Already in 2006, War Resisters' International reported on plans to introduce conscription in Cambodia, which so far did not materialise (see CO-Update No 24, November 2006). It remains to be seen if the new announcement by a senior Cambodian Defence Ministry official on 1 August 2010 that the ministry is poised to introduce a military conscription soon after the military reservist conscription sub-decree was signed by the king, is more real.

The National Assembly of Cambodia voted in October to introduce conscription in the country. According to the new law, young men aged between 18 and 30 will be liable to serve 18 months in the military. The law also carries a prison term of up to five years for men who refuse to join the military.

Since the signing of the 1993 Peace Accords there has, officially, been no conscription in Cambodia. However, there have been attempts to reintroduce conscription in the past.


Placheolder image

There was a civil war in Cambodia for several decades, which has gradually ceased since the signing of the 1993 Peace Accord.

Last November 1,000 women from every province in Cambodia came together for a display of traditional skills. The display also kicked off the "Women Weaving the World Together" project, with Khmer women connecting pieces toegther they had woven, to form a ribbon one kilometer long. Organizers hope to collect 20 kilometers of cloth (from pieces one meter wide, of any length, and from any fiber) from individuals and groups around the world. The ribbon will be sent to the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. Organizers hope to raise US$ 50,000 for a women's project fund as well.

by Liz Bernstein

There is a movement growing in Cambodia, a people’s movement, led by women. It is a movement of peace and of people excited by the new possibilities dawning in their country. The possibility of laying down weapons after more than 20 years of war, where a new constitution may finally provide them with basic human rights. The movement began as a coalition of monks, nuns, women’s groups, student associations, development and human rights groups who were determined to seize the current unique opportunities in creating a new peace.

In the world today, women have many duties and obligations. They are responsible for giving birth and have transformed humankind so as to develop sufficient abilities to build up world peace.

Unfortunately, in the poorest countries, women have weak spirits as a result of customs, religion and civil war. Specifically, in Indochinese countries such as Cambodia, women have been victimized by government policies since post-independence. Mental and physical repression made women not undertake key leadership positions.

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