Country Analysis Research Paper on Cambodia

Published: 2021-07-22 09:45:05
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Middlebury College
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Research paper
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Demographics of Cambodia

Cambodia is a country located in South East Asia. It has some unique geographical features including the Mekong Delta. Also, the infamous ruins of Angkor Wat lie in the Northwest of Cambodia. Cambodia has an approximate population of 15.67 million in 2017 (Cambodia - Demographic trends | history geography, 2017). In 1962 population census conducted in Cambodia showed that it had about 2.7 million inhabitants. This demographic change indicates that the number of inhabitants of the country is growing at an exponential or near exponential rate. The Cambodian population density of 82 individuals per square kilometer (Cambodia population 2017). Just like in most countries s of the world, children aged 15 years and below accounts for the largest segment of the country's population. Individuals below the age of 20 years old form more than 50 % of the population

People of Khmer origin account for about 90% of Cambodia's population (Cambodia - Demographic trends | history geography, 2017). Therefore, it is conceivable that the population is relatively homogenous with people of other origins such as Vietnamese forming only about 5% of the population and Chinese at around 1%. The statistics are dynamic which is attributable to civil war and genocide that characterized the country (Cambodia population 2017). Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion in Cambodia with over 95% adherents. On the other hand, the Muslim minorities in the country also practice the Islamic faith. Christians only account for about 1% of the religious groupings.

Indicators of Social and Economic Development in Cambodia

From the perspective of socio-economic development, Cambodia has recorded strong economic growth and attained the level of a middle-income economy in 2015 (Cambodia Overview, 2017). Between the years 2000 and 2010, the GDP of Cambodia went through an average 8% annual growth rate. Since 2011, the average annual GDP growth rate of 7% can be attributed to the growth of different industries including the garment, construction, and real estate enterprises (Cambodia Overview, 2017). The industries have also led to reduced unemployment. In 2015 when Cambodia attained a lower-middle-income economy, it's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita reached the tune of US$1,070 (Cambodia Economy: Population, GDP, Inflation, Business, Trade, FDI, Corruption, 2017). The garment and tourism enterprise are the greatest contributors to the sustained yearly GDP growth rate at an average of 7%. Nonetheless, sometimes like in 2015, the GDP per capita eased to 6.9% (Cambodia Economy: Population, GDP, Inflation, Business, Trade, FDI, Corruption, 2017).

Economic analysis indicates that Cambodia sustained a GDP with an average growth rate of 7.6 between 1994 and 2015 thus making it sixth internationally. Though still comparatively high, poverty in Cambodia continues to decline. The poverty level stood at 13.5% in 2014 which is a substantial decrease from the 2007 data when it was approximated at 47.8%. About 90% of the poor people in Cambodia live in the countryside (Cambodia Overview, 2017). Despite the fact that Cambodia met the Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty level in 2009, it only did so by a narrow margin. Therefore, around 4.5 million people in Cambodia are still near-poor. Health and literacy are among the critical challenges and development priorities that the country is making (Cambodia Overview, 2017). About 33% of the children below five years of age are stunted.

Despite the increase in primary school enrollment from about 82% in 1997 to 97% in 2016, the competition rate remains low. In 2013, the completion rate was estimated at 42% which is greatly below the average for a middle-income country (Cambodia Overview, 2017). Around 79% of Cambodia's population lacks access to clean water while 58% lack improved sanitation. The state has substantially progressed in the provision of maternal health and provision of elementary education. Between 2005 and 2015, maternal mortality decreased by around 311 people (Cambodia Economy: Population, GDP, Inflation, Business, Trade, FDI, Corruption, 2017). Cambodia continues to face myriads of challenges despite its development. These problems include inadequate quality public service delivery, administration of land, natural resources management, and good governance.

