Today several Cambodian civil society organizations, including the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, called for the dismissal of Phnom Penh Deputy Police Chief Phuong Malay for what they call his “his unacceptable, facetious and offensive reaction” to the lawsuit taken against him for his alleged role in the miscarriage of a female protester who was kicked in the stomach by a member of his police force.
On June 27th 2012, 25 year-old pregnant woman Bov Srey Sras had joined a group of supporters in attempting to march to the Court of Appeal where the Boeung Kak 13 were having their case heard; Ms. Srey Sras’ sister was one of those on trial.
A violent clash with police ensued and the organizations say that Ms. Srey Sras was brutally mistreated by officers, resulting in her becoming unconscious, being taken to the hospital, and causing her to miscarry. Srey Sras is suing Mr. Malay as well as Daun Penh Deputy Governor Sok Penhvuth and an officer who kicked her. She claims they are responsible for inflicting “intentional violence”.
After she announced that she was suing the three men, the Deputy Police Chief publicly insulted and degraded her. Mr. Malay is quoted in the Phnom Penh Post newspaper on August 1st as saying: “Is the victim old or young, and does she sue me to return her kid? I want to tell her that if she wants to get back her kid, I am also young,” he said.
The organizations wrote the letter to inform the Cambodian government that the country is a party to the United Nations Covenant For the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which requires the state to take measures to suppress all forms of gender discrimination.
Article 31 of the Constitution of Cambodia is to recognize international human rights provisions. Article 26 of the Constitution stipulates that once a human rights treaty is ratified, it will automatically become Cambodian law. Article 31 also demands the equality of all Cambodian citizens, regardless of race, color, religion, political beliefs, class or gender.
The Cambodian police authorities have a legal and ethical responsibility to the people of the nation, to uphold their human rights and their dignity, said the groups.
“If Deputy Policy Chief Phuong Malay believes it is acceptable to make such offensive and discriminatory remarks, he is clearly incapable of the high degree of responsibility required by his profession,” they remarked. Additionally, they said that he is setting a deplorable example to the rest of his law enforcement subordinates and called for his immediate dismissal as well as for “an assurance from the government that Cambodian police will in future be properly trained and equipped with the skills and the knowledge to respect and protect the human rights and human dignity of all Cambodian citizens.”
You can view the full text of the letter as well as all of the signatories to it here.