The Housing Rights Task Force hosted an event this morning, Thursday 10 October in celebration of the World Habitat Day 2013

The event was joined by several urban poor communities from Phnom Penh as well as from rural areas all around Cambodia under the theme of “Rural and Urban Poor formalization”. Around a thousand participants from affected communities, civil societies, unions and grassroots organizations gathered at Wat Phnom, in order to march to the Phnom Penh municipality, to deliver a petition to call for the formalization of the residents affected by land issues, through titling and onsite upgrading.

Supporters of the event gathered to hear talks by affected citizens outlining varying issues encountered across both rural and urban areas with regards to land grabbing and unjustified evictions. Participants called for recognition of their rights to their land and access to land titling services.

Although there was a police presence at the event, the celebration of World Habitat Day remained peaceful with lotus flowers and water bottles being distributed amongst participants and a real sense of togetherness was shared between affected communities, civil society organisations (including Banteay Srei), monks and grassroot unions. 1376489_10153329946120573_1492798029_n 1376638_10153329949675573_360610338_n 1379996_10153329945625573_1257312521_n 1381513_10153329949880573_1504603767_n 1384346_10153329959990573_1977486256_n 1385870_10153329949290573_1305529166_n

 

 

Banteay Srei hosts a 5 day staff reflection, learning and strategic plan development meeting

Aside

Banteay Srei staff met in Siem Reap from 16th – 20th September for the staff reflection, learning and strategic plan development meeting. The 5 day meeting began with a day reflecting on key issues and solutions that were raised in the previous meeting in order to share experiences with the different teams and departments. Key progress made on challenging cases and difficulties in reporting, monitoring and implementing activities were discussed in order to review feasible solutions which could be applied to other departments and offices.

The following 3 days of the meeting, 17-19 September was hosted by independent consultant Carol Strickler who is working closely with Banteay Srei to assist in developing the next strategic plan 2014 – 2017. Participation is one of Banteay Srei’s key program approaches and they involve staff at levels, including relevant stakeholders in the development of strategic planning. Banteay Srei staff have been encouraged to actively participate in the development of this strategy through discussing and exploring the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of current objectives, exploring deeply what Banteay Srei’s Vision, Mission and Values mean to them and their projects and through examining Banteay Srei projects and activities in light of global and regional contexts.

During these 3 days, staff discussed current poverty rates, land access statistics, global disability prevalence rates, rural-urban migration, gender imbalance in labor and salary, gender gap index and representation of women in politics and shared their insights into ways in which the latest trends and statistics are impacting projects and activities in real life. The purpose of this exercise was for staff to feedback on ways in which activities could be re-focussed to adapt to the latest challenges and issues faced by beneficiaries.

Banteay Srei staff worked in breakout groups to brainstorm the true values of their work, key components to be included in the organisation’s theory of change, and to discuss and understand the needs of Banteay Srei’s key stakeholders across the value chain.

DSC02396On the 5th day of the meeting, the Communication and Donation Liaison Advisor and Coordinator delivered training on the   Staff were asked to consider key confidentiality and safety and security measures to implement through the social media policy and to brainstorm improvements of internal communications to improve project delivery and reporting mechanisms to donors.

Throughout the 5 days, Banteay Srei staff demonstrated an energetic approach and active participation in all discussions and activities and key progress was made in developing the strategic development plan, the social media policy and internal communication processes.Staff discuss key compenents of Banteay Srei's theory of change

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Civil Society partners release joint statement condomning indiscriminate police brutality amid mass post-election protest

We, the undersigned organizations, condemn in the strongest terms the indiscriminate police brutality which occurred on Sunday 15th September that left one young person dead and several more injured when armed forces were given the green light to use live ammunition in a crowd of commuters, local residents and demonstrators.

After a largely peaceful day of demonstrations marking the first day of a planned three-day protest by opposition party CNRP, tensions escalated late on Sunday night. Barbed wire barricades had cut off major arteries of the city throughout the day, resulting in traffic chaos at key locations in the capital.

