Royal University of Phnom Penh, March 4, 2010
Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is a pleasure for me and my wife to be here to celebrate the 99th Anniversary of the International Women’s Day, a joyous event for all women in Cambodia, as well as across the globe, to recall women’s lengthy fight for equal status, role, responsibility and treatment compared to men. This event reflects our joint commitment to promoting and encouraging women to participate in all sectors and steer them clear from vulnerabilities, but towards harmonization and hope.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to commend the management and officials of all ministries, institutions, local authorities and armed forces for their particular attention to promoting the status, role and living standard of the women to enhance their capacity and ability in the society. Along with this, I would like to thank diplomatic corps, development partners and agencies, national and international organizations, civil society, and all related institutions for the concerted support aimed at promoting women’s rights and contribution. Women’s improved role is indeed crucial to poverty reduction effort as “Women are the Mothers of the World”, women play a big role in raising and guiding the children. They also participate fiercely in family production to promote the living standard, drive economic efficiency and participate in all angles of social development. According to this, women development is a key to all other development efforts.
This event reflects the Royal Government’s political will and firm commitment to promoting women and ensuring equality between men and women in Cambodian society. Achieving this will allow us to develop human capacity and enhance productivity, which are the main foundation of family system and social justice. In short, bravery and dynamism of women ensure sustained and equitable development in the society, whereas discrimination against women participation in socio-economic activities is deemed underdeveloped culture and unacceptable to the present world. Any discrimination, violence and trafficking suffered by women is not just a pain for a single woman, single family or single community, but it is a tragedy for the whole society.
Promoting women’s capacity and ability is a priority, attested by the Royal Government’s slogan that goes “women are the backbone of the economy and society”. This is also embedded in the capacity and human development agenda of the Rectangular Strategy that strive to streamline gender equality to promote women’s rights to health services, education services, trainings, job opportunities, independent income generation, legal protection, and elimination of discrimination against women. Along with this, the Royal Government is paying particular attention to increasing female share in the all level of national institutions and organizations to enable them to participate in decision-makings, formulation of development plans, and governance at both national and sub-national levels, especially in the promotion of social morality, the value of women and families and the elimination of domestic violence and trafficking of women which devalue women’s dignity and happiness. In this spirit, I would like to once again urge the private sector and national and international organizations to keep on encouraging women and give them greater opportunity to ensure gender equity, productivity improvement and socio-economic development.
Moreover, to achieve the above vision, the Royal Government has formulated an array of policies and programs such as the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals, the National Strategic Development Plan and sectoral policies and plans to underpin and respond to the needs of women and families in all sectors. Among those, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Cambodian National Council for Women and the National Committee for the Promotion of Social Morality, Women and Family Value, implementing agencies of the Royal Government, are in charge of implementing, monitoring, and reviewing gender equality policy which aims at reducing poverty incidence and gradually eliminating and violence discrimination against women.
The report by the Minister of Women’s Affairs has shown that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs together with the Cambodian National Council for Women and the National Committee for Promoting Social Morality, Women’s Value and Khmer Families, Development Partners, Civil Societies as well as private sectors have actively implemented the 5 years strategic planning “Neary Rattanak-III” in order to solve any issues faced by the women and achieve the objective of Gender Equality, welfare enhancement, education, encouragement of the participation and capacity building. Taking this opportunity I would like to admire all these efforts for the cause of improving women conditions according to the spirit and goal of Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government. At the same time, I have also noted that this “Anniversary of the International Women’s Day, 8th March 2010” the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the organizing committee have agreed to select a topic of “Jointly Improving Women’s and Youth Potential for Social Development” which is in line with the participation by women in the world. In this connection, I would like to sincerely support this topic because beside women youth is another important group to improve economic and socio-cultural conditions, tradition, and customs of Cambodia. We have also been aware that youth are successors, who are now more than half of the Cambodian population, and they are still students, tertiary student, workers, employees and all kinds of service providers, who are essential labor forces with potential for the future of the country.
The achievement we have received truly result from the tireless efforts in order to rebuild and construct the foundation for all kinds of development including the capacity building of women from the ash of the Genocidal Khmer Rouge. After the Genocidal regime Cambodia has been renovated in all sectors, which include physical infrastructure and human resources as well as culture, tradition, customs, religious belief, family value and social morality.
