Her Royal Highness,
Your Royal Highness,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am very delighted to join you all, Her Royal Highness, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in the “2006 stock-taking and direction setting for 2007 meeting of the Cambodian National Council for Women, (CNCW)”ensuing the high and wise guidance of Her Majesty the Queen Mother of Khmer, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Honorable Chair of the CNCW.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and myself as the Honorable Deputy Chair of the Cambodian National Council for Women, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and highly value all efforts of the Cambodian National Council for Women in achieving good outcome as expected which has already been mentioned by Her Excellency Chair of the Cambodian National Council for Women in her 2006 stock-taking and direction setting for 2007 report.
I reckon that today’s meeting is very important for us because it gives us a chance to participate together in evaluating the achievements made from the implementation of national policy within the framework of the Rectangular Strategy which considered that “Women are the backbone of our economy and society“.
At the same time, the 2006 stock-taking and direction setting for 2007 meeting of the Cambodian National Council for Women provides us with a great opportunity to consider and total all the achievements and experiences from last year and anticipate instant challenges and that of the future in promoting sufficient women’s capacity, ability and opportunity which contribute to the development of the national economy, and changing the behaviors and mentalities of the society concerning women’s discrimination. Moreover, this meeting also gives us with enough opportunity to collect all ideas, comments and good practices from participants of concerned ministries and agencies and other development partners to effectively develop a plan and set clear directions in fulfilling our tasks for years to come and for the future.
In this spirits, we have been focusing on women by promoting gender equality through legal and administrative measures and other measures including, temporary actions which have been particularly implemented by related ministries and institutions and many other positive measures such as the ability to receive health care, education and vocational training at all levels of national institutions from central to local. Indeed, all the above factors will promote sufficient women’s capacity, ability and opportunity which contribute to the development of the national economy, changing the behaviors and mentalities of the society concerning women’s discrimination.
In this sense, I acknowledge that we have three important national institutions that have been working very hard to implement their tasks to ensure the equality of women. Those institutions include the Ministry of Women Affairs, Cambodian National Council for Women and Gender technical working group existing at relevant ministries and institutions which are agents of the Royal Government and operators playing a core role in promoting Cambodian women’s status and implementing the First and Second “Neary Ratanak” Strategic Plan to address challenging issues faced by women.
Furthermore, those institutions have contributed to helping the government in observing and evaluating the implementation of national policies, national laws, international conventions and raise recommendations aiming at reducing and moving forward to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and prevent women and children from all kinds of violence.
At the same time, we have noticed that the attention being paid to promote women’s status in the society and to eliminate domestic violence as well as violence in society to enhance the living condition of Cambodian women, is proudly moving forward. Indeed, according to today’s situation, violence in the society still exist in all countries in the world due to un-modernized traditions and some religious beliefs, lack of regulatory and judiciary system, lack of sufficient education services coupled with the limitation of the state’s budget allocation for these sectors. In this regard, by joining together and make a review on the work that have been implemented in 2006 and to set directions for years to come that we are doing here is very important for eliminating all forms of violence in Cambodia.
Another noticeable point is that most victims of violence are women and children. Therefore, it is necessary to preserve our tradition and promote and sustain our cultural heritage and civilization and stop holding the view of falling asleep with the past or follow the old idea of «Let the situation goes the way it is» which is the proverb from our ancestors to improve the respect for morality and social norms as well as encouraging conservation and cultural development with reasonable nationalism and its modernization to parallel to the world trend, which is the work related to eliminating all forms of violence and to bring stability and peace for the Cambodian society. This important task requires the noble role of women because women are mothers and teachers of all human being in our world, especially, the crucial contribution of the Cambodian National Council for Women and relevant institutions in Cambodia.
In this sense, the Royal Government of Cambodia has been paying very close attention on key agendas including the establishment of the strategic policy institutions and many other development programs to enhance people living condition, especially, the status and welfare of women in the society.
For the last two terms of the government, Cambodia has overcome many challenges in the process of country rehabilitation and development after three decades of war. The war almost completely destroyed the bases of social, cultural, traditional and custom infrastructure and our religious belief, especially, human resource which is the main obstacle for development.
Indeed, We have already made a step forward to overcome those obstacles through the implementation of some actions for the development of human resources who are female, the valuable and equal resources compared to their male counterparts in contributing to the building of the economy and society through programs and other projects to strengthen women’s capacity in rural areas and all ministries. We also respond to the legal protection, health care, education and pay attention on gender in the national policy preparation. Indeed, these actions will also contribute in the achievement of the Government’s Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency and it also acknowledges that the «Women are the backbone of our economy and society». The Royal Government of Cambodia has given the high priority on the promotion of duties and social status of Cambodian women by implementing the gender Equity Strategy, building women’s capacity in all sectors, changing the social manner on women discrimination and guaranteeing women’s rights to be equal with men and their participation in the reconstruction and development of the country. I strongly believe that both civil society and national institutions have the will to eliminate all kinds of violence on women, notably to turn houses into warm shelters with harmony, full of honor, security, progresses and development for all women.
