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The Royal Government of Cambodia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992. Still, the current child protection system in the country is very weak. Whilst the great majority of the general public has heard of child rights, the knowledge on how to translate child rights into daily practice remains low. The least understood part of child rights is children's right to participation.

Children face violence at home, in school, at the workplace, in the communities and in institutional settings. Despite efforts made to promote positive discipline, traditional child-rearing methods are common in the entire country. Parents, guardians and teachers discipline children by beating them. Child neglect is also a problem, something that has a serious impact on children’s education, their right to food, care and protection, and is leading children to come into contact with the law, use drugs or alcohol, or become vulnerable to rape or sexual abuse. The situation for children with disabilities is even more serious.

Armed conflicts at the border with Thailand significantly impact children's health, development and psychosocial well-being, threatening basic needs for children. Floods and storms are common in Cambodia and affect thousands of children who are unable to access education and other social services.

Child labour is common, especially in rural areas. Most of the children attended school part-time while working. The agricultural sector (agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing) accounted for the vast majority of the child workers. More boys than girls work in agriculture and, vice-versa, the proportion of women and girls involved in the trade, manufacturing and services sectors is higher.


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