The government celebrated this year’s International Children’s Day with a major event, held in Phnom Penh on June 1 under the theme “We must unite to safeguard and develop children in the shade of peace in the digital age”.

Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspections Men Sam An, who officiated the function, told the assembled guests that the government has a clear vision to promote the rights and interests of children. It endeavours to ensure that all children and their families, as well as the members of their communities, can live in freedom with dignity, equality and safety, in line with the Constitution and the principles of the rule of law.

“The government has also taken an active part in promoting equality activities, as befits a transparent society,” she said.

“The Cambodian National Council for Children [CNCC] shall continue to cooperate with state institutions, development partners and civil society organisations to implement the convention on children’s rights. They must also continue to strengthen the implementation of laws and regulations that concern the effective protection of children,” she added.

Sam An called on all national authorities and the parents and guardians of children to work together to devise strategies that will change social behaviour and educate children, in line with the global principles of increasing young people’s roles in society.

“All media outlets should also play their part by sharing information that can protect children from trafficking, exploitation and abuse, especially online,” she said.

Minister Men Sam An greets children during the celebration of International Children’s Day in Phnom Penh on June 1. MEN SAM AN VIA FB

The government will also mark World Day Against Child Labour on June 12 with the theme “Social justice for all to end child labour.”

The Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) issued a statement lending its full support to activities thatsupport the fundamental rights of children, in line with Cambodia’s Constitution and the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which was ratified by the Kingdom.

The statement explained that during the Khmer Rouge’s “reign of terror”, the entire population, including children, had suffered.

“They were deprived of the opportunity to learn, and were subject to hard labour. They were sometimes tortured or murdered, and knew the cruel emptiness of starvation. Thanks to the hard-won peace the Kingdom now enjoys, Cambodia is able to promote children’s rights,” it said.

“The UYFC will continue to join the government in promoting children’s rights by protecting their wellbeing and interests, as well as by combating all violence toward children and any activities that threaten their rights,” it added.