Cambodia commits to end violence against children by becoming a pathfinding country

Joint Press Release

12 September 2019
Cambodia-Path-Finding-Country
UNICEF Cambodia/2019/Parinha Seyhak

Phnom Penh, 12 September 2019 – The Royal Government of Cambodia commits to ending all forms of violence against children, becoming the 26th pathfinding country in the world. Today, in a high-level event hosted by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children (GPEVAC), Cambodia reinforced its dedication to fully implement the inter-ministerial Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children.    

Cambodia is the fourth country in the region to officially join GPEVAC and become a pathfinding country, after Indonesia, the Philippines and Mongolia.  

The commitment is timely as Cambodia accelerates efforts to achieve its vision of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030 and high-income country in 2050.

In Cambodia, one in two children experience at least one form of violence before they reach the age of 18[i]. Violence has serious long-term consequences on children’s lives, their development and the future of their communities. Children who experience violence can face physical and mental impairments, decreased self-esteem, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, and are more likely to become perpetrators or victims later in life.

His Excellency Vong Sauth, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation said: “In response to violence against children, the Government, under the wise leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, is always committed to respect and promote the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) to ensure that children can live in freedom, peace and prosperity. The government has adopted many measures, including formulations of laws, policies, strategic plans, and legal procedures, to improve child protection. In this context, Cambodia became the leading country in the ASEAN region to conduct a national survey on violence against children. This scientific study clearly identified the scale of the problem and found concreate evidence of physical, sexual and emotional violence that children experienced. Based on these results, an Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children 2017-2021 was established to address violence against children on time and to promote sustainable child protection and development solutions for every child.”   

Her Excellency Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, a high representative of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Royal Government of Cambodia, said: “The Government has adopted the CRC and its optional protocols to protect children. The sixth Government Mandate prioritized children’s issues in our policies, especially in the Rectangular Strategy Phase Four, the Human Development Strategy, and in Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a strong foundation for the preparation of the National Strategic Development Plan (2019-2013), with concrete indicators, results and timeframes for implementation and consistency with policies of other sectors. To end violence against children, there is a need of joint responsibility from all stakeholders and all walks of society. And to be more effective, all efforts need to align with the existing national context and the CRC. Participation from all ministries, institutions, national and international non-governmental organizations and all stakeholders is a must.”

Last year, MOSVY with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, hosted a regional conference towards the implementation of INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children. The decision to become a pathfinding country furthers Cambodia’s efforts to protect its children from violence.

“Today marks a significant step in realizing the right of all Cambodian children to grow up safe and protected. Violence against children is unjustifiable and intolerable. It is possible to end violence against children and it is our shared responsibility to do so,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia.  

Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children participated at the launch event. “Today, we embark on a new partnership with the Government, civil society, private sector and other key groups and individuals in Cambodia. We unite behind a single goal: A society in which every child grows up safe and secure. Our efforts are smart investments in today’s children with positive impacts over generations to come,” said Mr Taylor.

The Government’s decision to become a pathfinding country was welcomed in Phnom Penh.  The high-level event of this launch gathered more than 250 members of civil society, development partners, practitioners, government workers, the private sector and the media. 

During the event, his Excellency Nath Bunroeun, Secretary of State, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and a high representative of his Excellency Minister Hang Choun Naron, endorsed Safe to Learn, an international initiative that aims to keep children safe in and around schools and improve their learning outcomes.

Notes to Editors:

About the Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children 2017-2021[ii]

Cambodia is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to conduct a national survey on violence against children in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The survey conducted in 2013, for the first time, provided credible data and national estimates that show the magnitude and nature of violence against children across the country. In response to the findings of the 2013 Cambodia Violence against Children Survey (CVACS), the Royal Government of Cambodia has committed to taking actions on the issue and developed the inter-ministerial Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children 2017-2021 (Action Plan). This Action Plan is informed by INSPIRE’s principles and strategies in the formulation.

The Action Plan can be downloaded here: https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/results_for_children_27251.html

About INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children[iii]

The regional conference towards the implementation of INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children took place in late 2018, hosted by MoSVY with support from UNICEF and WHO at regional and country levels. 21 countries represented by over 160 participants took part in a collaborative conference to address the many issues facing children in the form of violence throughout the East Asia and Pacific Region as well as the West Pacific Region.

About GPEVAC

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children was launched in July 2016 by the UN Secretary-General. The unique public-private collaboration is focused solely on ending violence against all children and includes governments, UN agencies, international organizations, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, research practitioners, academics and children themselves – uniting their voices, actions and resources. Since its launch, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children has promoted the concept of pathfinding, which aims to raise awareness, stimulate leadership commitment, galvanize action, and establish a standard of national violence prevention throughout the world.

For more information please contact:

Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation

Mr. Phi No, Director of Child Welfare Department

Email: phino.cwd@gmail.com, Mobile: (+855) 92 462 263


[i] Cambodia’s Violence Against Children 2013

[ii] The Action Plan can be downloaded here: https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/results_for_children_27251.html   

[iii] The INSPIRE technical package can be accessed on https://uni.cf/2KQoAmo

Media Contacts

Rudina Vojvoda

Chief of Communication

UNICEF Cambodia

Tel: +85523260204;ext=434

Bunly Meas

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Cambodia

Tel: +85523260204;ext=435

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