Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I very much welcome this opportunity to present the consensus of the development partners regarding the Royal Government of Cambodia’s achievements concerning gender equality.
Domestic Violence takes a serious toll on Cambodia. 64% of the population recorded knowing a husband who has abused his wife according to the Baseline Violence Against Women conducted in 2005. According to the same survey 16% of those who experienced violence lost one month income. This indicates that this widespread phenomenon is a women’s rights as well as a poverty issue.
The Royal Government has documented many times that women have equal rights being entitled to the equitable distribution of economic resources, equal opportunity to participate in socio-economic development, to substantive participation at all levels in institutions of governance and to equitable legal protection. Therefore, the government has firmly committed itself to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 3 and its overall target 8 “Reduce significantly all forms of violence against women and children” including the development and implementation of laws against all forms of violence against women and children according to international standards by 2005.
This verbal commitment has been followed by several positive actions, such as the adoption of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of the Victim. We, therefore, applaud the efforts of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to implement this law. Whereas large parts of the population know about the adoption of the law, the essential regulation to implement the law on the local level has still not been approved. The Ministry of Interior has the obligation to provide the mandatory sub-decree for an effective and operational security system. We encourage the Royal Government of Cambodia to adopt the instructions for commune and village chiefs to effectively protect victims of domestic violence where they most need it – in their local community. We also welcome the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women. The National Action Plan addresses the complex and multiple root causes of violence against women including gender inequality, educational failure, lacking legal regulation and the abuse of power. However, the Plan - as it has been launched recently-, is only a framework. Therefore, we request that this important policy paper is made operational as a joint effort of all concerned ministries.
Another aspect of the Royal Government’s commitment to combat violence against women concerns the very pressing issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We very much appreciate the recent establishment of the “National Task Force to Combat Trafficking” and the “Agreement on Guidelines for Practices on Cooperation between the Relevant Government Institutions and Victim Support Agencies in Cases of Human Trafficking”. Regarding the long awaited Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation I want to expressively thank the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for its vigorous advocacy to enhance the draft law’s compliance with international conventions and their protocol as well as the compliance with the draft Penal Code. However, I want to insistently request to ensure that this draft law is further reviewed in order to avoid severe legal shortfalls, especially with regard to offenses related to child pornography.
As development partners, we all are committed to partnering the outstanding issues to best complete an effective strategy to combat violence by adopting the urgently needed legislation and comprehensive action plans. Thank you.