Near Monivong Bridge, police reacted with physical violence and tear gas to a late-evening stand-off between hundreds of police and a crowd of those caught up in the traffic, including commuters, local residents and demonstrators.  The scene quickly escalated as military police geared up to use live ammunition, according to witnesses.

29-year-old Mao Sok Chan was shot in the head and died on the scene. A confirmed nine more men were seriously injured and taken to hospitals. Eight of these men were found to have bullet wounds. Many more young men, including teenagers, were beaten bloody by police.

One man had his right leg fractured by a bullet and another was hit by a bullet in his left forearm. They were taken to Russian Hospital, with another man who suffered head lacerations from beatings. Six more men were taken to Calmette Hospital, all suffering from bullet wounds.

Initial responses from military police authorities demonstrate a disturbing lack of concern about the excessive use of force. Kheng Tito, a military police spokesman, is quoted in the Phnom Penh Post as claiming that ‘if they are good protestors, they wouldn’t be protesting [at night]… so authorities have the right to crack down’.

‘It looks as if security forces were ordered to fire live weapons indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed people,’ says Sar Mora, Head of Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation. ‘This is clearly not a necessary and proportionate use of force and demonstrates the authorities’ blatant disregard for the Cambodian people.’

Earlier in the day, residents and protestors had attempted to tear down barricades at a major intersection of Phnom Penh which blocked the entrance to the Royal Palace and a park where residents go to pray. An ambulance with flashing lights was also blocked from accessing Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. Police attempted to disperse the crowd with water cannons and tear gas, but the demonstration was effectively stopped when CNRP leader Sam Rainsy called on demonstrators to return to Freedom Park.

About 3,000 CNRP supporters remained in the park overnight to continue their three-day demonstration, despite directives from the government ordering them to leave the park by 6pm.

The day began with CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha heading separate marches from Tuol Kork and Meanchey districts. The marches culminated at Freedom Park, where approximately 30,000 supporters gathered to hear the opposition leaders call for a solution to what they allege are massive election irregularities. The demonstration is planned to last for another two days. On Monday morning, leaders and representatives from CPP and CNRP met at the National Assembly to discuss ways forward.

Both leading parties now need to commit to prioritizing human rights and the protection of Cambodian people in all political discussions over the coming days,’ says Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO.  ‘This tragedy has shown that without this commitment, there can be no guarantees of peace and security for Cambodia.’

Throughout the day, CNRP leaders vocally encouraged their supporters to protest peacefully and refrain from violence. CNRP leaders intervened several times to ease tensions at roadblocks.

‘This tragedy was entirely avoidable,’ says Tim Malay, President of Cambodia Youth Network. ‘We need to know who permitted the police forces to use live ammunition. Their response was not proportionate to any threat posed by the young demonstrators.’

We, the undersigned organizations, call on authorities to conduct thorough, prompt and fully independent investigations into all incidents of excessive use of force yesterday, including who ordered the police to use live ammunition and the circumstances around which this was permitted. Anyone found responsible for human rights violations must be brought to justice without delay, and redress provided to victims and their families.

  • Action for Environment and Community (AEC)
  • Banteay Srei
  • Boeung Kak Lake Community (BKL)
  • Borei Keila Community (BK)
  • CamASEAN
  • Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM)
  • Cambodian Confederation Unions (CCU)
  • Cambodian Food and Service Worker Federation (CFSWF)
  • Cambodia’s Independent Civil-Servants Association (CICA)
  • Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  • Cambodian Worker Center for Development (CWCD)
  • Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC)
  • Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC)
  • Community Peace-Building Network (CPN)
  • Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC)
  • Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  • Farmer Development Association (FDA)
  • Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
  • Messenger Band (MB)
  • Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia (NICFEC)
  • People’s Action for Change (PAC)
  • Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  • Social Action for Change (SAC)
  • Strey Khmer
  • The Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO-CEDAW
  • Thmor Kol Community

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Am Sam Ath, Monitoring Supervisor of LICADHO: 012 327 770

