Why Is Cambodia Indigenous Women Working Group Established?

The Cambodia Indigenous Women Working Group (CIWWG) was formed up in 2018 with the participation of 37 indigenous women from different provinces in Cambodia. The group set up aims at building the indigenous women representation to leading and coordinating their work in order to strengthen capacities, solidarity, and empowerment on other decision-making processes and to encourage leadership and other tasks concerning the conservation of tradition, identity, knowledge, and collective development and voicing out to find the solution to their issues at different levels.

Till 2019, the CIWWG has re-met to select its representative to facilitate technical matters faced by the group.

Mrs. Romas Saron, indigenous Jaray, and member of the CIWWG said “the establishment of the working group is to 1. Have a common goal of how we can do to tackle the issues of the indigenous women. 2. Further strengthen the solidarity and unity of indigenous women of different groups so that they can address their issues better. 3. Enable us to address the issues easily as we will have a variety of ideas from different groups. Thus, whenever we are together, we will be able to prioritize the issues to address to benefit the indigenous women.”

She also encouraged all indigenous women to rise up and join hand to address their issues, adding that if they didn’t start, no one could start for them. So, they had to come together to have a stronger power. She hoped all indigenous women from different levels would contribute their resources and commitment to push the CIWWG work smooth.

“However, the working group still lacks in terms of knowledge and experience if compared to non-indigenous women but on behalf of indigenous women we are easier to understand the issues of indigenous women that non-indigenous women can’t understand what we need, how we can help ourselves.”  highlighted Mrs. Fang Champey, Indigenous Jaray and a member of CIWWG.

At the meeting held on 23-25 February 2019, the working group voted to select its representative with 33 participants. Miss Loek Sreyneang, Indigenous Bunong, was at that time selected as a first representative for the mandate of 5 years. She said the inception of the CIWWG  was important to address the issues of the Cambodia indigenous women and highlighted that all indigenous women have faced the issues in terms of violation, harassment, as well as the abuse of economic rights and their livelihood. These above-mentioned issues were not taken into consideration at all levels.

Voted as the representative and coordinator, she was so delighted and committed to working as much as possible. “Even now my capacity is limited, I think this job will teach me and I will try my best to fulfill all activities and plan of the CIWWG. Furthermore, the CIWWG wishes to see Cambodia indigenous women gain gender equality and respect for the rights of the women, as provided for in the UN convention as well as the Cambodia constitution.” she continued.

Remarkably, the CIWWG will have its own plan and programs such as advocacy concerning the land rights, providing law consultation the victimized women and capacitating and scaling up their skills through providing the scholarship to the women to get higher education and cooperating with other stakeholders.

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