The peace-time role of the military was the focus of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech at a ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the establishment of RCAF.
Although demobilization is under way and the country is at peace, Hun Sen said the military will still play an important, although altered, role in the future.
With the end of Cambodia’s armed conflict, the armed forces must be ready to deal with issues related to internal national security and disaster rehabilitation, Hun Sen said at the headquarters of the elite 911 commando unit in Kandal province.
Human rights awareness must also be placed high on the security forces’ agenda, he added.
“Commanders must continue to educate and encourage morality and the proper practice of their duties as civil people in uniform. RCAF and National Police must respect people rights and interests,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen also paid tribute to those in the military and national police left disabled by injuries suffered in the course of duties.
The commemoration of the establishment of RCAF on Nov 9, 1953 was the first ceremony held since 1970, said RCAF Supreme Commander Ke Kim Yan.
Changing attitudes and practices of the armed forces was also endorsed in Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng’s speech.
Sar Kheng said the envisioned publication and dissemination of a codes of conduct pocket book for the RCAF, Gendarmerie and National Police will assist in improving the peace-time attitudes of armed forces.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, said the public will need more than a code of conduct on paper to restore trust in police and military, who have been symbols of oppression for decades.
“In order to gain the trust of the people, there must be more than words,” she said. “There must be good performance and actions [by police and military].”