LICADHO celebrates International Women's Day with female prisoners, their children and special guests

Published on March 16, 2006

In celebration of International Women's Day on 8 March 2006, representatives from the Prison Project Office of LICADHO together with representatives from the Embassy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) visited CC2, PJ and Takmao prisons to distribute material assistance to female prisoners and female guards.

Since 2003 the Embassy of the SMOM has supported two Phnom Penh prison facilities and one prison in Kandal province as a part of LICADHO's Adopt-A-Prison project. The project aims to mobilize and facilitate individuals, organizations and donor agencies in providing assistance to female prisoners living with their children in prison and pregnant prisoners. For the International Women's Day celebration at the three prison facilities, the Embassy of the SMOM provided material assistance, which included a sarong, toothpaste, toothbrush, washing powder and sanitary napkins, to 280 female prisoners and 25 female guards.

In CC2 prison, female prisoners performed a traditional Khmer comedic opera, which included singing and dancing. Costumes were provided by the prison director and the day culminated in all participants, including the audience, dancing together. The goal of these activities was to assure female prisoners that they are not isolated or forgotten. Since female prisoners are one of the most marginalized groups in Cambodian society, LICADHO Prison Researchers seek to highlight their rights and welfare concerns, as well as providing much needed material assistance.

The celebration also helped to strengthen the working relationship between NGOs and the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior. Prison authorities at all three facilities participated in the activities and expressed both their good wishes to the female prisoners and their appreciation to the NGO visitors.

People that attended the celebrations included: 22 members of LICADHO staff, LICADHO's President Kek Galabru, Charge D'Affaires Jacques Bekaert of the SMOM, five staff members from the Khmer Institute for Development (KID), three visitors from the Girl Guide Association, two staff members from the Project Against Domestic Violence (PADV) and journalists from both the Cambodian and foreign press.