By Bill Jackson
Afghanistan is described as the most dangerous country in the world and there are good reasons for this. War has been the constant companion of its people for three decades and the situation is unlikely to improve once the Western powers withdraw, as they are likely to start doing as early as next year. As I write the Taliban, and various tribal warlords who wield considerable power, are resurgent and struggling for authority. Their previous treatment of women and children gives no cause for optimism.
Voice of Women Afghanistan See http://youtu.be/pgGjSRGWjpc
Children’s Rights International has been working on the ground in Cambodia with its partner Legal Aid Cambodia (LAC) since 2005. CRI’s current priority, after extensive consultation, is to help establish a Child Friendly Court system in Cambodia. Since that time, with the support of the Cambodian Ministry of Justice, the Child Justice Working Group, the NGO Working Group on Child Justice, the Australian Embassy, AusAID, and UNICEF, considerable progress has been made.
This partnership will shortly commence to roll out training programmes in Australia and later in Battambang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to assist Cambodian judges, prosecutors, police, prison officers, social workers and allied professionals in bringing to Cambodian children, in conflict with the law, their rights as detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Cambodia is a signatory. A Child Friendly Court is the aim. To establish this Court in 3 key provinces is currently seen as a 3-year project. With successful outcomes and additional funding the project could be expanded to other provinces and hopefully to include the whole of Cambodia.
Touch Chiva (LAC), Denzil Sprague (CRI), Kimleng
By Margaret Harrison, CRI Board Member
CRI now has a country representative in Phnom Penh to assist us in a voluntary capacity with the many and varied administrative tasks associated with the conduct of our Cambodian juvenile justice project. Denzil Sprague is an Australian business man and long term resident of Phnom Penh, whose interest in the education and welfare of young Cambodians has already benefitted many primary school children in the district of Pouk Ressey and who has become an invaluable part of the CRI team, as a liaison person in our dealings with banks and other non-government and government organizations in Cambodia. He is a former farmer, pilot, arts/law graduate and brick factory proprietor, who in the past 4 years has assumed responsibility for the building of a school and the welfare and educational advancement of its 800 students. Many more young Cambodians have already completed their primary schooling as a result of his endeavours.