The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation announced on Thursday that Cambodia had joined the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children as its 26th “Pathfinder Country”.
A joint statement said the Kingdom has reinforced its dedication to prevent and respond to violence against children.
Cambodia is the third country in Asean to officially become a Pathfinding Country, following the Philippines in February 2016 and Indonesia in July the same year.
The move comes as the Kingdom accelerates its efforts to achieve its vision of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050, the statement said.
The government has always been committed to respecting and promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to ensure that children can live in freedom, peace and prosperity, said Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth.
It had adopted many measures, including laws, policies, strategic plans and legal procedures to improve child protection, he said.
“Cambodia became a leading country [in the defence of children] in Asean when it conducted a national survey on violence against children.
“The scientific survey identified the scale of the problem and found concrete evidence of physical, sexual and emotional violence that children had experienced,” said Soth.
Based on these results, he said, Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children 2017-2021 was established to address the issue promptly and promote sustainable child protection and developmental solutions for every child.
The 2013 Cambodia Violence Against Children Survey indicated that one out of every two children had suffered some form of violence before the age of 18.
Violence against children is a universal issue that had caused serious lifetime consequences such as stunted physical development, as well as behavioural, physical and psychological problems, the survey found.
Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An said the sixth government mandate had prioritised children’s issues in its policies, especially the Rectangular Strategy Phase IV, human resource development strategy and Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals Framework 2016-2030.
These had provided a strong foundation for the preparation of the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023 with concrete results and timeframes for implementation.
“To end violence against children, there is a need for all stakeholders and people of all walks of society to assume joint responsibility. To be more effective, all efforts need to align with the existing national contexts and the UNCRC.
“Participation from all ministries, institutions, national and international non-governmental organisations and stakeholders is a must,” said Sam An. She said violence against children remained the main challenge for developed and developing countries.
Citing the 2013 survey, she said one out of four children had suffered from psychological abuse and one out of 20 suffered from sexual abuse.
Unicef representative in Cambodia Cristian Munduate on Thursday said the move marked a significant step in realising the right of all Cambodian children to grow up safe and protected.
“Violence against children is unjustifiable and intolerable. It is possible to end violence against children and it is our shared responsibility to do so,” she said.
Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children executive director Howard Taylor said the partnership had embarked on a new alliance with the government, civil society, private sectors and other key groups and individuals in Cambodia.
“We are united behind a single goal – a society in which every child grows up safe and secure. Our efforts are smart investments in today’s children and will have a positive impact over the generations to come,” he said.