Sunday, March 13, 2011

Address at the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the International Women's Day March 8

(March 07, 2011)

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today, my wife and I are very pleased to be here to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the March - 8 InternationalWomen's Day. The people across the country are also celebrating this anniversary. I believe the event will strengthen and expand our partnership with national and international institutions on the areas of gender equity, elimination of discrimination and violence against women, enhancement of women's ownership and social welfare.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise the Ministry of Women's Affairs and related ministries/institutions, NGOs and associations for the hard work in enhancing women's value and role in socio-economic activities and eliminating violence and discrimination against women. I would also like to commend the National Council for Women, National Commission for Promoting Social Morality, Women's Value and Khmer Families, and the Cambodian Red Cross for the active involvement to address women's challenges, to support women's enhancement programs and to encourage them to participate in socio-economic activities.
I would also like to thank the development partners, civil society and private sector for providing financial and mental support in the campaign.

On behalf of the Royal Government, my wife and I myself, would like to pay tribute to all women for their bravery in fighting obstacles to attain good likelihood, rights, power, status to move out of vulnerability and achieve social harmony. 100 years of women's hard work have brought about the change in human behavior and recognition of women's potential, egalitarian status, and opportunity to serve in economic activities. The celebration of this event does not imply that we have just started to recognize women's value. According to this history and social facts, women have received particular attention and been highly valued. The claim is further strengthened by the historical fact that Cambodia has been a maternal society and some educational proverbs such as “insulting own mothers equals insulting god”, “rice enhance land, women enhance men” and so forth. Along with this, we all acknowledge that Khmer women are dignified and gentle. They can be good mothers or good older sisters. They are working as employees and employers. Their jobs range from political positions, judicial positions to private sector. Cambodia indeed fully acknowledges women's capability, knowledge, skills, advantage and potentials that can be used as important input in socio-economic development, as we have always stated that “women are the backbone of the economy and society”.

In our past celebration of Women's Day, we always recalled the long history of women's fight for rights and power, equal opportunity for employment, likelihood, social status and role to prepare new strategies and activities to respond to these problems. In particular, this year's theme is “Youths helping women means helping themselves and the society”. The theme encourages youths to take part in maintaining the social order by saying no to violence and immoral activities against other people, especially women and female children, drugs and alcohols and fulfilling their respective duties in conserving the tradition, custom, and culture that are the identity of our nation, as stated in a proverb that goes “Youths are Bamboo Shoots”.
Youths are full of energy and mental strength, and they will become the core resources of the country; therefore, participation from youths is essential.

The selection of this theme correctly and timely responds to the needs of your society that requires all citizens, especially youths, to become good and dignified citizens in a civilized society, who treat others with respect. Overall, we clearly understand that if we are careless to solve all these issues urgently, these passive acts will mount into a big burden to families, communities and the whole society.

With regard to address these challenges, the Royal Government has immediately introduced the Guideline on Implementation of Policy on Safe Commune/Village”, which states five objectives as follows: (1) No thief or robbery of any kinds (2) No production, distribution and use of narcotic drug, (3) No misconduct, women and children trafficking and domestic violence, (4) No gangsters (5) No gambling, no unlawful procession of weapon or no crimes of any kinds.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to request the leadership, officials, and local authority of all levels to strictly keep carrying their works, providing good cooperation and having high responsibility in the future in order to cope with challenges that women and youth are facing today. Separately, the Royal Government has also adopted regulation and other appropriate strategies and a number of coordinating measures to protect women and ensure them justice including “the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence and Victim Protection,” “the Law on Anti-Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation” and “Criminal Code”. Facing this challenge, all of us need to understand that discrimination against women, violence against women and children and woman and child trafficking are not only a problem of a woman, a family or a community, but also a tragedy of the whole national socio-economy and as a global issue.

Indeed, this day has made many countries make effort to ensure equity between men and women, to have same salary for same job, to ensure maternal leave, to ensure equal right between men and women, to have right to basic education, to prevent labor exploitation on women, and to consider violence as the crime to be charged under law. Along with this, Cambodia has also showed new much progress in promoting right, position and role of women in line with Millennium Development Goals as H.EING KUNTHAPHAVI, Minister of Women’s Affairs, has stated in this report a moment ago. In fact, Cambodia has successfully created a comprehensive systematic strategy for gender mainstreaming. Among those, key point to achieve Gender Equity areNeary Ratanak 5-Year Strategic Plan of Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which comprise of priority sectors and key gender mainstreaming programs such as providing economical encouragement to the women, women‘s involvement in decision making and politic; woman and education, changes in behaviors and attitudes, legal protection for woman, improving health and nutrition for woman as well as gender mainstreaming into policies, planning, legal and judicial and decentralization and de-concentration reform programs. In parallel, the government have prepared and expanded Millennium Development Goal to mirror a national specific context aiming to reduce violence and all other forms of violence to the women and children by the year 2015. Through this, Cambodia is the first country in the world which have embedded the reduction of violence on women as an indicator into national development plan and paid strongly attention to domestic violence, human trafficking and other forms of violence.

