The government will resume its June 1 International Children’s Day celebrations this year, following three years of pandemic-related disruptions. The marking of the occasion illustrates the close attention the government pays to the rights of children, said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The premier issued a statement which announced the celebrations, as well as June 12 activities to mark World Day Against Child Labour.

“Because the Covid-19 situation has been brought under control, Cambodia will resume its observation of this important occasion. The celebrations on these days demonstrate the government’s attention to child rights, as defined in the Constitution, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, and other important documents to which the Kingdom is a signatory,” he said.

“The day is an occasion to increase public awareness of the importance of children’s welfare and safety, as well as the need to protect them abuses,” he added.

He also recalled the “tragic years” of Democratic Kampuchea, when the Pol Pot regime deprived the rights of Cambdodian citizens, including children.

“Children were tortured or killed, forced to work hard and starved. They grew up in an atmosphere of hardship and injustice. The scars left by the regime have had serious consequences,” he said.

In order to mark the occasion, the government has instructed each state institution to promote the two days to the public.

The theme selected for this year’s celebrations is “We must unite to safeguard and develop children in all forms in the shade of peace in the digital age and end child labour”.

The Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC), several ministries and the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration will work together to organise several entertaining programmes for the children of the capital. Signage should also be displayed, to mark the occasion.

The government also advised the Ministry of Information to cooperate with the CNCC to instruct state and private media outlets to promote the days to the public.

“All state institutions, including the capital and provincial administrations, should meet with children and hold entertaining activities for them. They should visit state and private schools, as well as NGOs and orphanages,” added Hun Sen.

The CNCC, in cooperation with the Child Rights Coalition Cambodia, will host a June 1 meeting to mark the 74th anniversary of International Children’s Day in Phnom Penh. Representatives from several state institutions are expected to attend.