The Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC), Gender and Development Network (GADNet), and Center for Reproductive Rights prepared this letter to assist the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the Committee) in its review of the compliance of the Government of Cambodia (State party) with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) during its 74th session on October 21-November 8, 2019. In its List of Issues and Questions on the sixth periodic report of the State party, the Committee requested for an update on the status of the draft law on surrogacy. This submission aims to provide supplementary information on the status of surrogacy in Cambodia and the state party’s draft surrogacy law and highlight the significant human rights implications of the criminalization of commercial surrogacy in Cambodia.
As a result of our advocacy, the Committee expressed concern “that over 60 women who have acted as surrogates have been arrested and subjected to criminal proceedings since the criminalization of surrogacy in 2016”. The concluding observations are carefully framed, and include a recommendation to “address the root causes of women deciding to act as surrogates, such as poverty”. This was the first time CEDAW has addressed the issue of surrogacy.