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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Cambodia reported rape figures triple

Human rights workers in Cambodia say that there's been a sharp rise in the number of rapes reported by women and girls.

A Cambodian human rights group Adhoc says there were seventy rapes reported in 1999 and twenty-one the previous year.

The group says that half of the assaults were on girls aged under eighteen and attributes this to a widely-held belief that young girls are less likely to carry HIV, the virus which can cause AIDS.

The Cambodian Minister for Women's Affairs Mu Sochua told the BBC that women were not valued in Cambodian society and the wrong message was being given to Cambodian men, because suspected rapists are rarely convicted.

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