On Sept 22, 2016 The Cambodia Daily reported: Two weeks ago, a small group of transgender women were sitting on the riverfront in Siem Reap City when a group of police officers arrived and told them to get up and go away. It was an act of blatant discrimination, harassing them for being in a public space, but only routine.
This was just one anecdote from the country’s first major study of transgender women, released by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) on Wednesday.
Others were far worse.
In nearly 10 cases, transgender women—suspected of being sex workers—said they were forced by Siem Reap police to get into the river. The officers wanted to get them soaked, the women said, so they would have no choice but to go home.
In some cases, transgender women said they were forced to wash off their makeup in the river, remove their wigs and undress in public—losing their identity, piece by piece.
The abuse, CCHR’s researchers say, “likely amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and potentially torture, under international human rights law.”
Siem Reap authorities flatly denied the accounts on Wednesday. Sort Nady, the provincial police chief, said officers had never forced transgender women to bathe in the river.
“There was no such case. Our police never did that,” Mr. Nady said.
“This report is a lie,” he said before hanging up on a reporter.