Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), ministries and authorities at all levels, as well as donors, to continue to push to promote the wellbeing and resilience of all families in the Kingdom, despite the pandemic-related financial problems that are plaguing the world.

The government also instructed institutions in the capital and provinces to cooperate with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation to contribute to maintaining social morality – and the value of women and Cambodian families – in the context of the pandemic.

Hun Sen made the remarks on May 11 in a letter marking the 28th anniversary of the International Day of Families with the theme “Family is the foundation of maintaining and protecting peace”.

He said the theme clearly showed that the family played a leading role in providing experience and knowledge, promoting socio-economic and cultural development, and maintaining peace, social balance and national stability.

He added that the focus of the Social Protection Policy Framework 2016-2025 is on improving family livelihoods, providing cash assistance to poor families during the pandemic – and the related Covid-19 lockdowns – and providing cash for the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and children under 2 years old, the elderly and the disabled.

“We must continue to formulate policies that provide inclusive social protection interventions and separate social assistance to the general population, especially victims and vulnerable people, in order to improve living standards and build the quality of life of all,” he said.

The premier added that development partners – national and international NGOs – are continuing to join the government in actively supporting family development programmes and donating resources – both financial and human – to ensure the promotion of family resilience in Cambodia.

“All authorities at the national and sub-national level, the CRC and donors, please continue to push to promote the wellbeing of families. Please continue to increase humanitarian actions – in all possible forms – directly or indirectly,” he said.

He also called on each family and community to continue to be responsible for solidarity, moral education and the maintenance of strong traditions and values, according to their personal consciences.

Although the government has already celebrated the International Day of Families 28 times, the social affairs ministry would continue to hold events and produce educational short films and programmes – to encourage children, teachers, students and workers to spread these values in celebration of this day – every year.

Hun Sen requested that the ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and the Cambodian Television Association (CTA), hold round-table discussions and produce videos that promoted family values, to be broadcast through television, cinemas and other media. The social affairs ministry should also work with labour and education ministries to push these values in educational institutions and factories, he added.

Men Neary Sopheak, first deputy secretary-general of the CRC, said the CRC had completed its Strategy 2003-2010 and Strategy 2011-2020 plans, and was now implementing the Strategy 2021-2030. The plan followed a four-point strategy, including disaster management, community-based healthcare, the promotion of fundamental principles and humanitarian values, and the development of sub-branches across the country.

“To assist the public – as we have done year on year – we need a budget of $12 to $13 million per year. We receive our budget on May 8, and since 2011, we have always donated at least $1 million to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital [in Phnom Penh], the Angkor Hospital for Children [in Siem Reap province] and some orphanages,” he said.