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Senior Official of MoSVY Calls on Citizens to Raise Awareness Related to Disabilities

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PHNOM PENH: The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth (MoSVY), and Secretary-General of Disability Action Council, Em Chan Makara, has called on people to increase their awareness of the disability sector, especially to prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities. He made this statement during the opening of the training on negotiation skills and basic knowledge of gender and disability on Thursday, 16 June.

Secretary of State Em Chan Makara said that the Royal Government of Cambodia has paid a lot of attention to the rights of people with disabilities by launching the National Strategic Plan on Disability 2019-2023, which is a strategy that focuses on gender issues and stopping the use of violence against women with disabilities. He added that persons with disabilities are further protected by the Disability Law, which states that when a person with a disability is violated in any way, the perpetrators are punished according to the law, which defines the aggravating circumstances.

Having an increased understanding of the disability sector is therefore very important, in order to make Cambodia a country that does not use violence in any form, particularly against persons with disabilities, which will help the Royal Government achieve the goals of its National Strategic Plan on Disability.

The Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Cambodia, Connor Floyd, spoke at the training opening, and said that globally, women with disabilities are three times more likely to experience violence than women without disabilities. Many countries continue to address gender and disability issues separately with little consideration for the intersections between them. Consequently, women and girls with disabilities miss out on the support that access to quality services and programs would offer them.

"Furthermore, many women with disabilities do not seek for services or support due to a lack of confidence," added Floyd. "Without relevant family and community support and encouragement, their voices are not heard by decision makers, and service providers may not be aware of the specific barriers they are facing. On the contrary, empowered and confident women with disabilities can share their experience and contribute to identify most appropriate solutions to their issues.”

For Cambodia, however, the Australian Embassy Second Secretary said he sees that both the government and NGOs have shown commitment to finding solutions that women and girls with disabilities would benefit from.

Secretary of State Em Chan Makara also acknowledged that women and girls with disabilities around the world face gender inequality as well as disability and poverty related stigma and discrimination, especially compared to women without disabilities.

He said, "The Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as the General Secretariat of the Disability Action Council, is committed to ensuring that all women and girls, especially women and girls with disabilities, have equal rights, equal opportunities and protection, and that their voices be upheld.”

Currently, there are more than 500,000 persons with disabilities in Cambodia, accounting for 4.9% of the country’s total 16 million population.

The MoSVY Secretary of State previously said on Tuesday, 14 June, that his observations show that the use of violence against women or girls with disabilities has been greatly reduced in Cambodia, attributing this reduction to the fact that people are more aware of the rights of persons with disabilities, and greater media participation on this issue.


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