Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Measures in works amid low child’s rights ranking

Measures in works amid low child’s rights ranking

A bandage covers a wound on a student’s head in Phnom Penh after he was allegedly hit over the head by a teacher in 2014.
A bandage covers a wound on a student’s head in Phnom Penh after he was allegedly hit over the head by a teacher in 2014. Hong Menea

Measures in works amid low child’s rights ranking

A new report has ranked Cambodia 125 out of 163 countries in terms of its protection of children’s rights, even as the government works to finalise a sub-decree and code of conduct to better shield children from abuse, exploitation and neglect.

The KidsRights Index 2016, released yesterday, gave countries scores based on their respect for children’s rights to life, health, education and protection, as well as the countries’ enabling environment for child rights. Despite its low ranking, Cambodia’s score was near the median, with its child’s rights environment its lowest-scored metric.

However, the government’s Cambodian National Council for Children is finalising a sub-decree that would fill a current gap in the country’s child protection framework, and seek to “eliminate and prevent risk and harm to children”, according to a copy of the draft. The sub-decree would apply to any public or private entities that work with children.

“The sub-decree is very important to help stop violence against children,” said Nhep Sopheap, general-secretary for CNCC. The estimated implementation cost is about $100,000, she added.

The sub-decree could go to the Council of Ministers for approval as early as next month, said Sambath Sokunthea, child rights technical coordinator for Plan International Cambodia, who has been assisting with the drafting process.

The Ministry of Education is also developing its own child protection policy that aligns with the sub-decree, she said.

Meanwhile, a program by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in 2015 trained teachers in 12 primary schools on positive discipline in hopes of curbing corporal punishment, which remains a problem despite having been banned in 2007. Depending on funding availability, as many as 1,200 more teachers could be trained this year, said UNICEF spokesman Bunly Meas.

“It is envisioned to be gradually scaled up nationwide to reduce all forms of violence in schools,” he said.

Nget Thy, director of the Cambodia Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights, said children in Cambodia face a higher risk of abuse because of a lack of understanding of children’s rights. “The government needs to improve this situation, but not alone; it needs to collaborate with NGOs and other organisations,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,