The theme of this year’s International Children’s Day was “Together protect children to develop family and society,” and the government solidified its commitment to protecting the rights of children in Cambodia - particularly against economic and sexual exploitation - as stipulated in the Convention on Child Rights. TdH NL Cambodia both attended the event and contributed financially, along with other NGOs based in the country, to show its support for CNCC and solidify its mission to protect the children of Cambodia.
The event served as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of protecting children’s rights and also gave children a chance to express concerns pertaining to their human rights through art, dance and performances and have those concerns addressed by government and implementing partners at national levels.
Cambodia still lags behind its Asian counterparts in protecting the rights of its children. According to global report, End of Childhood: The Many Faces of Exclusion released by Save the Children where countries are scored on their ability to protect their children, Cambodia fell two places to 119th out of the 175 countries analysed, while neighbouring Thailand was ranked at 85, Vietnam 96, the Philippines 104 and Indonesia 105.
Nhep Sopheap, Secretary General of CNCC reported that 3,400 people attended the event, including, government officials, national and international NGOs, local community members and children. Men Sam An - Deputy Prime Minister and High Representative of Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia was in attendance, while the Prime Minister shared his remarks in an open letter to Cambodians to mark the day. “Children are the most significant human resource for the future of national development. We must protect [them] for the development of families and the nation.”
Changing times present challenges to keep the Convention relevant for new generations. It will take significant awareness and action from individuals and organisations to ensure that government keeps the promise of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for all Cambodian children.