Friday, June 27, 2014

Address by Samdech Techo on the Occasion of the Commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

CNV: 26/06/2014
Venerable Monks,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Compatriots and Beloved Students

Today, it is my pleasure to be here with Excellencies, Ladies, gentlemen, compatriots and beloved students to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I wish to lend my full support to all competent authorities, all branches of armed force, local and international civil society organizations, private sector and as well as countries in the region and the world for the concerted effort to fight drugs and address their associated problems.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my high appreciation to the management and civil servants of the Ministry of Interior and the National Anti-Drug Authority and all branches of armed forces for the devotion of time, energy and spirit to fighting drugs, which is a hard assignment but with remarkable result. I also would like to express high appreciation to the National Anti-Drug Authority, relevant ministries-organizations and municipal and provincial Anti-Drug Committee for the close cooperation to organize this important event here and in provinces in order to express the will to participate in fighting drugs and mobilize support from all corners of the society to ensure the effective prevention of and crackdown on the production, trafficking, distribution and usage of drugs to achieve new progress and result for the benefit of the whole society.

Like other countries, Cambodia set 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in full conformity with the 1987 resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The commemoration of this International Day is organized in response to new global developments of drug production, trafficking, distribution and abuse which have been causing tragedies and social crises to all countries. In addition, the commemoration of this International Day serves as a reminder and dissemination about the danger and serious effects caused by drugs to human being, especially youth and to express the determination and mobilize public support to ensure more effective, extensive crack down on the illegal production, trafficking and usage of drugs aimed to minimize the threat of drugs and their negative consequences to the socio-economic development.

In this spirit, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects new theme and slogan for the International Day from year to year in response to latest developments. Therefore, UNODC’s theme of “joint prevention and solution to drug problem” for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking accompanied by a number of slogans offering a message of hope and encouragement to drug users to seek treatment service. The theme reminds the world to jointly fight drugs abuse in the face of their widespread invasion.

Drugs are global problem that have posed a serious threat to public health and life. In addition, drugs are also the causes of violence, crime and other negative consequences that are detrimental to security, order in the society, social development, especially the effort of each state to achieve socio-economic development. Criminals keep doing their evil acts by secretly produce, process and distribute illegal drugs from a place to another, from a country to another country and from a region to another region to supply and expand the market of drugs resulting in serious consequences for the security, human well-being and livelihood of people. Currently, developed and developing countries are certainly affected by drug problem and exploring efficient and effective ways and strategies to prevent and crack down on illegal drugs. However, we have to be aware that drug control is by no means a simple task as it is indeed complicated and cross-sectoral that require active contribution from all related institutions, including institutions responsible for law enforcement, education and prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

Cambodia is a transit country for regional and international trafficking of drugs. As a result, there are lots of negative consequences for security, and order in the society along with direct impact on the health and livelihood of the people. In particular, according to the joint estimation by the National Anti-Drug Authority, relevant ministries/institution and civil society organizations, there are 13,000 drug users in the country with variation from 12,000 to 28,000 drug users, of which 1,300 are injecting drug users and 24.8% are infected by HIV/AIDS. This is not only a heavy burden for their families and relatives, but also a grave concern of the Royal Government that must be addressed.

Overall, the Royal Government has taken concrete and firm measures to implement anti-drug mechanisms and firmly adhered to international conventions and protocol with great sense of responsibility. We have also mobilized the public to participate more actively in the safe village/safe commune policy to help prevent and crack down on the illegal production, trafficking and usage of drugs in Cambodia. This effort will be further intensified in the future. Overall, specific attention has been given to the promotion of the health of drug victims at temporary centers, referral hospitals, health centers and communities and the provision of service to reduce dangers associated with drugs in targeted areas without discrimination, in accordance with international medical standard and basic human right principles.

In addition to the effort of the Royal Government illustrated above, I wish to take opportunity to express my high appreciation to monks, management and officials of the National Anti-Drug Authority, related ministries/institutions, Cambodia Red Cross, provincial/capital anti-drug committees, compatriots, parents/guardians and students for physical, mental or financial contribution to raising public awareness on the dangers associated with drugs, especially their active contribution to the prevention of and crackdown on the illegal production, processing and distribution of drugs in the Kingdom of Cambodia while many drug criminals have been arrested and sentenced. Apart from fighting drugs, there is also active contribution to saving drug victims through treatment and rehabilitation service in communities. This work indeed contributes to maintaining security and order in the society, a favorable condition for socio-economic development.

