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NGOs note children’s rights achievements

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Children express their concerns at a children’s rights event. KT/Siv Channa

The Joining Force Alliance, a coalition of six large organisations focusing on children’s rights, issued a report yesterday praising Cambodia’s achievements in defending children’s rights over the past three decades.

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The report, entitled Unlocking Cambodia’s Future, said Cambodia was able to address many issues surrounding children’s rights in just 30 years, while it took up to a century for many other nations to accomplish the same.

It said Cambodia has been able to develop its health sector, create a more resilient workforce, grow the economy and reduce poverty.

The report presents six priority initiatives needed for investment in child rights. They are: Improving access to quality early childhood education, combatting poor access to quality education, addressing child abuse, reducing malnutrition, improving access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene and including children in decision-making processes.

The report said if Cambodia aims to become a high-income country by 2050, the Kingdom will need to sustain high-level economic growth for decades and children today will play a greater role tomorrow.

Daniel Selvanyagam, national director of World Vision International Cambodia and chairman of the JFA, yesterday said it is important for countries to defend children’s rights and provide opportunities for them because they are the future.

“Children need the… good nutrition, quality education, sanitation and participation to reach their full potential in life and contribute to the development of the country,” Mr Selvanyagam said. “Too many children are deprived of these rights today and it is holding back the economic and human development of the country.”

Oun Ing, a child from Ratanakiri province, yesterday said children need access to schools, good hygiene and decent living.

“Children need their right to live, study and be clean,” she said. “And stop violence against children.”

Kimthan Yi, country director of Plan International Cambodia, yesterday said migration, climate change, tourism and technology could negatively affect children.

“These things could make children vulnerable and face exploitation,” Mr Yi said. “Countries require more action and investment so children’s rights are guaranteed.”

The government in June set a goal to end child labour in the Kingdom, especially in the brick-manufacturing sector by next year.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour at the time reminded employers that the law prohibits the use of child labour.

“We will start inspecting brick manufacturing sites throughout the Kingdom from now until October to educate employers and workers on the labour laws and remind them that child labour is strictly banned,” Mr Sour said.

He said that there were 427 brick manufacturing facilities across the country and the ministry’s officials will inspect all of them to ensure no child is employed.

“We are going all out to meet our target of having no child labour in the brick manufacturing sector by 2020,” Mr Sour noted. “Those who use child labour and any person, including brick manufacturing facility owners, supervisors and parents who bring children into the production lines will be committing a serious criminal offence.”

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