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Message of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, Kingdom of Cambodia to the Phnom Penh Post

Message of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, Kingdom of Cambodia to the Phnom Penh Post

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kinglo.jpg

 

On the occasion of my 78th Birthday Anniversary the Phnom Penh Post has kindly

extended me an invitation to send a message to my beloved compatriots and our respected

foreign friends.

I would like to send my beloved compatriots my affectionate greetings. My thoughts

are, in particular, with those of our compatriots who have been affected by the severe

flooding which Mother Nature has unleashed on our motherland.

 

In this regard, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the friendly

foreign countries and international organizations, which have promptly come to our

assistance by providing food, medicines and cash to help our unfortunate compatriots.

I would also like to express my personal gratitude to the Foreign Journalists

Club of Cambodia, which recently donated to me one ton of rice to be distributed

by us to our needy compatriots.

On this my 78th Birthday Anniversary I would like to make an appeal to all my beloved

compatriots to strive for a renewal of high moral standards which are required to

deal with the challenges in the years ahead.

I am saddened by the continuous sexual exploitation of women and children of both

sexes and by child trafficking. I greatly appreciate the measures taken by the Royal

government and would like to encourage all the ministries concerned to increase their

efforts in order to completely eradicate these scourges from our society.

I would also call on all of you to show a better understanding and some compassion

for those of our compatriots that are suffering from the AIDS epidemic. I understand

that 241,000 of our compatriots are infected with this dreadful disease and 5,000

of our compatriots have already died. For a country of 12,000,000 people this is

too high a figure and I would like to urge everyone to work harder and in unison

to fight this disease.

I would like to see the HIV/AIDS prevention and Care Programme increased with

the aim to reduce the HIV transmission rate, through appropriate information, preventive

interventions and the development of support services and initiatives for people

with HIV/AIDS.

Our country is now in a position to continue its transition. Following the general

election in 1998, our country is experiencing peace and political stability and there

are signs of an economic recovery. The Royal Government has embarked on a series

of social and economic reforms, including the drafting of a new Socio- Economic Development

Plan and National Strategy for Poverty Reduction. It is my earnest hope that the

impact on Cambodia's children, who have suffered so much though no fault of their

own, will not be forgotten when these plans are drafted.

The recent severe flooding which has affected a majority of our compatriots and

will continue to affect us for some years to come through damage to infrastructure,

to crops, schools, clinics, etc... can be prevented if we all pay attention to the

need to respect our environment.

Lastly, I must tell you all, my beloved compatriots, that I suffer greatly every

time I read in our newspapers about what has become known as "mob justice"

or the killing by our people of suspected or alleged criminals. The killing of other

human beings does not form part of our Khmer heritage and is strongly condemned by

our Buddhist precepts.

Suspected or alleged criminals should be arrested by the police, properly treated

and then taken to our tribunals, where our judicial system should deal with them

appropriately. As Father of the Khmer Nation I suffer great pain when I am told that

some of my children have killed other children of mine. I call on our Royal Government

to make every possible effort to put an end to this inhuman practice, which is giving

a very bad image to our country and our Khmer heritage abroad.

On the occasion of my 78th Birthday Anniversary I would like to wish all my beloved

compatriots good health, happiness and prosperity and thank our dear foreign friends

for the assistance they give to our people and country.

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