom and equality,” he said.
“Before and during my visit I did not receive any information of massive or systematic physical violence against the people with whom I spoke, or persons known by them.
“I also note that Cambodia does not have legislation that explicitly criminalises sexual orientation or gender identity. This gave me an encouraging point of departure.”
Madrigal-Borloz met representatives of the state at national and provincial levels along with civil society organisations. More than 100 LGBT people shared their life experiences.
He said the absence of data creates problems analyzing challenges faced by LGBT people and the design and implementation of measures to address them.
Madrigal-Borloz called for a series of measures, including surveys and data collection, and said participation of concerned communities and civil society organisations in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policy was an indispensable part of these measures.
Testimonies he received showed that local communities identified legal recognition of their families as the key to unlocking many of the advantages of social inclusion.
This bears specific relation to deeply cherished values that reinforce family bonds and intergenerational respect and solidarity as part of the recognition of self-worth and social responsibility.