Last edited: October 2005
Summary and Analysis
On November 14, 1992 the Kingdom of Cambodia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with no reservations. However, the provisions of the Convention have yet to be implemented into the nation's legislative text.
There are no specific rules governing the right of children to express their views in Cambodia. At the present time, no legal provision giving a general definition of the child and of the age of majority has been adopted in Cambodia. The consequences of prolonged civil strife and war in the country stand in the way of strict implementation of laws on the protections of the rights of the child. Because of poverty and unemployment, most Cambodian children engage in unsuitable work and abandon their studies. Although the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia provides for the protection of children's rights in Article 48, many Cambodian children are neglected. Although the Law on the Marriage and Family states that complaints regarding neglected children can be brought, due to the lack of a system for the representation of children in court proceedings no complaint has ever been formally brought in Cambodian Courts on grounds of ill-treatment due to the lack of a reporting mechanism.
In the Committee's recommendations to Cambodia's initial state report filed on June 24, 1998 to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee mentioned that respect for the views of the child should be included in all relevant legislation affecting children and taken into account in all administrative and judicial decisions.
The Royal Government is aware of the lack of opportunity for children to express their views in Cambodia and has stated it will institute awareness-raising programs in order to change traditional perceptions regarding children as objects and not as subjects of rights. It is counting on foreign aid and foreign capital investments to redress the economy and to reconstruct and develop the national infrastructure to raise the living standard of the nation as a whole and of children in particular.
Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
1. State parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
Kingdom of Cambodia Constitution. Chapter III, Article 48, (The rights and obligations of Khmer citizens)
The State shall protect the rights of the children as stipulated in the Convention on Children, in particular, the right to life, education, protection during wartime, and from economic or sexual exploitation. The State shall protect children from acts that are injurious to their educational opportunities, health, and welfare.
Law on the Marriage and Family, Article 119
Where parents neglect their children's education, oblige them to commit anti-social acts, ill-treatment, of immoral manner, parental authority may be entrusted to an organization or relative.
Additional Resources and Links
Marwaan Macan-Markar, Legal Eagles on the Kids' Side, available at http://www.ipsnews.net/alert/countries/cambodia1.html (last visited Oct. 14, 2005).
 Supra note 1.
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
 Cambodia Law on the Marriage and Family, art.119 (1989) (official translation), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document. Jallow, Hassan B., The Law of Evidence in the Gambia. 150-69. (Banjul, The Gambia), 1997.
 Marwaan Macan-Markar, Legal Eagles on the Kids' Side, available at http://www.ipsnews.net/alert/countries/cambodia1.html (last visited Oct. 14, 2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
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