Mr. Sar Mora, Head of CFSWF: 016 525 781

Mr. Tim Malay, President of CYN: 017 990 689

Messenger Band (MB)

Messenger Band (MB)

Messenger Band (MB)

Messenger Band (MB)
Messenger Band (MB)
People’s Action for Change (PAC)

Banteay Srei Executive Director Participates in APSW Seminar Working Towards More Responsive and Effective Shelter Management in the Mekong Countries

2-Day1 Group Photo

The Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women (APSW) hosted a seminar from 21-27 July, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand focusing on efforts to work towards more responsive and effective shelter management in the Mekong countries. APSW is a non-government, charitable organisation who for over 30 years has scoped activities to cover the provision of welfare and social and economic empowerment of women as well as the prevention of violence and advocacy for gender equality.

Banteay Srei, Executive Director, Sok Panha participated in the week-long seminar to help build the capacity of industry peers and of Banteay Srei to provide better support services to women and children who experience  violence,  particularly family violence in order to facilitate empowerment. The main objectives of this seminar were to provide a forum for managers of women’s refuges and shelters to exchange best practice methods and challenges in dealing with the organisational response to family violence; to provide them with the tools to create positive change in the care and empowerment of survivors and to jointly develop a framework and benchmarks for good practice in the provision of support services for women’s shelters and refuges.

Banteay Srei currently runs and operates a Safe House which serves as a refuge for women and girl survivors of gender based violence in Battambang and a Peace Centre which provides counseling support for both women and men, especially a referral service for women and girl survivors in Siem Reap. In this capacity, Banteay Srei was recognised by APSW as key player in providing organisational support for GBV survivors and as such Sok Panha was invited to represent efforts being made in Cambodia alongside 3 other national candidates and 4 representatives from each of the other Mekong countries including Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Country representatives included women’s shelter and refuge managers from both the government and non-government sectors, providing a collaborative approach to improve services and current case management strategies.

5-Group Work

During the seminar, participants carried out group exercises and discussions as well as listening to keynote presentations delivered by industry experts

The organisers of the 5-day seminar delivered training, information and facilitated discussions around providing a more in-depth understanding of domestic violence, addressing case management approaches, counselling, rehabilitation programmes, empowerment strategies, handling of perpetrators, effective support services for survivors and multidisciplinary collaboration and networking in order to deliver a stronger and more integrated response system for survivors of domestic violence. Participants then went onto learn about effective organisational responses, focusing upon strengthening organisational capacity and providing appropriate tools for effective responses at the individual and organisational levels. Best practice frameworks were then developed as a group to provide a guideline for effective provision of support services for survivors of violence.

11-Country Group Work

Sok Panha, Executive Director of Banteay Srei participated actively in group discussions to share her expertise and experience with industry peers as well as taking key points into consideration which could be applied to Banteay Srei’s work

Key points for consideration for Banteay Srei following the seminar have been highlighted below by Sok Panha

  • Within the Mekong region, where human trafficking is rife, a network between shelters and partner organisations could be implemented to increase international co-operation and support to improve service support and trafficking prevention
  • Improved collaboration between government and NGO shelters needs to be addressed and the methods and processes of improving such collaboration needs to be considered
  • Partnership is needed for the shelters between state actors, non-state actors, private sectors and the media
  • Private shelters providing psychological counselling and therapy can also play their part in strengthening service provisions for survivors of gender based violence
  • A regional workshop should be considered to bring together women NGOs from different Mekong countries to learn and share information about empowerment for women through entrepeneurship
  • In a bid to increase collaboration between a variety of partners working in this field, a 24 hour hotline service could be considered which would provide a mechanism to share resources between different partners facing challenging cases
  • Education on family planning and safe abortions needs to be considered as a service provision at the Safe House
  • Partner collaboration could be utilised to advocate for government policy or laws to implement requiring perpetrators of gender based violence to receive counselling and address the route causes of abuse. Through collaborative partners, a system could be implemented whereby complaints can be filed at every level throughout the organisational chain until perpetrators respond to such policies and laws
  • For Banteay Srei’s Safe House, a children care programme needs to be explored further
  • As part of the empowerment process, services at the Safe House and Peace Centre can be implemented to develop service strategies directly with clients so that they are part of the decision making process
  • A women survivors network movement could provide additional peer support for survivors of GBV
  • Education needs to be delivered to communities to raise awareness of the services provided by network members about provisions and shelters available to GBV survivors
  • The seminar focused well on shelter support by stakeholders but further consideration needs to be given to community based action against gender based violence
  • Domestic violence between intimate partners was a key focus at the seminar but attention also needs to be paid to violence against women from other family members and community members
  • Women with disabilities need to be considered to ensure that shelters are available and accessible to survivors of this minority group who also experience gender based violence
  • The care and protection of shelter staff is paramount to the effective operation of shelters, perhaps best practice in providing this could be explored further such as the implementation of standardised security risk policies or procedures being drafted
  • Appropriate staff need to be sourced and trained to provide services with considerations being made for their social outlooks eg. Are shelter staff members feminists? In their core belief structures, do they believe in equality for women?
  • Case managers need to be identified in Banteay Srei’s Safe House and Peace Centre projects, all partners will be involved in cases as intervention is needed but it is necessary to ensure one staff member oversees case management system as a whole to ensure the process provides consistent and necessary support to survivors
  • Training for shelter staff on case management needs to be considered as well as attendance at the 2013 Asian Conference for Women’s Shelters.

Overall, this seminar proved to be a very informing and dynamic forum, providing excellent networking opportunities to key figures working in the field of empowerment for women and service provisions to survivors of GBV. Banteay Srei would like to thank the organisers for hosting Sok Panha at the event and looks forward to collaborating with regional government and non-government partners in the future to improve organisational service provisions and show solidarity and support to women and girls who are survivors of violence or gender inequality at every level.

 

Civil society organisations call for political parties to further promote women’s and children’s issues

On 3 July 2013, a group of civil society organizations (“CSOs”) jointly organized a national political platform debate on “Special Measures to Solve Women’s and Children’s Issues” (the “Debate”).  CSOs were pleased to welcome to the Debate representatives from seven of the eight political parties who are contesting the National Assembly elections to be held on Sunday, 28 July 2013. The political party representatives were invited to present their parties’ political platforms with regards to special measures to solve women’s and children’s issues in Cambodia and specifically on the implementation of a quota system to increase the representation of women in politics at all levels of decision-making.

While some of the political party representatives put forward their party’s strategies to solve women’s and children’s issues, others did not address these issues separately from their general policies. Some of the political party representatives would not engage with the issue of a quota system to increase number of women’s political representation and disappointingly there was no clear commitment to a reform of electoral law.

Following the Debate, the CSOs suggest that all political parties set up separate strategies and policies to specifically address women’s and children’s issues during the fifth mandate of the National Assembly. The CSOs recommend that the following be included in party policies:

  • The implementation of voluntary gender quotas within their internal party regulations as an immediate mechanism to increase the number of female candidates and the number of women on parties internal governing boards and in other decision-making structures within the parties;
  • Support for reform of electoral laws to include mandatory candidate quotas to ensure female representation at all levels of governance and politics;
  • The use of media networks to effectively to promote the rights of women and children, to ensure access to justice and to promote freedom of expression and information;
  • The provision of greater access to people especially to women  to media sources across the country for the purposes of encouraging women’s participation in politics, promoting gender equality and non-discrimination, preventing violence against women and increasing information about health care;
  • The strengthening of legislation and law enforcement to better protect women affected by problems such as migration, trafficking, rape, and gender-based violence, to abolish the culture of immunity that exists around these crimes and to punish those who abuse their duties and responsibilities;
  • Improving women’s access to education as a means to improve opportunities for and capabilities of women to be represented in politics and in decision-making positions at all levels, as well as in other sectors; and
  • Implementing specific strategies to prevent high numbers of girls from dropping out of school.

