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Members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Cambodia are often misunderstood, mistreated, threatened and have their human rights violated. Those from rural areas are often more victimized and isolated then those in urban areas. Few safe places or systems exist where members of the LGBT community can get the information that they need on what their rights are, or on how they can advocate for them. No laws exist to protect them or ensure that they are treated the same as other human beings.

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Project seeks to help LGBT people to overcome these difficulties through:
  • Networking – Facilitating the creation in Cambodia of an informal LGBT rights network of “Target Beneficiaries”, namely individuals, communities, human rights defenders, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Sector-Based Organizations (SBOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), private sector associations, and other beneficiaries seeking to improve respect for LGBT rights.
  • Empowering – Empowering these Target Beneficiaries, through capacity-building and the transfer of skills and knowledge, to work to improve respect for LGBT rights throughout Cambodia.
  • Advocating – Improving respect for LGBT rights through research and analysis of the current status of LGBT rights in Cambodia, and through advocacy for the realization of these rights.

The SOGI Project’s main objective is to improve respect for and understanding of LGBT rights in Cambodia in order to lessen the violence, discrimination and human rights abuses that LGBT people suffer on a daily basis throughout Cambodia.


CCHR aims to achieve the SOGI project’s overarching objective by developing a knowledge and support network that spans Cambodia, involving individuals, communities, NGOs, SBOs, the private sector and the media. Through transferring knowledge and skills CCHR aims to empower the LGBT community so that people know their rights. Through research and analysis of the current status of LGBT rights in Cambodia, CCHR also advocates for the realization of these rights. Starting from the bottom up is the best way to ensure sustainability, and this is what the SOGI project does. CCHR hopes that the improvement in respect for LGBT rights will happen soon and in the manner in which the SOGI project envisages.

Another key aspect of the SOGI project is to raise awareness of, and provide information about, human rights in general. To this effect, CCHR has facilitated training for members of the LGBT community, and will continue to do so. CCHR has also met with a number of Target Beneficiaries including: Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK); Women’s Network for Unity (WNU); Men’s Health Social Services in Phnom Penh and in Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu provinces; Men Health Cambodia (MHC) in Phnom Penh and in Kandal and Siem Reap provinces; Community United for Development (CUD) in Sihanoukville; and groups of lesbians and gays and other individuals in Takeo, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom provinces.

Mapping of the LGBT community in Cambodia is a key aspect of the SOGI project. To date, the issues and needs of the LGBT population in Cambodia have been partially identified in relation to social exclusion, networking opportunities, empowerment, advocacy and access to facilities and support services including health, education, and community development.

In addition CCHR has produced a research report entitled “Coming Out in the Kingdom: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia” that analyzes the current environment (including cultural and social views, religious and political views), instances of violence, discrimination and human rights abuses, the legal framework and developments in the LGBT movement in Cambodia so that it can raise greater awareness for LGBT rights in Cambodia.


CCHR has met with Target Beneficiaries in Phnom Penh and nine other provinces including Kandal, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Takeo, Kampong Speu and Sihanoukville in order to identify and map them into “Network Participants”. CCHR is also gathering information as part of the research and analysis into the current situation of LGBT communities and their needs. CCHR continually shares its findings with RoCK, WNU and Pannasastra University about LGBT rights and the LGBT situation in Cambodia.CCHR has developed a relationship with Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh to mainstream education on LGBT rights in Cambodia by providing education directly to university students. This initiative is the first of its kind in Cambodia. CCHR also supported the 2010 and 2011 Cambodia Gay Pride Week that featured RoCK Workshop, Film Festival, and Messenger Band.

Lastly, as part of the SOGI project, CCHR is in the process of creating an LGBT Rights Network Directory of Target Beneficiaries, and an online portal where resources to support them can be easily accessed. Furthermore, CCHR is conducting two researches related to social perception on LGBT Cambodian, and the recommendation research.

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