Today, the globalization has brought about sharp and broader communication between country and country, region and region in socio-economic sector and physical infrastructure, that can accelerate the speed of national development. But the current of the globalization has brought about a number of challenges that may have negatively affected the culture, tradition and national identity. Those negative effects include cross border crimes, richness in drugs, gang activities, and distribution of pornographic pictures, which could instantly affect the youth attitude, immoral acts, unaware of family value, violence, violation, all kinds of cheating, misconduct performance, which affect health, lives, social order, families, communities and the whole nation. All these issues will bring about difficulties affecting the public security, social order and people’s safety, especially women, children and youth. In response to these challenges, the Royal Government has been struggling to solve the issues by strengthening governance, urging the implementation of public administrative reform, public finance, justice and private sector development. As a result, various laws to protect women including “ Prevention of Family Violence and Victims Protection”, law on “Human Trafficking and Prostitution”, “New Penal Code and Criminal Legal Procedure” “SID Convention and Protocol according to the choice of the SID Convention ” etc have been adopted. Beside this, in education sector the Royal Government has been implementing Educational Policy for all and All for Education and the increase of scholarship numbers aiming to promote the enrolment rate all youth in all levels.
The Royal Government has been trying to reduce the gender equity through the increasing the enrolment rates of girls. In health sector, the Royal Government has increased the primary health service, sexual health and malnutrition and the prevention of AIDS epidemic. Along with that, the Royal Government has paid attention to increase the roles of women in the economic sector in order to make sure that women have ability and roles to contribute more in the management and decision making of all level of the governance. We should also note that the proportion of female members of the parliament increased from 5.83% in 1993 to 21.13% in 2008, female members of the commune councils increased from 9.49% in 2002 to 15.12% in 2007, female members of municipalities, province, districts /khans represent 12.36% in 2009 and 29.38% of village leaders are women, 24 women are municipal/provincial deputy governors and 197 are district/khan deputy governors. The Royal Government will continue implementing various policies to increase opportunities for female students’ enrollment by providing scholarships specifically to women, various training programs by providing safety accommodation to women and continue to implement the policy of increasing female teachers. The Royal Government still continues to focus on providing training to women at all level and expanding job opportunities for women.
The Royal Government has also been paying high attention on the challenges faced by youth in which their voices have been put into the policies through proving them opportunities to prepare the national and sub-national policies. Along with that, the Royal Government has been trying to insert the people’s policy into the socio-economic economic policy, plan and various programs in all levels and have set necessary measures by defining education and health development sector, gender equity and rural development as objectives of priority and job creation. These measures will transform the youth to be significantly driving forces for the national development in all sectors. In sum, all these works will contribute to achieve the vision in the leadership of Cambodia with sustainability, political stability, security and social order with sustainable and equitable development and with strict respect to the principles of democracy as well as the respect of human rights and dignity, consisting of highly educated people with suitable living standard sustainable harmonization in the society and families. In this connection, the selection of the above topic is right and suitable to the context of Cambodia as well as in the region. On behalf of myself, I would like to support every educational activity to promote and protect women as well as Cambodian youth in order to make sure that their situation changes from poverty vulnerability to bravery and progress and become the valuable and highly potential human resources for the national development.
In this precious day, I would like to congratulate and highly appreciate the women and youth who have had leading achievement, in which including the Red Cross Youth in building reputation for the nation and play as a role model for women and other youth. Once again, I would like to thank the state-owned institutions, development partners, private sector, civil society and national and international organizations, who have supported in fulfilling works and closely cooperating with the state institutions, that have dealt with the social works in upgrading the women’s and youth’s socio-economic situation as well as contributing to the poverty reduction of the people. In this spirit, I would like to appeal to the ministries/institution, private sector, development partners and agencies, national and international organizations, communities and families and all people in all corner of the country to continue this good cooperation and upgrade the women’s and youth’s potential and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and impunity for the sake of rights, dignity, justice, and happiness of the human being as a whole and the socio-economic development in order to contribute to the poverty alleviation of our people. I would like to partly appeal to all Cambodian women and youth to put further efforts in developing their capacities for the progress and new success in the future.
Before ending, I would like to wish the King Father, the Queen Mother and King Norodom Sihamoni of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who have always paid high attention to the children and grandchildren, especially to the women and children, physical strength, longevity in order that the king can stay as a peaceful shelter for the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
At the end, I would like to wish the “99th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2010” under the topic of “Jointly Promoting Women’s and Youth Potential for Social Development” for the progress of Cambodian women as well as women all over the world and get away from vulnerability and live with harmonization and hope in lives and all youth will become true successor, and I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, especially all Cambodian women the four Gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health, and Strength.