Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn in an Asean meeting last week praised the participation of Cambodian women in humanitarian de-mining and peacekeeping operations.
Mr Sokhonn highlighted women’s role in a speech delivered at the Regional Symposium on Implementing Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Asean which was held from August 22 to 23 in Phnom Penh at the Garden City Hotel, Chroy Changva.
“Cambodia ranks second among Asean member states in terms of the number of women peacekeepers in various UN missions in the Middle East and Africa,” he said.
He added that since 2006, Cambodia has dispatched 6,278 peacekeepers, including 315 women. Globally, Cambodia ranks tenth among 100 countries that send female soldiers to UN missions.
“Our women de-miners also play an important role in terms of peace and security,” he said. “They are working diligently in remote areas of the country to remove landmines and explosive remnants of war from affected communities.”
He added that female staff from CMAC, NPMEC, Halo Trust, and MAG have proven that women can deliver equally outstanding performance to bring safety to their communities.
“I’m proud of their work and I am inspired by their dedication,” Mr Sokhonn said.
He also praised the efforts of the Cambodian Ministry of Women Affairs for organising the symposium and expressed appreciation to all co-organisers and supporters of the event.
“I am pleased that Cambodia took on a leadership position to follow through on the implementation of the WPS multi-year programme adopted in Vietnam just last year,” Mr Sokhonn said.
He further touted the importance of Asean’s role in the region.
“It is foremost the maintenance of peace and stability that Asean has brought to the region,” Mr Sokhonn said.
Asean’s success has been about enhancing peace through dialogue and reconciliation, including through the active participation of women, he added.
Mr Sokhonn noted that Cambodia was a suitable place to hold the WPS symposium.
“This country, known for war and destruction for nearly 30 years, has succeeded to secure long lasting peace, when many countries in similar situations remained embroiled in war and instability,” he said.
“As much as we know war and suffering, we also know first-hand the value of peace and safety, to which we hold dear to our heart,” he added.
Mr Sokhonn noted that Asean in 2017 adopted the ‘Joint Statement on Women, Peace and Security in Asean’, which recognised the disproportionate impact of armed conflicts on women, and emphasised the importance of women’s equal, full and effective participation in all stages of a peace process.
He added that there is mounting evidence that show women’s participation in peace and security efforts contributes to a more effective response to today’s complex crises.
“On both a personal and a professional level in dealing with peacekeeping operations, I do recognise and support the role of women as peacebuilders, peace negotiators in the security agenda,” Mr Sokhonn said.