Friday, April 2, 2010

Keynote Address at the Closing of the Stocktaking Conference of the 2009 Anti-Drug Achievement and Direction Setting for 2010

Phnom Penh, March 17th, 2010

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!

It is my pleasure today to be here once again with Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in the closing of the stocktaking conference of the 2009 anti-drug achievement and direction setting for 2010 which is hosted by the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD). Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to commend the national police force, military police force, related ministries/institutions, all levels of sub-national authorities, development partners, civil organizations, and the private sector for their firm commitment and sacrifice that result in many significant achievements in 2009.

Along with this, I would also like to commend His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, Head of NACD, and Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen the management and officials of NACD for working tirelessly to crack down drug trafficking in Cambodia. We take great pride in the achievements of NACD, in particular, in terms of policy implementation and international cooperation in the effort of sub-regional, regional and global integration. These activities represent the right direction of the nation’s top anti-drug institution, attested by the introduction of strategies to: 1. Reduce demand, 2. Reduce supply, 3. Provide health and rehabilitation services, and promote integration, 4. Strengthen law enforcement, 5. And strengthen international cooperation. Apart from being an appropriate and comprehensive response, these strategies also address multi-sectoral issues and require contribution from the whole society, both at national and sub-national levels, to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.

To reflect the spirit of the above strategy, I would like take note of some achievements as follows:

1. Reducing the demand for drugs: following my appeal at the appointment of the head of NACD on 19th May 2009 and at the International Anti-Drug Day on 26th June 2009, I noticed tighter and better cooperation amongst related ministries/institutions such as the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and the Committee for National and International Festivals and so forth. Along with this, we also notice better participation from the private sector, both in terms of resources and advertisement means, especially radio and TV stations. These reflect valuable contribution to disseminating the danger of drugs and reducing demand. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank and commend related ministries, development partners, private entities, and actors and actresses for playing their parts. However, some member ministries/institutions have failed to fully participate in the effort to reduce the demand of drugs. Also, some municipal/provincial anti-drug committees have not fully engaged the private sector and partners within their responsible zones to reduce the demand of drugs.

2. Combating the supply of narcotic drugs. So far we observed that national competence force including the national police, military police and relevant institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, especially the Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Environment who had taken measures to actively enforce law and made a number of successful cases related to failing many attempts to take Cambodia as the manufacturing site and trading place. At the same time, the Ministry of Environment and the Forestry Administration had also effectively cracked down the trafficking and trading of sassafras oil that is used as raw material for manufacturing of narcotic drugs. According to the finding, we can noted that trade behavior of the criminals has become more fierce, and some of them even dared to fight back with law enforcement officers and some of our officers were killed on duty. Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly value the exemplary courage of all forces and to express my regrets and pay condolences to the deceased’s families. Moreover, our crackdowns so far had been made against only big cases such as the manufacturing, trafficking and trading of narcotics; while cases of small-scale distribution at locality has still been overlooked and has not been actively and strictly combated in conciliated manner. These cases have provided youths who are not aware of the danger and the adverse impact of drugs with the chance to experiment drugs and cause anarchy, destroy public order and affect local security, and therefore our human resource will be destroyed from one generation to another.

3. Treatment, rehabilitation from drug and integration. So far we had paid great attention to and thought of ways to save drug-victims by establishing temporary centers for dilution, treatment and education in municipality-provinces including those at municipal-provincial committees for drug control, military police unit, police unit as well as at civil society organizations. At the same time, to encourage and support them to undertake dilution and treatment service, and reeducate them to be a better youth, we observed that there are great care full of compassions provided by venerable monks, Her Excellency Doctor Bun Rany Hun Sen, president of Cambodian Red Cross and other leaders, the kind-hearted people aiming at enable them to recover fast and reunion with their family in order to continue education and resume their professions. Nevertheless, all of our drug rehabilitation centers still not yet have any role model strategy for providing dilution and treatment services to drug victims in accordance with appropriate medical standard.

This problem has made some victims hesitate to receive treatment and caused some irresponsible and conscienceless human rights organizations, to take the opportunity to avoid finding solution to the problem and also attack our humanitarian efforts and spirit. Taking this opportunity, I would like to recommend the National Authority for Combating Drug, all related ministries and institutions, local authorities and relevant competent authorities in all levels to pay attention and closely cooperate in order to implement the above programs more effectively to achieve the success for our society.

The Royal Government of the 4th Legislature of the National Assembly has considered that the production, plantation, drugs trafficking are the 13th challenge among the 17 challenges in implementing its Rectangular Strategy-Phase II due to the fact that this drug issue has become the social problem affecting the Cambodian youth at the present time and in the future. In this spirit, in order to deal with the challenges as well as fully and effectively promoting the implementation of the national strategic plan of the NACD, I would like to suggest and put out a number of recommendations as follows:

1. Drug Reduction Affairs

This work is truly significant and it is therefore required to make sure that all people are well aware of danger and negative impact of the drugs in order that they can avoid the drugs because they all do not need drugs. The need of drugs is not unavoidable if we can do whatever to make all individuals know clearly about the danger of drugs. For this kind of work, I would like all related ministries, institutions, units of the state and of the private sector of physical and legal persons, to have less or more obligations to participate in the dissemination in order to make the people in public aware of the drug danger as below:

- All related institutions, national and international civil societies, and private sector must continue to support and cooperate closely and actively in implementing my recommendations raised during the transfer ceremony of Chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs on 19 May 2009 and during the International Day against Drugs on 26 June 2009.

