Cablegate: Rgc Launches New Policy and Minimum Standards for The

DE RUEHPF #0744/01 2801038
R 071038Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 28, 2009, the Ministry of Social
Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSAVY) launched the
Royal Government of Cambodia's (RGC) Policy on the Protection of the
Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking and the Minimum Standards for
Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking. The
policy and minimum standards define 11 rights that guarantee
protections for victims and lay out the steps of the victim
protection process including recovery, reintegration, and follow-up.
Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng presided over the launch
ceremony, with over 200 attendees from government and civil society.
Most anti-TIP NGOs welcomed the new policy and minimum standards,
calling it a "much needed initiative that fills a gap" in the RGC's
current anti-TIP response, but expressed concern about
implementation and enforcement. END SUMMARY.

New Policy and National Minimum Standards

2. (SBU) After two years of work, MOSAVY launched the new Policy on
the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking and the
National Minimum Standards for Protection of the Rights of Victims
of Human Trafficking on September 28. MOSAVY, working with
technical assistance from USAID, owned the development process of
the documents from the beginning. MOSAVY drew upon the nascent RGC
interagency mechanism to obtain input from all relevant ministries,
and actively involved civil society by visiting NGO shelters
throughout Cambodia to provide training and seek feedback, which was
then incorporated into the final documents.

3. (SBU) The new policy and minimum standards define 11 rights
guaranteed to victims of human trafficking, including the right to
safety and protection, the right to privacy and confidentiality, the
right to dignity, the right to services, and the right to freedom of
movement. The minimum standards also set out expectations of case
management. A crucial component is the expectation that all persons
who come in contact with potential victims of human trafficking take
steps to determine if they are indeed victims. For example, the
minimum standards require that service providers (including police)
ensure a safe place for conducting interviews, ensure separation of
victims from perpetrators, and conduct interviews using a
victim-centered approach that is mindful of the trauma victims may
have experienced.

4. (SBU) In his opening remarks at the launch ceremony,
USAID/Cambodia Mission Director Flynn Fuller praised the RGC for
taking an important step forward in improved care for victims, and
urged the assembled stakeholders to work together to implement the
regulations. Ministry of Interior Secretary of State Chou Bun Eng,
Chair of the Secretariat of the RGC High Level Working Group to
Combat TIP, expressed the HLWG's support and commitment to moving
the policy forward.

5. (SBU) The 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and
Sexual Exploitation did not explicitly provide protection for
victims of human trafficking. The RGC acknowledged this gap, and
aimed to fill it with the new policy and minimum standards. With
over 100 organizations working with victims of human trafficking,
and the quality of care provided by these organizations varying
greatly, the creation of minimum standards of care aims to provide a
best practice model for victim care and enable better collaboration
between service providers. In addition, these standards fulfill
Cambodia's international obligations for victim protection under the
ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons, particularly for
women and children, and Cambodia's obligations under the Coordinated
Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) process
to develop country specific minimum standards for the protection and
care of victims.

NGOs Welcome New Standards

6. (SBU) Most NGOs, including 54 civil society participants at the
launch ceremony, welcomed the new policy and minimum standards of
care. Patrick Stayton, Field Office Director for International
Justice Mission, called the policies "a much needed initiative
that fills a gap for the standard of victim protection." And
Samleang Seila, Country Director for Action Pour Les Enfants, said
the new poicy grants more power to victims to determine their care
and recovery. A few NGOs called the policy too little, too late,
but offered little more than broad generalities to support their
criticism. Sara Bradford, a technical adviser to the Asia-Pacific
Network of Sex Workers, said the Cambodian police have not "proved

PHNOM PENH 00000744 002 OF 002

they can adhere to rights-based enforcement of the anti-TIP law,"
therefore expecting them to adhere to a rights-based victim
protection policy was "a waste of donor time and money." All NGOs
consulted, however, expressed concern about the RGC's ability to
implement and enforce the new policy and standards.

Next Steps and Challenges

7. (SBU) In the coming weeks, the RGC plans to disseminate the new
documents and provide training to relevant RGC officials and service
providers on understanding and implementing the minimum standards.
Twelve thousand copies of the documents have been printed for RGC
social workers, NGOs working with victims of trafficking, provincial
officials and other relevant individuals. The RGC also plans to
develop and introduce a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to
gauge implementation of the standards. The M&E aspect will also
help set benchmark goals for offices and organizations working with
victims, and assist in developing standardized processes and
penalties for non compliance.

8. (SBU) MOSAVY staff and NGO victim assistance providers alike
acknowledge the limitations facing full implementation of the policy
and minimum standards. NGOs in particular note that MOSAVY staff is
often stretched managing multiple projects, and thus may not be able
to focus on comprehensive implementation. MOSAVY also lacks the
legal ability to enforce the standards, since NGOs are not required
to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with MOSAVY; some NGOs are
reluctant to do so voluntarily because they are unclear what their
roles and responsibilities will be, what will happen to their
organization if they do not comply with the MOU, and what financial
and human resources are required to implement the policy. Thus,
implementation will require the good will of civil society partners
to sign MOUs with MOSAVY.


9. (SBU) This is a positive first step in protecting the rights of
victims of human trafficking in Cambodia. MOSAVY, together with the
National Task Force, has demonstrated a high degree of
responsibility and ownership throughout development process. With
these documents, Cambodia now leads the Mekong region in victim
protection, and other countries have already shown interest in
replicating Cambodia's achievements. The collaboration during the
development process strengthened the relationship between the United
States and MOSAVY, and also highlights the RGC's capacity to work
with civil society representatives in a productive manner.
Constructive implementation of this positive policy will be key to
its ultimate success; it is helpful that MOSAVY already recognizes
some of the challenges ahead and has planned steps to meet those
challenges. We will continue to cooperate with MOSAVY and support
its efforts to disseminate the new policy and standards, train
victim assistance providers, and protect the rights of victims of
human trafficking.

© Scoop Media

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