Members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in
Cambodia are often misunderstood, mistreated, threatened and have their human
rights violated. Those from rural areas are often more victimized and isolated
then those in urban areas. Few safe places or systems exist where members of
the LGBT community can get the information that they need on what their rights
are, or on how they can advocate for them. No laws exist to protect them or
ensure that they are treated the same as other human beings.
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Project seeks to help LGBT
people to overcome these difficulties through:
- Networking –
Facilitating the creation in Cambodia of an informal LGBT rights network
of “Target Beneficiaries”, namely individuals, communities, human rights
defenders, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Sector-Based
Organizations (SBOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), private
sector associations, and other beneficiaries seeking to improve respect
for LGBT rights.
- Empowering –
Empowering these Target Beneficiaries, through capacity-building and the
transfer of skills and knowledge, to work to improve respect for LGBT
rights throughout Cambodia.
- Advocating –
Improving respect for LGBT rights through research and analysis of the
current status of LGBT rights in Cambodia, and through advocacy for the
realization of these rights.
The SOGI Project’s main objective is to improve respect for and understanding
of LGBT rights in Cambodia in order to lessen the violence, discrimination and
human rights abuses that LGBT people suffer on a daily basis throughout
CCHR aims to achieve the SOGI project’s overarching objective by developing a
knowledge and support network that spans Cambodia, involving individuals,
communities, NGOs, SBOs, the private sector and the media. Through transferring
knowledge and skills CCHR aims to empower the LGBT community so that people
know their rights. Through research and analysis of the current status of LGBT
rights in Cambodia, CCHR also advocates for the realization of these rights.
Starting from the bottom up is the best way to ensure sustainability, and this
is what the SOGI project does. CCHR hopes that the improvement in respect for
LGBT rights will happen soon and in the manner in which the SOGI project
Another key aspect of the SOGI project is to raise awareness of, and provide
information about, human rights in general. To this effect, CCHR has
facilitated training for members of the LGBT community, and will continue to do
so. CCHR has also met with a number of Target Beneficiaries including: Rainbow
Community Kampuchea (RoCK); Women’s Network for Unity (WNU); Men’s Health Social
Services in Phnom Penh and in Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu
provinces; Men Health Cambodia (MHC) in Phnom Penh and in Kandal and Siem Reap
provinces; Community United for Development (CUD) in Sihanoukville; and groups
of lesbians and gays and other individuals in Takeo, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong
Mapping of the LGBT community in Cambodia is a key aspect of the SOGI project.
To date, the issues and needs of the LGBT population in Cambodia have been
partially identified in relation to social exclusion, networking opportunities,
empowerment, advocacy and access to facilities and support services including
health, education, and community development.
In addition CCHR has produced a research report entitled “Coming Out in the Kingdom:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia” that analyzes the
current environment (including cultural and social views, religious and
political views), instances of violence, discrimination and human rights
abuses, the legal framework and developments in the LGBT movement in Cambodia
so that it can raise greater awareness for LGBT rights in Cambodia.
CCHR has met with Target Beneficiaries in Phnom Penh and nine other provinces
including Kandal, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang,
Takeo, Kampong Speu and Sihanoukville in order to identify and map them into
“Network Participants”. CCHR is also gathering information as part of the
research and analysis into the current situation of LGBT communities and their
needs. CCHR continually shares its findings with RoCK, WNU and Pannasastra
University about LGBT rights and the LGBT situation in Cambodia.CCHR has developed a relationship with Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh to
mainstream education on LGBT rights in Cambodia by providing education directly
to university students. This initiative is the first of its kind in Cambodia.
CCHR also supported the 2010 and 2011 Cambodia Gay Pride Week that featured
RoCK Workshop, Film Festival, and Messenger Band.
Lastly, as part of the SOGI project, CCHR is in the
process of creating an LGBT Rights Network Directory of Target Beneficiaries,
and an online portal where resources to support them can be easily accessed.
Furthermore, CCHR is conducting two researches related to social perception on
LGBT Cambodian, and the recommendation research.