Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Juvenile justice law passes in Assembly

Juvenile justice law passes in Assembly

Youths in Siem Reap provincial prison undergo vocational skills training. This Life Cambodia
Youths in Siem Reap provincial prison undergo vocational skills training. This Life Cambodia

Juvenile justice law passes in Assembly

After more than a decade of planning, a draft juvenile justice law intended to ensure rights for children in jail was passed by the National Assembly yesterday.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson Chin Malin confirmed the passage, and said the draft law – which says minors held in detention will be kept separate from adult inmates, a youth rehabilitation centre will be established and prison guards will be trained in child psychology and welfare – would now be sent to the King to be ratified.

But observers said yesterday that while the law made some important steps, they feared it did not go far enough and worried that Cambodia lacked the resources to implement it effectively.

Sokunthea Sambath, child rights technical coordinator at Plan International, which worked with the ministry and other NGOs to develop the draft since 2002, said detention should be “the last resort for children”.

“I do appreciate the [government’s] commitment, but they do not have the resources,” she said.

UNICEF spokesperson Iman Mooroka said the “long-awaited” law would prove a “milestone” once it was enforced, as eight in every 100,000 Cambodian children was incarcerated last year.

“Young offenders who have committed minor offenses such as theft or drug use are currently tried as adults and often face prison time in areas shared with adults,” she said via email.

“Many of these children struggle to return to normal life.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all