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Police, NGOs review policy aimed for child protection

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Cambodian children wade in polluted water at a village in Phnom Penh on October 18, 2017. TANG CHHIN SOTHY/afp

Police, NGOs review policy aimed for child protection

Contents of the Child Friendly Police Procedure Manual are being reviewed to ensure it helps to protect the rights of minors, said Child Rights Coalition Cambodia (CRC-Cambodia) executive director Son Penh.

He said the review is being carried out by the Police Academy of Cambodia, in cooperation with CRC-Cambodia and support from Plan International Cambodia. The three had originally cooperated to create the Child Friendly Police Procedure Manual in July last year.

The manual describes the keys to implementing judicial police procedures in a child-friendly manner at all stages of law enforcement, in line with the Law on Minor Justice, the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures, as well as other national and international laws.

Son Penh told The Post: “Due to changing trends in crime and some other information, we need to update [the manual] because when we prepared it initially, we did not think of the trend of crimes, especially online and cyber crimes.

“So now we have some points that we have to update so that the guide can reflect the reality and actual situation. The judicial police will then have an updated manual to use for teaching themselves.”

He said some judicial officers used similar procedures for adults when dealing in cases involving children who violated the law.

“That’s why we want to promote and encourage the implementation of the Child Friendly Police Procedure manual in the resolution of police matters. Our guide compiles national with and international laws, especially conventions and main principles on child rights,” Son Penh said.

He said the guide provides guidance for dealing with children when implementing national and international laws related to the child justice system and violation of children.

It is relevant, Son Penh said, especially for the judicial police who are willing to promote the implementation of the law and help protect the rights of minors.

Plan International Cambodia country director Jan Jaap Kleinrensink considered the review of the manual and the development of its Teacher Handbook to be necessary for more effective intervention, whether the children are victims, witnesses, suspects or perpetrators.

He said: “The Child Friendly Police Procedure Manual, which has been put into actual practice, and the Teacher Handbook, not only allows efficient handling of crimes involving children but also enable Cambodian police officials to essentially contribute to the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

He said children who are victims of negligence are vulnerable, especially those trapped by severe hardships and forced to break laws and regulations. They are badly in need of legal assistance, though they might not actually realise it.

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