[JURIST] The Cambodian government on Wednesday released the findings of a survey [text] showing the magnitude of violence against children throughout the country. Cambodia’s Violence Against Children Survey, the first survey of its kind in East Asia and the Pacific region, was conducted in 2013 by the National Institute of Statistics of the Ministry of Planning and coordinated by the UN Children’s Fund and the US Centers for Disease Control [official websites]. According to its findings, over half of Cambodian children have been victim to at least one form of violence before age 18 and roughly one quarter have been emotionally abused. The report found [UN News Centre report] that most of these children were victimized by those they knew and trusted, and that mothers and male teachers were the most likely to commit such acts. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children [official website] Marta Santos Pais stated at the launch of the report in the Cambodian capitol that the survey should act as a reference for all government sectors, and that, “the elimination of all forms of violence against children must be a core indicator of national social improvement.”
Cambodia has a precarious relationship both with its human rights situation and its political process, especially in the aftermath of of the disputed 2013 parliamentary elections. Some progress was recently made in the country’s human rights situation and reconciling political divisions. In September UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia [official website] Surya Subedi commented [JURIST report] on Cambodia’s recent efforts in human rights protection, noting that while there have been improvements, there are still substantial problems in the judicial system. In March the two main political parties, the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodian National Rescue Party, reached [JURIST report] a five-point electoral reform agreement that garnered the support of Subedi. On February 27 the government lifted [JURIST report] its temporary ban on public protests which had barred demonstrations by opposition groups protesting the previous year’s allegedly fraudulent elections. The ban had been put in place the previous month after several textile workers engaged in a protest had been shot by police. Also in February the government announced [JURIST report] its refusal to release 21 persons arrested in connection with political demonstrations. January was a particularly volatile month, prompting multiple statements from UN bodies calling[JURIST reports] for reconciliation and an end to political violence.