Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kids’ safety improving: report



Kids’ safety improving: report

A student looks out the window at a school for underprivileged children in Siem Reap
A student looks out the window at a school for underprivileged children in Siem Reap last year where the director was arrested for trafficking children of the school. GEORGE NICKELS

Kids’ safety improving: report

Cambodia has improved overall in protecting children from abuse and exploitation, the United Nations’ first Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) found in a report released yesterday, but the Kingdom has to take greater strides to further safeguard children’s rights.

The report – which was a product of a two-day hearing in Geneva in January with CRC members, the Cambodian government and local civil society organisations – assessed the steps Cambodia has taken since 2011 to honour two international treaties or optional protocols: one dealing with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and another on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

“Every state is different and has its specificities . . . and during the review, we assessed whether Cambodia has the right legal framework, enough resources and enough people to implement our recommendations,” said CRC member Bernard Gastaud.

Between 2011 and 2013, Cambodia recorded 86 cases of sex with a minor under 15 years of age, 24 incidents of child pornography and 12 cases of purchasing child prostitution, according to data sent by the government to the CRC.

The report commended Cambodia in the measures it took to implement the optional protocols like creating a National Plan for Child Development for 2014 to 2018 and adopting the National Plan of Action on Suppression of Trafficking, Smuggling, Labour and Sexual Exploitation.

“The government is making a more concerted effort to tackle the exploitation and abuse of children by creating specific mechanisms to address issues,” said Action Pour Les Enfants director Seila Samlang. “But while you see the political will of the government in these plans, they are not that effective yet.”

Like Samlang, the CRC report noted some areas of improvement such as expediting the enforcement of the national plans, raising public awareness of the international treaties and developing more comprehensive data to help gauge the psychological impact of child abuse.

“Violence against children is a significant problem across the region, as well as globally,” said UNICEF chief of communications Denise Shepherd-Johnson. “Without data, violence against children remains a hidden and silent issue.”

According to Gastaud, Cambodia still faces many hurdles, but expressed its intention to enact the CRC’s suggestions.

“We tried to convince the [Cambodian] delegation . . . to implement our recommendations, and during the dialogue, the state party seemed to receive it well,” Gastaud said. “When they come back for the following dialogue, we will see the gap between the promises, commitment and reality.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the