Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Excellency Mr. David De Beer, Special Adviser to the European Commission, Project Manager EU/ASAC,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
National and International Guests,
Dear Beloved Citizen, Teachers and Students!
Today, I am most delighted and honored to join you all in this “Flame of Peace” ceremony, concluding the cooperation between the National Commission for Reform of Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Management with EU/ASAC (European Union Assistance on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Cambodia) in Kandal province.
At the outset, I would like to highly appreciate the outcome of the close cooperation between the National Commission for Reform of Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Management with EU/ASAC, which have successfully accomplished many programs as planned, such as the Drafting Weapon Law Project, Project on Exchange of Weapons for Development, Weapons Destruction Project, Public Education Programme, Awareness of Law on Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Project; Safe Weapon Registering Project and Peace Concert Project and many others.
Moreover, I would like indicate that the effective outcomes of above projects have reduced the possession of illegal weapons and also help to strengthen weapon management in Royal Cambodia Armed Forces, National Police and development of local infrastructure which represent a factor contributing to poverty reduction of our people.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to deeply appreciate the EU/ASAC as well as all the countries that have provided aid to Cambodia for the successful implementation of this ASAC Program. I would like also to take this opportunity to sincerely commend the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, National Police’s Commission, local authorities at all levels, citizen as well as national and international organizations who have supported and actively cooperated in seizing explosives and weapons.
Today celebration of the “Flame of Peace” ceremony to conclude the cooperation between the National Commission for Reform of Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Management with the EU/ASAC is apparently being held in a time when our country is enjoying a full peace. At the same time, economic and social stability, establishment of rule of law, practice of democracy, respecting human right and development have been continuously strengthened and expanded.
Indeed, after the war ended in Cambodia, the whole country has agreed upon peace, and stability has been strengthened, however there are still some insecurities caused by the illegal use of fire arms. This requires the Royal Government to take further actions in strengthening social security in order to ensure a prestigious state, security and safety for the people. For instance, the ending of all types of weaponry possession is a new measure which aims mainly at stopping both legal and illegal weapons to be circulated on the street and in the public.
Moreover, since the national event of destroying heavy weaponry which was held at the Olympic Stadium on the 5th April, 1996 in Phnom Penh; it has made many other following campaigns on destroying and burning fire arms across the country. Recently, a campaign on burning fire arms is organized under the slogan “Flame of Peace”. Together with the effort of seizing and destroying weapons and explosives, the Royal Government has been determined to strengthen the capacity and establishing new strategies for security forces to provide safety environment for our people, and that would requires active participation from the whole nation. The Royal Government has also created the National Commission and established a strong country wide network, in order to better lead and effectively implement and manage issues related to weapons and explosives, such as the manual and computer-based registration of all type of weapons and explosives, building safety warehouses for weapons and explosives, destruction of fire arms, inspecting and collecting information on circulation of weapons and explosive materials and implementation of the law.
The fruitful outcomes as mentioned above not only brings positive changes for the politics, security, and social order in Cambodia, but it has also made the international communities to express their keen interest in providing strong support through provision of funding and technical assistance, specially, with a good partner such as the EU/ASAC.
Another aspect needs to be mentioned is that even though Cambodia is a small country and just came out of the prolong war, it has the idea and willingness to stop the weapon trafficking and has been seizing, destroying, controlling and managing weapons and explosive on its own. Thus, the assistance from the EU/ASAC has been an enormous encouragement for the effort made by Cambodia which makes it very well known as a leading country in addressing the small arms and light weapons related issues.
At the same time, the national security situation across the country in general is in a state where it makes a good progress while other countries in the region and the world are facing with insecurity problems and are currently under the imminent threat of terrorism. For instance, during the last few years in Cambodia, steps related to strengthening stability, safety and security for the society and the people across the country have been achieved with a great and valuable success for Cambodians that have experienced prolonged war as well as horrifying tragedy.
Even though we attained the aforementioned proudest achievements, in reality we have not rooted out activities that dilute the climate of security and public order. Obviously, issue of living standard and wrong-doing acts in the society negatively impacts security and public order, for example weaken social morality and the spread of foreign culture gangster’s practices, miss-link between education institutions to community, poverty and loophole of and less effectiveness of law enforcement. These reasons and challenges highlight that strengthening security and public order cannot be ensured by using only national police force, but require cooperation from all national institutions, communities and citizens as well as law enforcement mechanism to bring stability, security and public order.
Within the four years that the world has addressed the issues of small arms and light weapons following the action plan of the United Nations, we are also under another new risk, stemming from small arms and light weapons, that is terrorism. All those weapons are the great threat to the security, safety and stability of many countries and in the region, especially today those weapons transformed to be a source of thoughtless violence and international terrorism. In this connection, Cambodia has made its best and ability to cooperate with international framework and to safeguard the country as well. Under the framework, we have utilized some important measures such as preparation of amendment law against terrorism and passed a law allowing Cambodia to be a member of conventions and protocols related to preventive measures against terrorism. It certainly will contribute not only to prevention of weapons trafficking and cross-border crime in the region, but also improve the effectiveness of weapons management in Cambodia.
On behalf of the Royal of Cambodia, I would like to recommend all relevant institutions, Royal Armed Forces, National Police and all hierarchy authorities and appeal to our citizens to participate in enforcing the following activities:
First—Continue enhancing responsibility in strengthening security, safety, stability, rule of law and public order in order to facilitate development of economy and society as well as to reduction poverty.
Second—Improve effectiveness in prevention all-sort of crime, especially homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, drug using and trafficking, women and children trafficking and other forms of offences that threaten social order.
Third—Continue cooperation with national and international communities to increase co-operation in prevention and fighting against terrorism and subversion acts, both within and outside the country.
Fourth—Strictly enforce the law on weapons, explosive and ammunitions that adopted by the National Assembly on April 26, 2006.
Fifth—Strengthen weapons and ammunitions management in armed forces, especially limiting the use of weapons in only necessary situation while keeping the weapons in the safest place. All offenses connecting with weapons must be addressed rigorously with the applied rule of law.
Sixth—Continue to search, seek and seize all kind of weapons and ammunitions that left over from the war and which is hided illegally to be destroyed. At the same time, it must increases the check-and-control prevention and timely cracking down on weapons and ammunitions trafficking from one region to another.
Seventh—I urge our people to understand that weapons are tools and main sources that motivate violence, crime and affecting security, social safety and daily life of our citizens in particular. Therefore, hand-over and provide information on weapons hidden place to the authorities are the contribution in protecting happiness, peace and safe of ourselves, our family, community and society as a whole.
For civil servants, militants, police officers, military polices that allow having handgun according to new sub-decree; those weapons must be properly safeguarded, avoiding children, relatives or friends to use it for other purposes.
On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like again to express my sincere thanks to the European Union, and personally toMr. David De Beer, Project Manager of EU/ASAC, for all the support to the projects in Cambodia, aiming at controlling and managing small arms and light weapons that bring about peace, security, national development as well as contribute to the regional and global security. Finally, I wish you all the five gems of Buddhist blessing.