Cambodia: Foreign Marriage Ban Lifted
In 2004, the South Korean embassy in Phnom Penh issued 72 marriage visas to Cambodian women. By 2007, that figure had jumped to 1,759, with an additional 160 visas issued in the first month of 2008.
The new subdecree states that marriages made through agencies or brokers are still illegal, adding that "all fake marriages aimed at labour exploitation, human trafficking or sexual exploitation are prohibited".
The subdecree also insists that marriage must be based on the "voluntary policy and will" of the individual.
Bith Kimhong said that under the new rules, foreigners must be physically present in Cambodia in order to be married and must apply for permission with the Foreign Ministry.
"The Ministry of Interior, after receiving documents from the Foreign Ministry, has to inform to all the relevant authorities on where the marriage will occur," Bith Kimhong said.
"We cannot do like before. This time, foreigners must come to Cambodia to register for marriage," he added, referring to internet unions.
Nop Sarin Sreyroth, secretary general of the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre, said that while she applauded the reinstatement of legal marriages between Cambodians and foreigners, the new rules do not outline punishment for foreigners who violate the rules.
"We are looking forward to monitoring the government's implementation [of the subdecree]," she said.
By: Chhay Channyda
27 November 2008
Source: The Phnom Penh Post via WUNRN
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