In response to these proceedings, the joint organizing committee of the Debate comments:

“We believe that this debate served as a key opportunity for voters to make informed decisions, ahead of the National Assembly Elections on 28 July 2013, as to whether political parties have provided special measures to solve women’s and children’s issues in their parties’ political platforms. We encourage all voters to go and vote according to their will or conscience.”

The Debate was jointly organized with the collaboration of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (“COMFREL”), the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”), Committee to Promote Women in Politics (“CPWP”), PAZ Y DESARROLLO (“PYD”), Women for Prosperity (“WfP”) and Women for All Network at the Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh. The purpose of this Debate was to provide representatives of political parties with the opportunity to present and discuss their party’s political platform in relation to solving women’s and children’s issues, and to address issues identified by non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) and CSOs during previous discussions and development activities with citizens. The event provided Cambodian citizens, NGOs and CSOs with the opportunity to access information about women’s and children’s rights and demonstrated the need to vote in the National Assembly Elections 2013, to ensure action and policy change in regards to these rights.

For more information, please contact:

Mrs. Sonket Sereyleak, Education and Gender Coordinator of COMFREL, via tel. at 017 49 40 04 or e-mail: sereyleak@comfrel.org

Mrs. Men Vannavy, Program Coordinator of CPWP Secretariat, via tel. at 016 949 997 or email at pc@cpwp.net

Mrs. Chor Chanthyda, Coordinator of the Project to Promote Women’s Political Representation in Cambodia of CCHR via tel. at +855 (0) 12 515 506 or e-mail at  thyda@cchrcambodia.org

Banteay Srei attends training workshop on the Optional Protocol for the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (OP-CEDAW)

OPCEDAW photo

From 4-5 July, a member of Banteay Srei’s staff attended a training hosted by Khmer Youth Association at the Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh on how to submit a communication under the Optional Protocol (OP) to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The objectives of this training were to increase understanding among participants of the basic features and requirements of OP-CEDAW, to build capacity in using OP-CEDAW to advance women’s human rights in Cambodia and to identify potential cases that can be submitted under OP-CEDAW.

The two day training workshop began with opening comments from Jenna Holiday from UN Women and Wan-Hea Lee from OHCHR endorsing the use and practical implications of submitting cases to OP-CEDAW to raise the profile of women’s rights issues in Cambodia and bring governments to justice on an international platform

The optional protocol for CEDAW was ratified in Cambodia in October 2010 and through the legislation of this treaty, it means that an individual complaint of violations of women’s rights outlined in the CEDAW convention can be brought before the CEDAW committee for judgement and investigation.

This convention provides an excellent tool for civil societies in Cambodia to advocate for beneficiaries at an international level. During the training Mr Ton Vong provided an overview of the international human rights treaties system and Catherine Phoung then proceeded to outline the key features and principles of CEDAW so that all participants of the training had a greater understanding of the treaty and what this can mean in real terms for legislative change in Cambodia.

Individual communications under OP-CEDAW were encouraged and participants received a blow by blow account of what to expect throughout this process. Key case studies which have won cases through the committee were brought to light and participants discussed possible outcomes of a successful communication of complaint at length.

Participants learned how to submit a complaint and practised using case studies to get to grips with required information and identifying violated articles of CEDAW. It it hoped that civil societies in Cambodia will utilise this mechanism to raise the profile of women’s rights issues in the country, to create international awareness of the issues encountered and most of all to hold the government accountable for change and to encourage and equal society for men and women alike with the support of an internationally acclaimed council.

 

Banteay Srei holds 6 monthly staff meeting to evaluate progress on projects and strategic plan going forward

Banteay Srei holds 6 monthly staff meeting to evaluate progress on projects and strategic plan going forward

From 10 – 14 June 2013, Banteay Staff met in Battambang for a strategic 5 day meeting to explore and evaluate progress made over the past 6 months on specific projects, progress made towards achieving targets set in the 2010 -2013 Strategic plan and to discuss policy amendments and strategy goals moving forward as they embark upon the 2nd half of the year.

