The governments of Cambodia and Japan, along with Unicef, on Tuesday jointly launched a project to prevent violence against minors. It aims to accelerate action to end all forms of it in the Kingdom, with more than one million vulnerable children increasingly protected.
Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth, who attended the project’s signing ceremony at the ministry on Tuesday, said that to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), his ministry is leading a national drive to strengthen the child protection system.
“Establishing a nationwide coordinated child protection system with a skilled and competent workforce will help children who have experienced violence, exploitation and abuse to receive the care and support they need while helping to prevent violence in the future."
“Violence against children is something that cannot be tolerated in any form because it affects the development of children, and [damages] social morality and the development of human resources in the future,” he said.
Japan is to provide $2 million for the project, which “aims to improve the ability of the government to fast-track the implementation of the Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children 2017-2021.
The money will also be used to scale key interventions, test innovations and apply the [World Health Organisation’s] INSPIRE framework – a set of seven proven strategies for ending violence against children”, a joint press release said.
Over half of all children in Cambodia experience at least some form of violence before they reach the age of 18, it said.
“Despite the vast number and severity of protection issues that children face, Cambodia’s child protection system is largely underfunded.”
Cambodia is a leading country in Asean in monitoring and studying violence against children, Soth said. However, even though Cambodia has made great strides in tackling violence against children, some areas remained limited.
“To deal with violence and the discrimination and abuse of children in accordance with national and international standards requires participation from relevant local institutions alongside international NGOs and partners,” Soth said.
‘Contribute to the future’
Hidehisa Horinouchi, the Japanese ambassador to Cambodia, acknowledged that child protection is one of the priority areas for his government.
“I believe this grant will be helpful for the healthy development of the minds of many children, and these children will contribute to making the future of Cambodia. The necessity of child protection is included in the [UN’s] SDGs,” he said.
The Japanese government, via its Official Development Assistance (ODA) Grant Aid, is to provide ¥223 million, equivalent to $2 million, to Unicef to support relevant ministries to implement child protection activities according to the Action Plan.
Natascha Paddison, Unicef’s representative in Cambodia, said the project will further strengthen the capacity of the Cambodian government to have a functional and well-coordinated child protection system that can prevent and respond to violence against children more effectively.
“As a result, more than one million vulnerable children will be increasingly protected from violence through improved institutional and legislative frameworks, quality child protection services and a supportive community environment,” she said.