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National Day of Prayer and Action to Stop Violence against Children, Cambodia

Religious groups celebrate national day of prayer and action to stop violence against children

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 24 March 2014 – Today, religious leaders from the Buddhist, Christian and Muslim faiths are working together to prevent violence against children in celebration of Cambodia’s national Day of Prayer and Action for Children. This year marks the first year the Day of Prayer and Action for Children will be organized in Cambodia as a standalone event by the Ministry of Cult and Religion, in collaboration with UNICEF, Save the Children and Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS).

This year’s celebrations focus on preventing violence against children by promoting positive parenting. Children tend to imitate the behaviour of their parents, making role modelling an extremely effective parenting tool to promote positive values and non-violent behaviour. In Cambodia, violence against children in the home tends to be deeply rooted in social norms and traditions. Parents and families find it difficult to change their behaviour when the norms and behaviours that prevail in their wider community remain unchanged.

Addressing the religious leaders, Excellency Min Khin, Minister of Culture and Religion said, “Religious teachings and disciplines are effective means to educate followers on child protection and to prevent violence against children. Therefore, please inform and teach your fellows to love, sympathize and protect children,” said to all religious leaders participated in the event.” 

Religious communities in Cambodia are uniquely positioned to work to end violence against children. They are well respected in their communities and have the ability to influence individual behaviours and social norms, including—and especially—the norms and behaviours that condemn violence against children.  “Religious leaders can be important advocates for children and promote the child as a person with rights and dignity”, said Sunah Kim, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Cambodia.

On this Day of Prayer and Action for Children, religious leaders across Cambodia will be using their religious texts and teachings to stop parents from using violence against their children and advising and educating parents on non-violent forms of child discipline. They will be creating awareness on the impact of all forms of violence against children and speaking out against it in their communities.

The Day of Prayer and Action for Children is a global initiative created in 2008 to mobilize faith-based organizations and groups to work together for the wellbeing of children around the world.

The Day has grown into a global movement that works all year, weaving together efforts of religious leaders, faith-based and non-governmental organizations with those of governments around the world. Thus far over 90 activities have been organized in over 50 countries. Cambodia is one of these countries and is celebrated for its ability to bring together religious leaders from different faiths.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Cambodia visit: 
www.unicef.org.kh

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For further information, please contact:

Denise Shepherd-Johnson Chief of Communication, UNICEF Cambodia, Mobile: 092 555 294 or dshepherdjohnson@unicef.org

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