Banteay Srei Staff teams were composed of the Peace Centre and the old and new village teams from Siem Reap, the Safe House project team and the programme team in Battambang, the technical team for the organization and the management team.

Carol Strickler, independent consultant who is assisting Banteay Srei with their monitoring and evaluation activities and the development of the next strategic plan (2014-2017) facilitated the first two days of the meeting which began with an informative review of the progress made by the organization towards achieving objectives set in the current strategic plan through discussing key findings uncovered from the monitoring and evaluation activities.

This interactive meeting saw teams split into working groups, carrying out brainstorming sessions, role plays to exhibit ways in which the values of the organization are demonstrated through project activities and group activities that provided all team  members the opportunity to provide their feedback on key achievements, challenges encountered, lessons learnt and suggested changes in policy and processes going forward to enable the organization to better achieve their organizational goal:

‘Vulnerable women in Banteay Srei target areas will be empowered to improve their political, economic and psycho-social status.’

Banteay Srei Director, Sok Panha said of the meeting, ‘The objective of  was to provide all staff members the opportunity to provide feedback on ways in which they feel projects can be better supported and implemented to ensure the goals of the organization are met. We pride ourselves in providing all staff an equal footing in sharing their ideas and through hearing about challenges encountered across the spectrum, it provides us, the management team the opportunity to work in a dynamic way to improve and expand the services we are providing to vulnerable women. The feedback from all staff was brilliant! Everybody was eager to participate and we have come away with some great ideas to implement in our next strategic plan and we now have a clear understanding of what gaps we need to fill for the remainder of the year to achieve our 2013 objectives and deliver an effective 6 month plan.’

The atmosphere at the meeting was electric with thoughts and ideas being bounced around, it was evident that all staff members are committed to their projects, to results and most importantly to their beneficiaries.

Banteay Srei at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

By international volunteer Melanie Sheehan, Capacity Development Advisor for Banteay Srei

On 21st May 2013, the Director of Banteay Srei, Ms Sok Panha, will take part in a workshop organised by UN Women for NGOs and Government representatives, where she will share her experience of attending the 57th meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, and help them prepare for the 58th CSW in 2014.

Ms Sok attended the meeting in New York in March 2013 as a representative of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation with a network of 180 members representing groups of diverse women from 25 countries.  The network believes that the development framework of the past 30 years has magnified inequalities and disproportionately disadvantaged women in Asia Pacific, and aims to empower those women to use law as an instrument of change and promote their human rights.  Its current campaign asks for four goals to be included in a new development framework to reduce inequalities:  1. Access and Control over land and resources; 2. Decent work and Living wages; 3. Peace and Justice; and 4. Voice.

Ms Sok Panha presenting at the 57th CSW

Ms Sok Panha presenting at the 57th CSW

At the meeting in New York, Ms Sok gave a presentation on “Women’s Access to Land and Resources in Cambodia” at an event entitled “Development Justice: Transforming Development Frameworks to Address the Structural Causes of Inequality”.  Her presentation compared the political commitment previously given to ensuring women’s access to, and control over, land and resources, with the current reality, where women comprise 50% of the population but own only 13.2% of agricultural land, and experience frequent violence and land rights abuses.

Read the full Powerpoint presentation here:  Women access to land and resources

“Les reporteurs solidaires” visit Banteay Srei

By international volunteer Melanie Sheehan, Capacity Development Advisor for Banteay Srei

On 23rd April 2013, Banteay Srei in Siem Reap hosted a visit from Fabienne et Thibault, two journalists from France known as “Les reporteurs solidaires” who have travelled around South-East Asia reporting on issues of social exclusion and visiting grass-roots NGOs to see how they tackle it. So far, they have visited projects in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, and they chose Banteay Srei as the organisation they wanted to see in Cambodia.  They were particularly interested in our work around domestic violence, and how we involve the local community in all our projects, as they had seen a similar project in India and wanted to compare approaches.

With this in mind, we arranged for them to visit our Peace Center, where both perpetrators and victim survivors can receive counselling and education about domestic violence and the law, and it is the perpetrator who can stay overnight if necessary.

