Editorial: Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, a Testimony of Universal Human Rights Respect in Cambodia

The respect of human rights and multi-party democracy remains a priority principle of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and the celebration of the 108th International Women's Day on Mar. 8, 2019 is the concrete proof of the RGC's commitment on the path of promoting and upholding human rights and democracy in the country.

The RGC, especially Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and other high-ranking officials always send their messages and hold activities to contribute to the campaigns of human rights promotion as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the country.

As seen on Mar. 5, 2019, during the commemoration of the 108th International Women's Day, Samdech Techo Prime Minister asked relevant ministries and institutions, development partners, civil society organisations, private sector and all compatriots to take part in implementing a number of key elements to promote gender equity and social protection for women in an effective and transparent manner.

First, he pointed out, increase the number of women in the leadership in all domains and at all levels according to their capacities and help solving the problems arising from the performance of their role. Second, strengthen law enforcement and speed up the process in order to prevent gender-based violence, and collaborate in the establishment of a common statistic basic that we can monitor and assess the effectiveness of providing services for the victims of gender-based violence. Third, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has to instruct all schools to strengthen discipline, and at the same time to continue providing the girls with access to all levels of education. Fourth, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and Ministry of Information must work together to effectively manage internet usage in the country to prevent the problems related to violence and exploitation against women and girls on the internet and other media. Last but not least, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Ministry of Information and all media have to continue tightening and enhancing social morality and the values of Cambodian women and families through creating good education programmes.

Cambodia is currently increasing its focus on all areas of human rights, while the gender gap in the county is becoming smaller. Apart from human rights celebrations, the constitution and other laws are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to the Cambodian National Council for Women (CNCW)'s report, among 217,171 Cambodian civil servants recorded last year, 88,580 or 41 percent were women. At the national level, women accounted for 31 percent of the total 41,420 civil servants, while at the sub-national level, women represented 43 percent of the total 175,751 civil servants.

Until the end of 2018, women held 10 percent of the 237 posts of Director General, and 14 percent of the 834 posts of Deputy Director General. Moreover, about 10 percent of the Department Director posts, 21 percent of the Department Deputy Director posts, 22 percent of Head of Office posts, and 31 percent of Deputy Head of Office posts were occupied by women (at the national level). The report also highlighted that women who earned Master's, Bachelor's and Associate's degrees accounted for 27.48, 46.75, and 48.58 percent, respectively, while only 17 women got their PhD degree in 2018. At the top leadership, there is still a big gap, but the RGC is taking action as stated in the above recommendations.

These are the RGC's efforts in promoting the rights of women regarded as the "Mother of the World". The constitution, laws, regulations and other activities related to human rights have been encouraged by the RGC while social protection schemes have been extended to benefit all citizens, particularly the poor and the vulnerable.

These are also the commitments of the RGC, authorities and officials at all levels to ensure that all citizens enjoy their rights, but it must be under the law so as to ensure peace, economic growth and development as well as to prevent violation of others' rights.

It is inevitable that when we do something or apply a policy it affects this or that. That is why there remain some reports on human right violations, but with the five approaches of the RGC "looking in the mirror, taking a bath, scrubbing yourselves, treatment and surgery", we expected that the human rights situation in Cambodia will be further improved from one year to another.

To sum up, thanks to the Royal Government's commitment, in particular that of the Head of the Royal Government, as well as the support from relevant ministries and institutions, civil society organisations and development partners, the situation of human rights in Cambodia will be further strengthened as a mechanism to enhance livelihoods, social welfare of the citizens.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press