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Hun Sen champions children’s rights

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Students wearing face masks for protection from Covid-19 walk out of a school in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district in November last year. Hong Menea

Hun Sen champions children’s rights

Cambodia is committed to promoting the rights of children and increasing all forms of protection for them, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a letter on May 19 in advance of the upcoming International Children’s Day on June 1, as well as the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.

He also noted that many children in Cambodia are currently suffering from a lack of one or both parents’ presence because of widespread employment-related migration caused by the economic fallout from Covid-19.

The prime minister emphasised that the government is currently implementing cash support programmes for pregnant women and children under the age of 2 for poor families in order to alleviate the impacts Covid-19 has had on their living standards and specifically to improve nutrition for women and children.

He said the cash assistance programme for poor and vulnerable families was aimed at assisting families with type 1 and 2 “IDPoor” equity cards.

Hun Sen said although the government could not celebrate International Children’s Day with any official events this year due to the pandemic, it has implemented a number of strategies to promote their rights in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty which Cambodia has ratified and enshrined in the Constitution.

“Despite these efforts, some children are still vulnerable or being victimised because their parents have had to leave them behind while pursuing long-term work away from home, especially in the Covid-19 era.

“This situation requires further support and [government] intervention to promote policies and standards that focus on protection and respect for the fundamental rights of children in order to protect their interests,” he said.

The prime minister also urged officials at all levels to visit children in orphanages and rehabilitation centres in addition to checking on the welfare of any vulnerable children in their own communities.

“I urge all authorities at all levels to continue to strengthen the coordination of mechanisms to prevent, intervene and respond to cases involving children in order to promote and provide social services and to help ensure equality between boys and girls by giving equal access to opportunities to girls in social and public life, political life, social activities, culture, art, religion and other activities,” Hun Sen stated.

According to the prime minister, Cambodia is a member of the Global Partnership for the Elimination of Violence against Children and has joined it with the other member countries to show an international commitment to ending violence and abuse against children.

Cambodia has become one of the leading ASEAN countries in conducting social research into the causes of violence against children, including psychological and sexual abuse, in order to find ways to prevent it from ever occurring, he said.

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