In this spirit, I really appreciate the Cambodian National Council for Women, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, ministries, institutions, local and international NGOs that have participated to promote the women’s rights and prosperity in order to achieve the poverty reduction for Cambodian people. At the same time, I would like to confirm that the elimination of violence in families and society, anti-human trafficking, the improvement of girl schooling registration, the promotion of motherhood and childhood’s health are our obligation. Women’s issues are not the burden for women alone but it is the common responsibility of all sectors, institutions and each individual. I used to mention that «helping women means helping ourselves» because women who are our grandmothers, mothers and wives are our primary lecturers who have provided education and caring to our children to become a person with virtue, moral, knowledge and benefits to our nation.
In these regards, I would like to appeal to all related ministries and institutions to continue their cooperation with theCambodian National Council for Women in order to improve the society toward equality, equity, opportunities, rights and equal benefit for women. The Royal Government of Cambodia understands clearly that there are a lot of tasks and duties to be done in order to achieve the targeted response to the gender equality in Cambodia as stated in the 2003 Cambodian Millennium Development Goals.
I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that the Royal Government has committed to the gender mainstreaming in the National Strategic Development Plan. This means that all ministries and institutions must check their plans and actions, determine direction, indicators and goals in order to response to the gender issues in each sector. Meanwhile, we should bear in mind that the action plan exists only in paper is not enough. There is a need to have real actions, especially to have enough resources in order to support the implementation of these actions. Therefore the Cambodian National Council for Womenmust be firmly prepared to seek the technical and financial assistances to guarantee that these jobs will be successful.
This is the most valuable occasion that the Cambodian National Council for Women organizes the 2006 stock-taking conference before the International Women’s Day, 8th of March, in order to recommend and set out the policy message in the upcoming 8th March as I have requested since 2005-2006. In this spirit, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I strongly support the result and direction that have been set by the Cambodian National Council for Women for the implementation in 2007. At the same time, I would like to participate and share my ideas and recommendations in order to strengthen and improve the current performance for the stable and strong Cambodian National Council for Women:
1st, all related ministries and institutions must continue to effectively implement the 9 recommendations by the Royal Government as stated in the Circular 611 dated on 18th April 2006 in which the Cambodian National Council for Women must continue to implement the recommendations by Her Majesty the Queen-Mother, Honorable Chairwoman of the Cambodian National Council for Women to widely disseminate the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and to monitor the national law enforcement in order to give recommendations to the Royal Government.
2nd, women’s issues are the multi-sectoral issues. Therefore, all related ministries and institutions with the technical groups that have been trained to be commentators, must concentrate on disseminating 42 suggestions of the “CEDAW” committee through its annual action plan and other measures in order to gradually eliminate gender gap in each sector and monitor the dissemination in villages, communes and districts.
3rd, Ministry of Justice must speed up the adoption of Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation and this law must be in accordance to the United Nations Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Woman and Child Abuse, Penal Code and Procedures in order to reach the adoption and effective implementation. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice must continue to strengthen the provincial and municipal courts and gather the information related to the human trafficking, rapes and violence in the families.
4th, the Cambodian National Council for Women and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs must continue to broadly implement and evaluate the Law on the Prevention of Violence in the Families and Victim Protection, to widely disseminate by all means, to train the law enforcement officials and to provide services to the victims. The Ministry of Interior must issue the Sub-Degree on the Intervention and the Administrative Decision which is the additional duties of the commune councils to support on the reduction of violence in families.
5th , the Ministry of Interior, provincial and municipal authorities must crack down and close all shows, sales of cassettes, CDs, VCDs and sexual Video that are the roots of dehumanized rapes. In order to effectively crack down and to punish those criminals, the Ministry of Justice must strictly adhere to Penal Code and draft Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation so that those offenders and associates will be punished by the level of their crimes.
6th, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training with the cooperation from Ministry of Women’s Affairs and NGOs must educate and train workers about their rights, Labor Law and legal self-protection right in case of violation as well as introducing them to all Cambodian Embassies in those countries before sending workers abroad and prepare a monitoring mechanism such as creating Labor Attache in every country which has Cambodian workers.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere thank to the Cambodian National Council for Women and its development partners for their efforts in setting the direction and policy for the implementation in 2007. I strongly believe that these documents are the crucial principles for all related ministries and institutions to apply in their policy preparation and to turn all of these recommendations into the real practices for the equitable and sustainable prosperity and progress in the framework of promoting the value and respect of women’s rights in Cambodia. I would like to take this opportunity to truly appreciate officials, participants in this meeting who have actively participated in the discussion and provided recommendations aiming at improving and developing the social sector in Cambodia, particularly to provide value and opportunities for the Cambodian women in order to fulfill the core role in the current and future socio-economic development.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere thank to You Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen who are the advisors of theCambodian National Council for Women, development partners, International Organizations and civil society for both technical and financial support to promote rights and status of women in Cambodia to accomplish such a prideful result. I would like to wish Her Royal Highness, Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the five gems of Buddhist blessing.