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National strategy to protect children

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
A group of children play in a school in Phnom Penh. KT/Siv Channa

A working group comprising Social Affairs Ministry representatives and NGOs yesterday held a meeting to formulate a draft national strategy to further protect children and promote their rights from this year to 2023.

Nhep Sopheap, Cambodia National Council for Children secretary-general, yesterday said that the main strategies involved strengthening the protection of children, promoting education on their rights and strengthening policies to improve their rights at the provincial level.

“These are the main strategies for our working groups to address challenges in improving children’s rights in the Kingdom,” she said.

She added that all children are entitled to receive protection from the government and society.

“We are formulating laws and other strategies to protect them from violence and harassment,” Ms Sopheap said. “The children must be allowed to live in dignity and be happy.”

Ket Bun Chhern, representing ERIKS Development Partner South East Asia and CHAB DAI Coalition, said that all stakeholders should work together to address challenges which children face, especially violence and sexual harassment.

“We see that violence and sexual harassment on children is still happening because of parental neglect due to limited education,” he said. “Some parents either leave their children alone at home or under the care of others when they go to work.”

“Some parents also endanger their children by placing them in front of their motorbikes and driving fast,” Mr Bun Chhern added.

He noted that another issue which needs to be addressed is drug addiction among children.

“Children who live in poor families face difficulty in accessing health services,” Mr Bun Chhern said. “So this issue must be included in the national strategy to protect them.”

Khiev Borey, a Social Affairs Ministry secretary of state, said that it is the duty of all institutions to provide protection for children.

She said the working group will come out with recommendations on improving children’s rights to put in the national strategy for the government approve.

“I appeal to NGOs partners to help provide funds and human resources to ensure the success of efforts to protect children’s rights,” she said.

In May last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on ministries, institutions and local authorities to prevent violations of children’s rights and to take action to protect children from all forms of violence while promoting education.

The appeal was made in a letter to mark the 69th anniversary of International Children’s Day on June 1, the 17th World Day against Child Labour on June 12 and the 2018 Cambodian Children’s Day.

Mr Hun Sen said that children were indispensable human resources for future national development. Child protection was multi-sector work that required all stakeholders to pay close attention to its implementation, he added.

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