Joint Statement on situation Sovann Komar
As child-rights focused organisations, UNICEF, Save The Children and Friends International are dedicated to the safety and well-being of children. We work with the Royal Government of Cambodia to strengthen its child protection system and build the normative framework to ensure that children are protected from harm and have access to child protection services.
In October 2020, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) invited the three organisations and partners to join an Inter-Ministerial Committee to provide expert advice on the wellbeing of children at the Sovann Komar children’s residential institution. Our role is advisory, and MoSVY is the decision-making body.
We believe that the Government and the Sovann Komar management - like all care homes for children - must adhere to national and international standards of child care. These include the right to a safe environment where they can freely share their experiences, feelings and future plans. It is critical that children have a say in decisions that are impacting their lives. Children’s rights to privacy, including their right to confidentiality in social worker interviews, should be respected, and their images or words should not be used improperly in public forums.
The Government should ensure the protection and safety of children and expedite its investigation into their safety and wellbeing.
We remain committed to working with all partners to find solutions that are in the best interest of the children. We will continue to provide expert support to the committee on case management processes, specifically child and family assessment, case planning, and monitoring. These are vital measures to protect the best interests of the children living in residential care, including children living at Sovann Komar.