In a recently released report, Licadho says that children who live in prisons should receive proper care so that they can develop physically and psychologically.
Sunday, 07 June 2015; News by Khmer Times/Va Sonyka
PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – In a recently released report, Licadho says that children who live in prisons should receive proper care so that they can develop physically and psychologically.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Children states that countries have a duty to provide children with the right to life, survival and personal development.
According to Licadho, Cambodia is failing in this duty.
In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen decided to release a group of pregnant prisoners and those with children, and requested that King Norodom Sihamoni issue the necessary royal pardons.
Nou Sam An, Licadho’s Prison Project Supervisor, said that children in prison face a number of problems.
“Whilst the recent amnesties spared some children from further time in prison, viable long-term solutions cannot be achieved through yearly amnesties,” Ms. Sam An said in a press release attached to their report, “Childhood behind Bars.”
Ms. Sam An pointed out that mothers and their children should be able to stay together because mothers are vital to a child’s growth.
“Children are allowed to go out [on furlough] but they can only go alone because their mothers can’t go out with them,” she said.
The report gave four guidelines to the basic human rights children in prisons should be afforded.
The four guiding principles are: Non-discrimination; right to life, survival and development; a child’s best interests and needs; and a respect for the views of the child.
Kong Socheat, Licadho’s children’s rights coordinator, said that the government had a moral duty to protect children in prisons. “All children must be dealt with by the four guidelines, so that children are treated equal, whether outside or inside the prisons,” he said.
The psychological development of children is influenced heavily by their environment. Discrimination and non-equal treatment of those inside and outside of prison walls is a cause for the slower progress of interned children. Mr. Socheat said, “We have to stop the discrimination.”
Ms. Sam An said, “The children in prisons should receive proper food and vaccinations, and educational programs are among the most important things they must be provided with.” The educational opportunities in prisons today are very limited.
“We should create more education programs for inmates, allow them to participate in social activities, allow them to meet their families often, and participate in sporting activities.”