The NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked the National Assembly to intervene to protect the nation’s children, claiming more than 50 percent have suffered physical or mental abuse.
The committee said lawmakers should urge the government to do more to safeguard children’s rights and called on the National Assembly to provide funding for social services as children continue to suffer as a result of domestic violence.
The request was made in a meeting between the NGO committee, provincial representatives and the Sixth Commission of the National Assembly over the weekend.
According to the NGO committee, the government has made progress in preventing child abuse and legal measures to safeguard children, but young people are still suffering physical and mental violence at the hands of parents or guardians, including child labour abuses.
An NGO committee research report presented at the meeting said more than 50 percent of Cambodian children had suffered physical or mental abuse.
The committee said parliamentarians should push the government to further protect children’s rights and provide funding for social services, especially education, which is the foundation of human development.
Sam Reaksa, a Grade 11 student from Prey Veng province who attended the meeting, said some parents and guardians still lacked understanding of children’s rights and resorted to violence in the family.
“Information has been disseminated but the awareness of parents and guardians is still at a low level,” she said.
“When parents or guardians use harsh words to their children, they get depressed, lack motivation, do not want to go to school and do not want to socialise.
“Sometimes they think about running away from home,” she said.
Pen Panha, chairman of the National Assembly’s Sixth Commission on Legislation and Justice, said lawmakers always tried to protect the rights and interests of children and prevent domestic violence.
He pledged to raise the NGO committee points with the government and relevant ministries to try to increase funding and legal technical support for child protection. “We will do our best,” he said.