Foreign men over 50, or earning too little, banned from marrying Cambodians

Foreign men over 50, or earning too little, banned from marrying Cambodians

The Cambodian government announces controversial measures to ensure its women receive a decent standard of living
foreign marriages to Cambodians
From now on, only Cambodian men and foreigners below 50 and earning more than US$2,550 a month will be able to wed Cambodian women.

Low-earning foreign men older than 50 can forget about marrying Cambodian women.

The Cambodian government announced new restriction on foreign marriages last month, stipulating that grooms must be younger than 50 and should earn more than US$2,550 per month.

“Marrying a man over 50 years old seems like a grandfather and a granddaughter,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said to Phnom Penh Post. “We want people getting married to look like proper couples.”

The salary minimum was in place to prevent labor trafficking and to ensure that Cambodian women enjoyed a decent standard of living, he added.

Foreign men older than 50 are also banned from marrying Cambodian women of their age or older. The ban does not extend to foreign women, The Economist reported.

The restriction prompted outcry among rights groups and human rights activists.

“This justification is reflective of the attitude of this government which considers it appropriate to impose its own norms on the people without regard to their freedom and capacity to choose and often in violation of the law and human rights principles,” renowned human rights activist Ou Virak wrote in the Phnom Penh Post.

Pung Chhiv Kek, president of Cambodian rights groups Licadho Pung Chhiv Kek, pointed out to The Economist that a more effective way of protecting women in Cambodia is to step up implementation of laws against rape and violence, instead of regulating morality.

This is not the first time the Cambodian government had announced marriage bans. In 2008, a temporary ban on all foreign marriages was imposed to curb the trafficking of women to South Korea.

In 2010, the government again temporarily forbade foreign marriages, this time between Cambodian women and South Korean men.