To ensure effective anti-drug campaign and address problems caused by drugs, I would like to share with you all some recommendations as follows:

First, we must consider drugs as our common problem and shared responsibility of all relevant ministries/institutions, national and international civil society organizations and all the people requiring continued cooperation under all forms, at all places and at all time, both at national and sub-national levels in fighting drugs and preventing our relatives and friends from being lured by criminals into drug use. We must also regard drug users as victims so that they can stop using drugs and build a new future with their families.

Second, public and private media must continue expanding their anti-drug dissemination under all forms, by all means such as Buddhism-society program, mobile concerts, ad spots, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and mobile telephone to circulate the dangers caused by drugs in all places. In addition, there must be continuous attention on the monitoring and tip-off about activities that facilitate the illegal use and distribution of drugs and shisha in leisure centers such as clubs, bars, KTV, guest houses, hotels and so on. Overall, despite small scale of drug use and trafficking, the consequence can be serious including social anarchy, insecurity and disorder. In this connection, I wish to instruct local authorities of the capital, provinces, municipalities, districts/khan, communes/sangkat to constantly monitor and take immediate measures against any site involving in illegal drug distribution and use within your jurisdiction to ensure safety for the people and suppress robbery/theft.

Third, from the successful experience in Banteay Meanchey provice, in addition to the strengthening of health service in existing temporary centers, the National Anti-Drug Authority, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affair, Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Work and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Tourism, civil society organizations and the Phnom Penh authority must work together to establish community-based drug rehabilitation service in Phnom Penh by the end of 2014, followed by the expansion of this service to targeted provinces in the future. In addition, we must pay greater attention to the implementation of safe village/safe commune policy to support the community-base drug rehabilitation service.

Fourth, all law enforcement institutions and armed force as well as national and sub-national competent authorities must keep strengthening their capability to crack down on the production and processing of drugs and all of their illegal distribution channels either by air, water or land by strengthening the control of cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, especially in the northeast and other regions. In addition, in order to ensure the effective enforcement of the Law on the Control of Drugs, law enforcement officers and the judicial institution must cooperate closely with the sense of responsibility and ownership and firm adherence to the code of conduct to ensure smooth, just and effective legal procedures. In case of law enforcement irregularities, the National Anti-Drug Authority must refer to the article 74 of the Law on Control of Drugs. Commanders of all branches of armed force must educate and discipline members of their units to avoid involvement with drugs with zero tolerance for those involve with drugs. Furthermore, there must be further attention on the suppression of the resurgence of marijuana planting which seems to be active again in some provinces. Along with this, competent authorities must mobilize support and contribution from the public especially with regard to information or tip-off about the production, processing and distribution of drugs.

Fifth, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry and Handicraft and the Council for the Development of Cambodia must strengthen mechanisms and both legal and administrative measures to control chemicals and other substances that can be used for the production of drug by ensuring high responsibility and firm adherence to the code of conduct among concerned officials.

Sixth, ministries and national/sub-national institutions must further strengthen drug control mechanisms within their fields of responsibility, including law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation service and public awareness. In doing this, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Tourism, competence authorities and parents/guardians must actively participate in further implementation of Sub-Decree No. 191 Or N Kr B K dated May 29, 2014 on the management of adult leisure centers and safe village/safe commune policy. In this sense, I wish to appeal to parents/guardians to pay high attention to educating their children to avoid drug. Youth must also educate their friends to resist the lure of drug criminals and to be able to help friends who have become drug victims by explaining all the difficulties caused by drugs and encouraging timely treatment and rehabilitation service.

All the above require contribution and support from all elements of our society in order for the anti-drug campaign achieve effectiveness and success while everyone is free from drug and their associated negative consequences. In this sense, I believe that Venerable Monks, all the compatriots, the private sector, all levels of government officials, all branches of armed force, national and international organizations, and our youth will do your best to eliminate drugs in the society.

Once again, I wish to thank friend countries and development partners for the financial and technical assistance in strengthening anti-drug mechanisms and measures at both national and sub-national levels. I wish to commend the National Anti-Drug Authority, Cambodia Red Cross, Drug Control Committee, relevant ministries/institutions, members of armed force and civil servants, monks, private sector, donors, charity organizations and national and international civil society organizations for concerted effort and active participation in fighting drugs and addressing drug-associated issues effectively.

Before ending, I wish to further appeal to national and international civil society organizations, development partners, UN agencies and donor organizations to continue contributing to fighting drugs for the benefit of enhanced public health, development and poverty reduction.

Finally, on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day against Drug 26 June 2014, I wish Venerable Monks, compatriots, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, members of armed force, civil servants, teachers and students the four gems of Buddhist Blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength./.

No comments:

Post a Comment