Washington International Law Journal


In Cambodia, the percentage of the population living with disabilities is one of the highest in the world. At least 650,000 Cambodians live with a disability, and the exact count may be as high as 1.4 million. The incidence of disability is also expected to increase in the future. Despite the fact that many Cambodians have at least one disability, the country does not have adequate legal provisions to protect the human rights of people with disabilities. There are no comprehensive laws that address disability issues. The few existing laws provide only implicit protections and some directly discriminate against people with disabilities. The inadequacy of Cambodia’s disability rights scheme is reflected in Cambodia’s failure to comply with the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (“Convention”), a treaty that Cambodia has already signed and is expected to ratify soon. To provide a minimal level of protection for people with disabilities, Cambodia’s first critical move should be to pass the proposed disability law that the legislature has been considering since 2003. Cambodia should use the Convention’s guidance to revise this draft law to provide a more comprehensive protective scheme for its most vulnerable citizens. This proposed law would improve the existing scheme of disability rights and bring Cambodia into substantial compliance with the Convention.

First Page