Moreover, the Royal Government is determined to at best effort to enable woman, especially support-less women living in rural area to receive health care, to send children to schools and to have proper living condition and just legal protection for women, and avoid from violence, trafficking, rape and all other forms of violence. Another important part is that the government always pays attention to increase participation ratio, at maximum possible, of women in all levels of national agencies from central to local ones.

At the same time, as my personal activities, I have always shares difficulties and support to family, particularly the women who delivered three babies, doing so I thought it was part of improving women and children welfare. Although those assistances are minimal it is sincerity in helping them to resolve their burdens. Truly, women who delivered only one baby sustains a lot of suffering, let alone the women who deliver three babies.

To what extend will she suffer? And these activities are exemplary to all other people to share burden of families and support-less women.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to admire and congratulate Lok Chumteav Dr. Bun Rany, as a Cambodian woman, who was named as “eminent figure of joint action plan of the UN Secretary General for women and children”, who fulfill very important role in humanitarian sector, to take part in poverty reduction and prevention of diseases in her capacity as President of Cambodian Red Cross. This high honor is birth of endeavor, utmost physical and moral energy, and intellect made in contribution promotion of woman, child and baby health, public awareness of issues related to woman, child and baby health, mobilizing funds from development partners, civil society and private sectors to support implementation of the action plan for the promotion of health of women, children, and babies in Cambodia. Along with this, I have observed that in the capacity as the honorary chairperson of the National Commission for Promoting Social Morality, Women’s Value and Khmer Families, Lok Chumteav Bun Rany has always supported and promoted the enhancement of situation, ranks and roles of Cambodian women and social welfare in order to contribute to the reduction and elimination of discrimination and all forms of domestic violence on women and children.

It is clear that extensively and bravely fulfilling its humanitarian mission ultimately helps reduce hardship of our people and victims on time and contribute to transform Cambodia’s society without all form of discrimination against women and children. In this regard, I would like to wish your Excellency a success in highly appreciated mission for the benefit of our people and Kingdom of Cambodia as well as a whole world human being.

In fact, over the last decades, Cambodia has achieved a great deal of achievement for enhancing value and role of women, preventing from and eliminating discrimination and violation against women. However, there are many things remain to be done in this sector which is required us to continue to further promote and overcome. In this connection, I would like to put up a number of recommendations for leaders and officials of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, related ministries and institutions to continue to implement the enhancement of value and role of women, the prevention and elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women as the followings:

First, must continue to mobilize financial resources from development partners and charitable persons to support for creating fund to implement women welfare enhancement program and to contribute to solve difficulty women are facing. In this regards, the ministry must continue to closely cooperate with related ministries/institutions such as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Culture and Arts and the Ministry of Cult and religious affairs to promote Buddhist religious preaching program to perform psychotherapy for youths group and adults and to inform difficulty of domestic violence.

Second, must continue to provide education of good culture and civilization of our nation to explore the value and role of women and Khmer family which is a mechanism to combat inflow of negative foreign culture, eliminate bad activities among youths and children group, badly influencing our national culture, custom and norm.

Third, must examine a possibility of creating rescue and solution of domestic violence center and establish voluntary group at community to ensure safety of women, children, and vulnerable group. Moreover, the Ministry has to find the way to improve performance of assigned officials to be more active in solving and downgrading problem while domestic violence or immoral activities are made based on the principle of cooperation, independent and high responsibility of those officials. Along with this, we have to search for means to accelerate the actvities of the officials in charge of this work to be more active with timely intervention and coordination, while there are any domestic violence or immoral acts, based on good cooperation, ownership, and highest responsibility of the officials in charge.

Fourth, increase the dissemination to all areas in the country about the urgent contact mobile number in each area and the dissemination about the scope of criminal offence for the those who commit domestic violence and other prosptitution. Once again, I would like all relevant ministries/institutions and all levels of local authorities to contunue strengthening and expanding working efficiency in the implementation of law and other legal documents related to the elemination of all forms of discrimination against women, domestic violence, trafficking of women and children and rapping ...etc.

During this solem celebration of a Decade of the International Women’s Day on 3 March today, on behalf of the Royal Government I would like to announce our commitment in fully promoting and supporting the mission to upgrade the value and roles of women under the theme: “Youth help women means help themselves and society”. In this regard, we all in state institutions, private sector, civil society, and national and international organizations, have to sponsor and support as well as providing closer cooperation in promoting the situation of Cambodian women and youth for the reputation and acceleration of our socio-economic development.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to wish the King Father, the Queen Mother, and His Majesty the King Samdech Preahbat Baromneat Norodom Seihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who have always paid high attention to children and grandchildren, especially women and children, the strength of health and long live in order to be the shade for Cambodian people all over the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Finally, together with the dedecation to the 08-March International Women’s Day under the theme: “Youths helping women means helping themselves and the society”, my wife and I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladied and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests and all Compatriots the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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