Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Enlistment should be exclusively voluntary



Enlistment should be exclusively voluntary

Enlistment should be exclusively voluntary

Dear Editor,

A few decades ago, Cambodian civilians suffered from the civil wars, especially young Cambodian men not fit for war but forcibly conscripted by a handful of powerful leaders. As a result, millions of innocent Cambodians died, while many others – veterans and civilians alike – were maimed by landmines and infected by disease.

With regard to the article “Proposed reserve force to strengthen military” (August 2), the draft Royal decree that discusses the conscription law was passed in 2006, according to a Council of Ministers statement. The law lists a variety of prospective groups eligible for conscription, including civilians between the ages of 18 and 30.

Several years ago, the Kingdom demobilized soldiers funded by donors as hostilities ended and the country turned to internal development.

Following the flare-up over the Cambodian-Thailand border, the government began training young men from the provinces for front-line defence.

By the end of 2008, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during a ceremony at the National Education Institute that the government had enough soldiers to combat any enemy to the Kingdom, and that young people needed to go to school and keep to their studies.

The government is again talking about recruiting more soldiers as tensions begin to boil again over the border issue.

From my point of view, conscription of young people would have a huge impact on their ability to become educated and find jobs to support their families.

I am also concerned that the government would use a large part of the national budget to bolster the armed forces instead of using that money to improve education and access to healthcare.

I believe that the Kingdom should have a strong and professional military to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. But the Royal decree on reservists should be revised so that young Cambodians can volunteer for 18 months of service rather than being conscripted.

Tong Soprach
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants