Cambodia has ratified the following documents:
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Cambodia:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Cambodia to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Cambodia can be viewed at http://www.cambodian-parliament.org/english/Constitution_files/constitution.htm

The Constitution of Cambodia is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It emphasizes Cambodia?s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to women and children?s rights conventions (art. 31).

The Constitution enables Cambodia to translate international agreements into domestic law. It obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to education (art. 48, art. 65-68)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 31)
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 38)
Right to freedom of association (art. 42)
Right to freedom of expression (art. 41)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 40)
Right to freely consent to marriage (art. 45)
Right to health (art. 70)
Right to liberty and security (art. 32)
Right to life (art. 32, art. 38)
Right to marry (art. 45)
Right to non-discrimination on basis of race (art. 31)
Right to non-discrimination on basis of sex (art. 31)
Right to own private property (art. 44)
Right to privacy (art. 40)
Right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation (art. 35)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 39)
Right to social security (art. 36)
Right to work (art. 36)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

It explicitly obliges Cambodia to provide special protection for women/mothers and children:

  • It explicitly prohibits discrimination against women (art. 45).
  • It protects them with respect to marriage and private life, by providing for the right to freely consent to marriage (art. 45) and the right to equality within marriage and in family matters (art. 45).
  • It empowers women by protecting them during employment: it provides for women?s right to equal pay for equal work (art. 36), their right to work during pregnancy (art. 46), and the right to paid maternity leave (art. 46). Furthermore, the Constitution grants an equal value to women?s housework (art. 36).
  • It protects women against certain forms of violence and assaults on dignity, by prohibiting ?the commerce of human beings, exploitation by prostitution and obscenity which affect the reputation of women? (art. 46). It explicitly prohibits the ?exploitation of women in employment? (art. 45).
  • It empowers women by obliging Cambodia to ?provide opportunities to women, especially to those living in rural areas without adequate social support, so they can get employment, medical care, and send their children to school, and to have decent living conditions? (art. 46).
  • It obliges Cambodia to provide care and support for children and mothers (art. 73), and to establish maternities in rural areas (art. 73).
  • It explicitly commits Cambodia to protect and promote the rights of children as laid out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 48), and to protect children from acts that would harm their health, welfare and their education opportunities (art. 48).
In addition, the Constitution mandates Cambodia to ensure that individuals do not infringe on the rights of others when exercising their own (art. 31).
What does that entail? This provision could amount to a powerful protection of individuals against the acts of private persons. For example, this could lead to requiring that doctors in the private health care setting do not violate the physical integrity of women through coercive treatment, the same way that this provision would apply in a public setting. This provision would thus make Cambodia accountable for failing to ensure that doctors in the private setting indeed respect women?s rights. For additional research and information, please contact the Human Rights Working Group.

Finally, the Constitution requires Cambodia to take positive steps to improve the level of health of its population (art. 72).