A draft law on public order that would prohibit women in Cambodia from wearing overly revealing clothing has drawn criticism from civil society leaders.
The Cambodian government has said that input from all parties would be considered as the draft law moves through the process of promulgation.
According to the Phnom Penh Post, Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek said that criticism would help correct and improve the law before it is passed.
The initial draft Law on Public Order was circulated by Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior in July and contains provisions to ensure public order. The draft law bans all activities spoiling the beauty of public places, such as drying or hanging clothes in public places or pouring wastewater or liquids into public drains.
The draft law covers the display or sale of goods in public places without permission, as well as regulating excessive noise and even unsafe bundling of electrical wires.
President of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, Pa Chanroeun, has said that Cambodia needs such a law to ensure public order, however, he said that a ban on women wearing revealing clothing or men appearing shirtless in public pushes the boundaries of government control.
Chanroeun said that authorities should instead seek to educate citizens about good manners, communication, and values, including when it is and isn’t appropriate to wear certain clothes.
Social media users have submitted a petition against the ban on revealing clothing, saying that laws should protect the rights of citizens rather than oppressing them.
However, authorities say civil society organizations and inter-ministerial groups are to be invited to discuss the law before it is forwarded to the government for review and approval.