2011 marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The Australian Embassy celebrated the occasion by holding a morning tea on 7 March 2011, to highlight the efforts of the Australian Government, Cambodian National Police, and NGOs to fight violence against women.
The Australian Ambassador, Her Excellency Penny Richards, was joined by special guests Lt General Un Sokunthea, Deputy Commissioner General of the Cambodian National Police, and Dr Pung Chhiv Kek, the Founder and President of LICADHO.
Ms Richards highlighted Australia’s commitment in its bilateral aid program to the effort to stop violence against women in Cambodia.
Amongst other projects, the Australian-funded Cambodia Criminal Justice Assistance Project (CCJAP) supports a number of activities with the Cambodian National Police, the Ministry of Justice, the General Department of Prisons and local communities to support Cambodian efforts to stop violence against women. These activities include the development of training on gender issues, supporting gender mainstreaming, and promoting the recruitment of female police officers.
Lt General Un Sokunthea outlined efforts that the Cambodian National Police had undertaken with CCJAP to improve gender equality within the police force.
The Australian Embassy’s Counsellor (Development Assistance), Ms Megan Anderson, used the event to announce that under its Human Rights Small Grants Scheme, Australia would provide US$82,100 to fund the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights Project managed by LICADHO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. This project aims to prevent gender-based violence through the provision of training, referrals to support services and awareness campaigns on the issue.
The Australian Government’s efforts to promote the role of women at home and abroad continued through 2011.
On 23 August Lt General Un Sokunthea was awarded the prestigious Audrey Fagan Memorial Award by the Australasian Council for Women in Policing in Hobart, Tasmania. Lt General Un Sokunthea received the award for her role in progressing gender equality in the Cambodian National Police. She was the first Cambodian police officer to have been nominated for the award.