Cambodia urges religious leaders to help stop violence against children

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-24 14:54:14

Cambodia on Monday called on all religious leaders to help stop violence against children by making their followers fully aware of children's rights, officials said.

"We urge all religious leaders to use their religious texts and teachings to stop parents from using violence against children and follow up with a process of advising and educating them on how to use non-violent forms of child discipline," Seng Somony, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said on the national day of prayer and action to stop violence against children.

He also appealed to all pagodas, churches and mosques to continue providing accommodations and education to poor children.

The prayer ceremony was attended by some 120 people who represented Buddhist, Christian and Muslim faiths in Cambodia.

Min Khin, minister of cults and religion, said religions played a very important role to educate parents to stop using violence against children.

"It is necessary that religious leaders educate their followers about children's basic rights so as to prevent violence against children," he said.

Sunah Kim Suh, deputy head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to Cambodia, which sponsored the event, said the day of prayer and action for children was a global initiative created in 2008 to mobilize faith-based organizations to work together for the well-being of children around the world.

"It has grown into a global movement that works all year, weaving together efforts of religious leaders, faith-based and non- governmental organizations with those of governments around the world," she said. "So far, over 90 activities have been organized in over 50 countries."

At the event on Monday in Phnom Penh, senior leaders of Buddhist, Christian and Muslim faiths showed their strong commitments to help prevent violence against children in Cambodia.

Children represented 41 percent of the Cambodian population of 14.8 million. According to a study carried out by the government's National Institute of Statistics last year, more than three- quarters of children had experienced at least an incident of physical violence before the age of 12; furthermore, about 4 percent of females and 5 percent of males have been sexually abused.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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