Peace CenterThey met Tan Senara, Center Co-ordinator (on left), who talked about the success of the project, but also highlighted some challenges: “There are not enough lawyers in our partner organisations to cope with the number of cases we refer.  The Center really needs its own specialists, and it would be good to provide temporary accommodation for the women as well”.

The journalists commented that Cambodia appeared to have a more democratic approach than India, where a repeat perpetrator of domestic violence is often confronted by a large group of local women, who shout and physically abuse him in public in order to draw attention to his actions and try to shame him into changing his ways …

Cambodia’s more democratic approach was also in evidence at the community meeting in Pourk district, where villagers, their Village Chief, and the Commune councillors met to build a dialogue reflecting on their performance  in local good governance.Community meeting Pourk

The meeting was facilitated by the female Commune Councillor with support from Banteay Srei staff.  Each person was given the opportunity to voice their opinion, and contribute to finding a joint solution to the main problems, which were then written into the Commune Action Plan to improve local good governance.

After the meeting, the journalists met with female Commune Councillor, Em Samoeurn, who has represented women and children in her district for over 10 years.  Samoeurn works closely with Banteay Srei to support victim survivors of domestic violence, and shares the philosophical view of many involved in the work:  “It’s true that we see more cases of domestic violence today.  It’s alarming, but it means that at least those suffering from violence today are not hiding it”.

Read an English translation of the full articles written by “les reporteurs solidaires” here: The Citadel of Women and Reconciling the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence

Banteay Srei celebrates International Women’s Day!

Women CC to reading 8 marchA community event to celebrate International Women’s Day was held with 226 community members in O’mal Commune, Battambang Province on the 6th March 2013. The event celebrated local women’s achievement in developing their communities and local men’s participation in this process and role model families shared their experiences of how to create long-lasting and positive change with their families.

During the event, six Community Facilitators received certificates for their particular achievement in leading their community development process showing leadership skills, transparency, accountability and improved working with local authorities. Community Facilitators shared their experiences with the crowd and urged others to use their right to participate in decision-making processes.

In addition, the staff in Battambang province celebrated with 53 stakeholders. The purpose of the event was to build a closer relationship between relevant stakeholders on working to support women, sharing experiences among each other about their support to women so far and to present six exceptional staff members with certificates for their long-term commitment and professional growth whilst working for Banteay Srei.

Banteay Srei takes part in One Billion Rising!

One Billion Rising Logo

 By international volunteer Melanie Sheehan, Capacity Development Advisor for Banteay Srei

On Valentines Day, 14th February 2013,  Sok Panha, Director of Banteay Srei, and international volunteer Melanie Sheehan went to Freedom Park in Phnom Penh to join One Billion Rising, the largest global action in history calling for an end to violence against women and girls.

The event in Phnom Penh was organised by GADC (Gender and Development for Cambodia), whose Youth Activist group led the dancing to the official One Billion Rising song, “Break the Chain”, which was sung in Khmer.

The crowd also enjoyed a variety of entertainment, including a Korean dance display by Lee Bong Gyo, a hip hop display by children with HIV/Aids from Women Networking, a play about violence against women by Harpswell Foundation’s volunteers, and speeches, including a representative from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Many of those who attended the event also showed their support for the One Billion Rising campaign by taking part in creating a large mural, which was later displayed for all to see.

Both men and women participated by drawing around their hands in bright colours and writing messages in both Khmer and English demanding action to end violence to women and girls.

Similar events were held in 207 countries on 14th February 2013 as part of the One Billion Rising campaign, which was launched on Valentine’s Day 2012 following research revealing that 1 in 3 women worldwide – one billion women and girls – will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.  The campaign continues, visit www.onebillionrising.org

Banteay Srei launches new website!

We are pleased to launch our new website, aimed at providing improved information on the work that we do.

The new website features a fresh and modern new design, simplified navigation and improved usability. In addition, it features stories of change, to better show our supporters the impact of their continued support.