Cambodia is now among the 18 countries listed as “champions” of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) due to the Kingdom’s demonstrated willingness to implement the GCM’s measures that protect and safeguard the interests of migrants.

The GCM is an inter-governmental agreement established by the UN General Assembly in 2018 as the first comprehensive treaty of the UN to be ratified with the objective of improving international cooperation on the topic of migration.

Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior, told The Post on March 28 that achieving champion status was a point of honour and pride for Cambodia and that it came about because the Kingdom had made every effort to humanely address the challenges posed by migration.

Bun Eng said the issue of migration had become a hot topic due to the increasing number of migrants globally, both legal and illegal.

She noted that migrants today faced increasing vulnerabilities and were sometimes burdens on both their countries of origin and destination because of the costs associated with providing social services – especially while dealing with the current economic crisis – and the issues surrounding human trafficking and labour exploitation, which was often akin to modern slavery.

“Cambodia’s commitment to the implementation of GCM is critical to addressing challenges related to migration and to maximise our opportunities for cooperation on this issue with other nations,” she said.

Bung Eng said Cambodia had decided to apply for champion status at the encouragement of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which recognised the hard work and effort that Cambodia had already done in addressing this issue.

Earlier in 2020, Hun Sen wrote a letter to IOM director-general Antonio Vitorino in Geneva stating that the Cambodian government was keen to becoming a champion country as a testament of its firm commitment and progress towards the implementation of the GCM.

The UN sent a response letter to the government in February, affirming the Kingdom’s GCM champion status and congratulating the country on the many achievements in this area and willingness to address the issues surrounding migration despite Cambodia’s difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hun Sen stated that the Cambodian government welcomed noble initiatives like the GCM and would continue to work to align national policies with GCM objectives.