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Cambodia’s prime minister pledges support for the LGBT community and highlights need for HIV prevention

Cambodia is consider one of the more progressive countries when it comes to LGBT rights

By Steve Brown

Cambodia’s Human Rights Committee have said the prime minister Hun Sen is focused on lowering HIV rates in the country.

Keo Remy, the director of CHRC, attended an event over the weekend marking the 10-year anniversary of the LGBT+ organisation, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) where he said the prime minister has publicly declared his support for the community.

According to the Khmer Times, Remy said: “Samdech Techo Hun Sen already said that he supports LGBT+ people, but he highlighted the need to prevent HIV infections.

“We have to talk honestly with each other about negative problems that people may have about health and lives.

“He also said there was an increase of HIV infections within the LGBT+ community, especially in those under the age of 30.

“We have to be careful about our own welfare.”

Although the country does not recognise same-sex marriages, Cambodia is considered one of the most progressive countries in the region in terms of LGBT+ rights with the country’s king being in favour of same-sex marriage.

RoCK’s coordinator, Pisey Ly, backed Remy’s comments but admitted Cambodian society still has a long way to go to accept the LGBT+ community.

She said: “We have gained supportive environments from the government, which is a good thing for us so that we can keep going and not be depressed.

“Although discrimination has decreased, a lot of people at work still do not yet understand LGBT+ issues because they only recruit male or female staffers.

“However, our situation is making our lives too difficult.”