Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Visit to and Inauguration of AFESIP Buildings, Sangkat Prey Sar, Khan Dangkor, Phnom Penh [Unofficial Translation]



Today we meet at the beginning of the year, just hours after passing 2022 into 2023. We also meet here in conjunction with the inauguration of a building for our grandchildren to live and to learn. I had the pleasure of meeting with my grandchildren with the heartfelt emotion that we went through a difficult period. However, the grandchildren have made effort, with the leader who came up with the report in tears, overcame those hardships. For some time now, my wife has been receiving regular reports from Mam Somaly, who is in charge here, that she can grasp a series of stories. We are considered your grandparents are proud that the work we have done together has consistently been successful with the building of a base for our grandchildren’s asylum, especially at the spread of the Covid-19 explosion and spread, at which time we closely followed the developments that affected this place.

We are happy that our grandchildren are having chance to learn and meditate, which provides ability to think, to be patient and determined to move on. Having said so does not mean that we are preparing this place to receive more victims. (1) We hope that this story of abuse will be heard by people, especially those wicked men, and do not try anything that is contrary to human morality. Hopefully, this place, after growing up, having spouses and family, these grandchildren will leave and there will be no new such victims to come in […] if this place receives higher number of girls being abused, it means there is still the problem of abuse of women and girls across our country. That we are putting together this place does not aim to receive such number of people, but to solve the problem of small grandchildren who have no place to live comfortably (after they suffered abuses) […] the place now has a sturdy building with up to 40 rooms, making it easy for grandchildren to live in comfort.

Lok Chumteav Chou Bun Eng, who is in charge of anti-trafficking of human issues, also here present, will lead the work together to fight against the abuses, especially the cruelty created by some men. I am satisfied with all the activities that the philanthropists have helped this place, including providing food and materials […] I am happy to see that all the grandchildren have had their education and in Mam Somaly’s report tells us of […] six candidates who passed the Baccalaureate exam, and two fell. Those who failed should not be disappointed and depressed. Please keep on trying. (2) There are two options that Somaly must discuss with grandchildren. The first option is to continue studying in the 12th grade. Repeat the class and next year they will take the exam again. The second option is they can go to the college to study for an associate’s degree and then next year, take the Baccalaureate exam […]

Today (Hun) Manet does not come, but those responsible for this issue can contact (the Techo Sen scholarship team) as there are many colleges that offer scholarships […] (3) for higher education, I have about 3,000 scholarships/year […] we learn the intentions of the students here and submit a proposal to (Hun) Manet, who is holding and managing my scholarships. We have to give priority to the girls here […] it must be set as a goal that the girls who come to stay here must have the necessary higher education […] if they have the ability, they can go on to a bachelor’s degree or PhD even […] today we provide food […] but what we wanted to provide in the long run is the study itself […]

It is our hope that they will get good jobs in both the public and private sectors, and two of them have passed the exams to become a policeman and a soldier […] that is the pride of hard work. Everyone who provides helps wanted all the grandchildren to have a good future. (4) Your past had given you pain beyond what anyone can endure, but (at present) the grandchildren strive to stand up for their bright future […] that these grandchildren had had a sad and difficult past is not their doing and fault […] and the society does not hate the abused grandchildren. Instead, the society provides encouragement by sharing grief with grandchildren and rejoicing with grandchildren when they receive training. Even now, those who watched the live broadcast saw this huge and sturdy building […] which is good for the grandchildren […]

I have seen in the report that I have given 100,000 Riel per person per month as savings […] by you grandchildren […] I wanted to contribute more. Before I came here, I discussed with my wife about what more we should do for this center. Every month, I supplied 1.2 metric tons of rice with 10 million Riels per month budget for food supply. Due to rising commodity and food prices, […] from this month onwards, the budget provided for food increases from 10 to 20 million Riels/month […] or US$ 5,000 in dollars/month […] and I advise […] purchase of the best quality rice […] for the center (5) to prepare for settlement, including expenses on water/electricity bills, or any other urgent needs like sick child, I would like to give an additional fun of US$ 50,000 a year […] this money is for he center to solve the problem […] it is a reserve fun. This reserve is not for one day or two years, although there are people trying to get rid of the “Hun” family out of Cambodia, but they will not succeed. This (fun is) for the long run […]

This year, (6) employees working here will also receive the same pay rise as other employees across the country […] in the next 14 days, they can cash their new salaries – which is twice monthly. It is my hope that having provided these new solutions helps the center solve the problems […]

Regarding the request by Mam Somaly about “not letting the 5-year-old kids go to court because meeting with the perpetrator, they came back with trauma and fear,” (7) can we only let a lawyer go on behalf of kids of five years old to the court? Lok Chumteav Chou Bun Eng is working with His Excellency Keut Rith (Minister of Justice) on the issue. The court should understand that. We can send a lawyer […] requiring that these (abused) children be brought to court, (to face with the criminals) would put them in trauma. The child has not lost his fear, the court requires (to meet the perpetrator). I ask the Ministry of Justice (and) Lok Chumteav Chou Bunleng work together. We provide attorneys for litigation. I think the court will understand […] we in the center must be responsible for taking care of those kids, lest they have a mental crisis in addition to that. I am calling on all courts to understand the consequences […]

Although not Christian, we Cambodians are using the same universal year as well. (8) Cambodians throughout the country celebrated the international New Year without fear, in safety and without being disturbed by the effects of war. That is the peace achievement that we have so hard to realize. Last night, people were happy (everywhere) […] even though I did not go anywhere and stayed at home, I was so happy to see the country has celebrated passing the year 2022 and welcoming the year 2023 with the country in progress […]./.