Prime Minister Hun Sen left recommendations for the Veterans Confederation of Asean Countries (Veconac) to help it attain new achievements in the interest of the general welfare of veterans in each member-nation.
The recommendations were made on Tuesday at the 19th General Assembly of the Confederation of Veterans in South East Asia, which was presided over by Hun Sen, at the capital’s Peace Palace.
He said Veconac should ensure that veterans have access to decent living standards. The federation should also take measures to prevent the long-term ill effects of war on the veterans’ physiological and psychological wellbeing.
Hun Sen recommended the creation of policies, action plans and mechanisms to extend the scope of rights and benefits for veterans.
The prime minister also noted the need for development programmes and exchange of information and experience to increase the knowledge of veterans and victims of wars in the Asean region.
In his final recommendation, Hun Sen urged Asean leaders to actively contribute to the protection of veterans’ welfare by promoting their rights to life and security and strengthening ties and unity among them.
“I hope the Cambodian Veterans Association (CVA) and the Veconac will continue to cooperate closely in the spirit of solidarity and high responsibility to overcome all challenges and accomplish new achievements for veterans and their families.
“This would contribute to the realisation of Veconac’s goals which include peace, prosperity, harmony, [along] with promoting the rights and dignity of veterans in the region and around the world,” Hun Sen said.
He said veterans around the world went through similar experiences during their military service and regarded their sacrifices as a “symbol of high devotion and patriotism,” which must be honoured by their countries.
Hun Sen considered Cambodian veterans as individuals who had swum across sorrow and tragedy brought about by the Indochina Wars which ended in 1975 and the Khmer Rouge regime, which lasted from 1975-79.
Even with the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia still grappled with many challenges but achieved full peace and unity in 1998 through his election. That peace, he said, was also the result of the integration of veterans of all factions to be under one governing body.
Cambodia paid a lot of attention to the veterans and their families, including supporting their needs for housing, employment, benefits and healthcare assistance, he said.
“This has been a good tradition of ours since ancient times – to help each other. This will promote nationalism among the younger generations, and make them see the sacrifices of the veterans for the cause of the nation, religion, and King,” Hun Sen stressed.
CVA vice-president and Veconac president Kun Kim said Veconac was accepted by Asean countries as a nonprofit organisation which works directly with war veterans.
“Veconac always follows through with its goals such as the exchange of ideas and experiences among veterans and conducting visits to member states to see the services they provide veterans, among others,” Kim said.