Your excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen
Today, my wife and I have a great honor and pleasure to join the celebration of the 16-day White Ribbon Campaign on Anti-Violence Against Women and Children organized by Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with Gender and Development for Cambodia and Cambodian Men’s Network with close cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and other relevant institutions.
In this auspicious occasion, on behalf of the Royal Government, my wife and myself, I would like to express my support and encouragement for this campaign to proceed in a way that widely disseminate the information on preventing and combating against all forms of violence in order to protect women and children from trafficking and sexual exploitation. Indeed, the campaign will also raise the understanding on the root causes of violence against women and children as well as recognize the changing role of men in fighting against the violence. Moreover, the campaign also reflects a key action for Cambodia in its journey to eradicate all forms of violence against women and children in order to build a nation full of security, safety and happiness both in the present and future.
At the same time, I honestly appreciate the achievement made by the Ministry of Women Affairs in promoting the roles and status of women as well as encouraging the change of attitude and views on discrimination against women in the society. These are the key factors contributing to economic and social development, especially for reducing poverty and upgrading the living standard of the people that are the main objectives of the Royal Government.
Cambodia has exerted utmost efforts for more than two decades in overcoming countless obstacles and challenges for rehabilitating and rebuilding the country from the prolonged war and the genocidal regime until achieving peace, national unity, democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and their dignities. These were mainly done to develop the Cambodian socio-economy toward a sustainable progress and prosperity with the objective of ensuring Cambodia’s control of its destiny and to be able to equally participate in all regional and international affairs as a country that was once being respected and recognized by others.
Not only that the three decades of prolonged war did in fact almost completely destroyed the hard infrastructure including roads, schools, and hospitals, but it also demolished the soft infrastructure such as the legal system and institutions as well as causing a massive change in the morality and mindset of Cambodians.
Indeed, during the last decade, the Royal Government of Cambodia has placed tremendous effort in restoring all types of infrastructure in all sectors in Cambodia. However, our experiences revealed that the rebuilding of physical infrastructure including roads, schools and hospitals is, indeed easier and quicker to realize comparing to the rebuilding of the soft infrastructure such as the mindset, legal system, the respect for human rights and their dignities, and the discrimination against women etc. which requires a lot of time to recover.
Therefore, the Royal Government is determined in changing its attitudes and rethinking its views on discriminating against women and put an end to domestic violence as well as combating against human trafficking through the effort of protecting women in the legal sector in order to provide enough opportunity for them to equally participate in all sort of social works. In this sense, the Royal Government has paid very close attention in the building the capacity for women, ensuring their rights and opportunity in receiving healthcare, education, professional training, economic resources as well as their equal participation in the socio-economic development and legal protection so that they can be protected from violence, trafficking, rape and many other forms of violence. Another importance thing that we are paying attention to is to increase and maximize the proportion of women’s participation at all level of national institutions, that is from the central all the way to local level.
Currently, we recognize that violence on women still exist at all classes in the society of every country around the world. Moreover, the violence against women and children which includes physical and mental torturing within and outside the family circle, women trafficking and sexual abuses, is not the issues of a few people or a family, but also the issues of a whole nation since it is after all the abuse of human right and it violates the constitution. It is clear that violence against women not only resulted in women being tortured by inhuman act, loosing their dignities and respects, but it also force them to live in an unequal status as men in the family, community, and society which impede the women participation in the socio-economic development.
The 16-Day White Ribbon Campaign on Anti-Violence Against Women and Children is the actual implementation in restoring and improve the vulnerability situation of women and children that the Royal Government has always been implementing with active participation from relevant institutions, civil society and national and international NGOs. Indeed, in its “Rectangular Strategy”, the Royal Government has stressed that “women are the backbone of our economy and society” and reiterated that “children are our next generation”, the future of the national that need close attention, especially on their rights of living and their access to education and health.
In this regards, the abuse and violence against women and children is the destruction of the national economy and society’s foundation as well as a self-destruction as always been mentioned in this campaign before such as “ending the violence against women and children will bring about the development for family, community and the nation”, “ending the violence against women allows women to effectively participate in development”, “the violence against women is not the way to solve the problem, but to make it worse.”
The topic being raised here is similar to what I have pointed out in the speech at the International Family Day which was held in May 15, 2006 that “if the family is broken, its economic status will be in trouble, this in turn will create serious problems and difficulties for the development of the country. Thus, having a good society and a developed country requires nurturing and improving the family’s education so that the people can be united with good moral and possess appropriate knowledge to address the unexpected challenges and to acquire sufficient capacity in improving their living standard”.
Generally, in the society we often talk about promoting the women’s role by considering that Women have significant role to play in various activities. More importantly, we always consider women as our grandmother, mother, wife, first teacher who provide education and take care of our children so that they can become a person with moral and knowledge and a person that is beneficial for our society. Because of all these we can conclude that women play a very significant role; they are the mother of all mankind in the world; and they are the potential labor force, which is reflected through their direct or indirect contributions in increasing the family’s income and contributing to the national economic growth.
In this sense, to transform the consideration of women’s role into reality, we must work together to promote the women’s living standard through maintaining the tradition, respecting the moral, norm, and dignity of the nation. At the same time, we must jointly prevent and eradicate all forms of violence in the family and society by totally combating against the abuses and trafficking on women and children, encouraging children participation in school and improving the children and infants’ health by giving value to the notion that “children are our next generation” and “women are the backbone of our economy and society”.
Meanwhile, I would like to confirm that the campaign against the violence on women and children is not the government’s sole responsibility, but the collective duties of all sectors, institutions, communities, families as well as each individual to build a society for Cambodia without violence and the trafficking on women and children. Indeed, to eradicate these negative incidents is not an easy task that can be achieve immediately since it requires permanent cooperation from all sectors.
However, I would like to highlight that based on the adopted laws and those that are being discussed relating to human trafficking and the use of violence on women and children, we still taking firm action in punishing the offenders and will not allow those who abuses the law to be let out free. In this spirit, may I appeal all institutions- legislative, executive and judiciary as well as all civil societies to closely cooperate with one another in order to eliminate and eradicate all forms of violence, especially domestic violence, the violence on women and children and to further support this campaign.
I would also like to appeal to all women to help themselves and highly value their self-esteem and call for all men to consider that helping women means helping themselves. Finally, I would like to appeal to the whole society to do everything it can for the children’ s future since they will become our successors for many generations to come.
Once again, I would like to declare my support and appreciation for the Ministry of Women’s affairs and all the concerned institutions-ministries, especially the Gender and Development for Cambodia and Cambodian Men’s Network for organizing this 16-day of White Ribbon Campaign on Anti-Violence Against Women and Children, which will be served as a tool to protect our women and children from all forms of violence.
May I also express my gratitude to the ministries, institutions, development partners, private sector, civil society, national and international organization for their supports and contributions in promoting the women’s status and role in the economic, education, and health sectors, protection the victim of domestic violence and human trafficking or other sectors relating to social and cultural development in Cambodia.
Finally, may I wish you all with the Five Germs of Buddha’s Blessings. May I now declare the opening of the 16-Day White Ribbon Campaign on Anti-Violence Against Women and Children from now on and wish this campaign with great success.