The UN hailed the Kingdom for its remarkable progress in widening social protection coverage, according to the Cambodian Permanent Mission to the UN Office.

The mission issued a July 12 press release detailing how it had updated the UN in Geneva on the Kingdom’s progress and achievements in the field of human rights, following the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

During the session, Cambodia hosted a total of 23 interactive dialogues with special rapporteurs and 8 panel discussions. It also adopted 23 resolutions on thematic and country-specific issues.

An Sokkhoeurn, Cambodian ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, said that during the 4-weeks of interactions, from June 13 to July 8, the Kingdom’s permanent mission delivered a total of 22 statements, featuring normative and practical progress and detailing its accomplishments in diverse categories of human rights.

“The UN hailed us for our remarkable progress in enlarging social protection coverage,” he said.

Sokkhoeurn said that Cambodia’s “blossom strategy” to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in a free and non-discriminatory fashion – including for prison inmates and foreign residents – resulted in the inoculation of more than 94 per cent of the population.

The press release said that Cambodia’s digital education was being developed in both formal and non-formal settings. Nearly 80 per cent of the population are active social media users, and air their views freely on public affairs.

He said The UN Resident Coordinator praised the Kingdom for integrating gender perspective into its national policies. The number of female civil servants has risen to nearly 50 per cent, with 26 per cent of them serving in decision-making roles, while the number of female business owners has reached 61 per cent nationwide.

“In peace and security, we rank 13th among the 122 nations and we are 2nd in ASEAN for deploying women peacekeepers on UN operations,” he added.

During the 50th session of the council, Cambodia co-sponsored 10 joint statements on subjects as diverse as family and work balance, climate change, the nexus of technology to good governance and women’s rights.

During a ‘Social protection Week’ conference in February, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia Pauline Tamesis, spoke on behalf of the UN. She commended the Government of Cambodia for its remarkable progress in expanding social protection coverage in recent years.

She said that since the launch of the National Social Protection Policy Framework in 2016, social assistance and social security schemes have significantly expanded to ensure that not only the most vulnerable, but more Cambodians who are at risk of falling into poverty, are better protected.

“We have seen transformation at a speed and scale previously not thought possible in the social protections put in place by the government to mitigate the devastating impacts of the pandemic,” added Tamesis.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation said the government had spent some $717 million assisting more than 680,000 vulnerable families since it launched the cash assistance programme in June 2020.

“We pay close attention to the most vulnerable members of our society, and were glad to launch the programme to protect our people. It was a timely response to the suffering of those who had lost loved ones to Covid-19, and those who lost their livelihoods to it,” said Chhour Sopanha, director of the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.