- The ministries/institutions that have not participated in the activity must try their best in disseminating the education information about danger of drugs as much as possible. For example, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy can request the company to publish the education documents about danger of drugs on their products such on the drinking water bottles, gooks package and other facilities. At the same time, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Publics works and Transport are able to request the travel agencies and tourist transport owners to inform the passengers in the long distance travelling buses through action like sticking the drugs message on the buses or play the drugs education spots through video...etc. Other Ministries and institutions also have to tack action at the same time in order to make sure that all people under their competency understand better about danger of drugs. In this connection, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts must continue to require all productions to put the commercial spots about drugs education in all tapes before approving the license for operation.

- The Municipal/Provincial Committee for Drugs Control must control and use their utmost ability to encourage the extensive education all over their towns and provinces. In the meantime, they must promote the commune councils to participate in the drugs education in their locality and community constantly at least once a month for each village.

- The Municipal/Provincial Committee for Drugs Control must prepare to create village, communes, schools and model units (e.g. Techo Development Village is a No Drugs Village). At the same time, we must select the eldest who is more influential in the village to help educate and disseminate the information about the danger of drugs to the children in his/her village.

- All sponsors and parents must control and investigate the academic program of their children regularly by checking the student investigation books and closely cooperate with the teachers in charge.

- All media systems, state-owned and private radios and TV stations as well as the various journalisms should help disseminate and educate further as drizzling rain.

- All mobile phone companies should reconsider about the possibility of texting the educational messages about the danger of drugs to their customers during the traditional festivals and other special days such as Khmer New Year, International New Year, Weekend and other International Holidays (by just saying: Please tell your loved ones about the danger of drugs or the drugs destroy your future, families and society).

2. Drug Reduction Affairs

I have always received the information about small scale drugs trafficking acts for daily use that happen almost constantly in the down town, district/khan of a number of cities/provinces, yet these case have not been tremendously cracked down yet. In this situation, although the case of selling and buying of drugs is small scale, it truly caused the anarchy and insecurity in the locality and affects the social order. This problem has made the people in the community unhappy with the RGC and it is also one of the obstacles to implement the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II of the RGC. Therefore, I would like to recommend as follows:

- All levels of competent authorities must suppress the drugs criminal acts intensively and more actively in both small and large scale

- The Ministry of Justice and the Court must punish the Drugs Criminals seriously and according to the level of law without toleration

- All law enforcement forces must cooperate with the National police force, Military Police Forces and the Ministry of Justice and the Court in order to arrest the criminals and the people behinds to go for trial and prosecution conforming to their criminal acts by not having understanding and must not tolerate, in any means, the intervention made by whoever.

- The Chairman of the Municipal/Provincial Council and the Chairman of the Committee to Control the Drugs in the municipalities and provinces, on behalf of the Unit Forces Commander, must use forces to implement the law in all institution within their competencies in order to crackdown and eliminate the plantation, production, trafficking and use of drugs in their territories. They must do this kind of work constantly like drizzling rain in their town, district/khan, commune/sangkat and village.

- For the sake of sustainability and efficiency, the chairman of the Committee to control the Drugs in the municipalities and provinces must strengthen again the secretariat and the permanent officials as soon as possible.

- The law enforcement officials and all levels of local authorities must abide by the professional ethics and the state law strictly. They must not get involved in any criminal acts and must not tolerate or understand any individual who takes the opportunity to use their roles to commit crimes or back up the other criminals, but implement the law strictly.

3. Treatment, rehabilitation and integration of drug addicts

For the effectiveness and sustainability of destroying drugs, treatment and rehabilitation of victims of drug usage, I would like to make recommendations as follow:

- The National Anti-Drug Authority must establish National Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation for Drug Addiction which I had already approved during the Handover Ceremony of the New Chairman of the NACD as soon as possible to reduce the number of centers we already have today. At the same time, the NACD must also cooperate with other relevant ministries, institutions to prepare related documents such as the National Policy on Treatment and Rehabilitation, minimum requirements in treatment and rehabilitation, medical treatment and rehabilitation for drug addicts.

- The Ministry of Health must have dilution, treatment and consultancy services for drug addicts on voluntary basis at general, specialized, provincial, district hospitals and health centers so that the drug victims could access to services conveniently. At the same time, the Ministry of Health must help to strengthen and provide any necessary health services to the temporary Dilution, Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers we have today, to improve health services and to ensure the effectiveness of dilution and treatment at those centers by working closely with nearby health centers, operational hospitals and referral hospitals.

- The NACD must try to establish Consultative Working Group on Dilution, Treatment for Drug Addicts at target areas in communes –Sangkat to reduce the number of interim centers we have today. In addition, I would like to appeal to all parents, guardians of drug victims to take them for dilution and treatment, to help them on time. Please do not let your children under severe drug addictions.

I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to all development partners to continue support projects of the NACD, not only to manage and control the drug uses in Cambodia, but to help in law implementation, to reduce other risks, especially the HIV/AIDS transmission that caused by drug usage.

My advice and recommendations mentioned above is to contribute to direction and action plan of the NACD which you all discussed and agreed at this important conference.

Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I strongly believe on the will and commitment of Excellencies, and colleagues and all partners of the NACD to implement the advice and action plan for 2010 successfully for the development, prosperity and happiness for our people.

Being convinced and during the closing of this 2009 Stocktaking Conference and Direction-Setting for 2010 of the NACD, May I wish Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen on the upcoming Khmer New Year Days with Four Gems of Buddhist Blessings.

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