Crime and Delinquency Data

In 2014, criminal activity in Cambodia remained high. This trend is partly attributable to endemic corruption in the Caribbean National Police (CNP) and opaque judicial systems. The public perception of the adverse responsiveness and abilities of CNP and the justice system prompts the civilian vigilante-style justice in Cambodia. Most of the crimes committed in Cambodia are opportunistic and intended for financial gain (Broadhurst, 2006). Some of the common crime areas include public places such as bus stops, transportation centers, marketplaces, and crowded buses (Cambodia Crime. Safety and crime information for travel and tourism in Cambodia CountryReports, 2017). Furthermore, the country is a source, transit, and destination for human trafficking. Men, women, and children from different parts of the world are transported to Cambodia where they are subjected to various social vices including sex trafficking and forced labor (Broadhurst, 2006). There is an enterprise of Cambodian men who sexually exploit women and underage children who are made the object of sex tourism. Men from Western countries who subscribe to the antisocial practice of sex tourism go to Cambodia for such escapades. The rates of robbery including robbery involving murder have been on a declining trend since 1992, but it remains relatively high. In the rural areas of Cambodia, livestock theft is the most prevalent offense

The most common crimes in Cambodia fall into four broad categories including robbery, corruption, prostitution, and murder. Street crime including snatch and grab robbery is common in Cambodia. Most violent offenses such as armed robbery are also common and result from the ready availability of military weapons (Global Study on Homicide, 2017). Despite the efforts by relevant authorities to seize and destroy illegal weapons used by criminal groups, the mechanisms still prove inadequate in controlling the vice. Both locals and foreigners in Cambodia become victims of such easy access to weapons (Global Study on Homicide, 2017). 2012 crime statistics of Cambodia show that the rate of murder was 6.5 people per one hundred thousand population. In 2012 alone, a total of nine hundred and sixty-four killings occurred in Cambodia.

Types of the Transnational and International Crimes in Cambodia

Cambodia acts as a major transit point for illegal immigrants, especially Fujian Chinese into Europe and North America (Cambodia, 2017). Cambodia stands out as not only the source but also a destination and transit for men, women, and teenagers who are trafficked for sexual exploitation or forced labor. Migrants use unlicensed brokers in Cambodia to secure safe transportation, but they end up in sexual abuse and exploitation (Cambodia is seen as a haven for pedophiles and sex tourists, 2017). The worst case is that the agents in Cambodia lure children from low-income families and transport them to countries such as Thailand and Vietnam where they undergo inhuman treatment such as domestic servitude and forced labor. In the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, the United States Department of State rates Cambodia as a Tier 2 Watch List for human trafficking.

A 2004 report of the United States Departments Trafficking in Persons established that Cambodian men are the greatest source of demand for child prostitution. They collude with people from other Asian countries, Europe, and the United States among others to engage in sex tourism (Cambodia is seen as a haven for pedophiles and sex tourists, 2017). The United Nations children's rights committee estimated that at least one-third of the prostitutes in Cambodia are below the age of 18yesrs and are a result of human trafficking. According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 37% of the individuals trafficked to Cambodia for sexual exploitation are children (Cambodia is seen as a haven for pedophiles and sex tourists, 2017). Data compiled by Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) which is a Cambodian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) show that between 2003 and 2014, around 115 foreigners were convicted of child sex crimes.

The country also acts as a major center for the smuggling of prohibited narcotics such as heroin. Cambodia has porous borders that make it easy for drug trafficking to take place. The borders of Cambodia are mostly unpopulated and less monitored and uncontrolled hence drugs enter the country especially through the northern entry point. The drugs come through the Golden Triangle which lies along the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma. Most of these narcotics are then transported via road or river networks. Most cases of child recidivism and drug abuse in the country are associated with the trafficking of drugs.

The Nature of the Cambodian Criminal Justice System

In 1992, Cambodia acceded to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This strategy was domesticated with Article 1 of the country's population. Article 31 of the Cambodian constitution enshrines human rights obligations into the country's domestic law and policy (Broadhurst, Bouhours, & Keo, 2013). According to the law council decision in 2007, the provisions of the ICCPR and other international human rights regulations guide the Cambodian courts (Cambodian Center for Human Rights, 2014). The constitution provides for a fair trial and an elaborate framework through which the rights of criminals are protected. For instance, Article 38 proffers on Khmer citizens and provides for a fair hearing in a court of law.

Articles 51, 128, 130, 132 of the Cambodian Constitution also provides for the separation of powers and creates an independent judiciary hence reduced the political threat in the dispensation of justice (Cambodian Center for Human Rights, 2014). Furthermore, the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Kingdom of Cambodia (the CCPC) which was adopted in 2007 regulates the nature of the treatment to which suspects should be subjected. It also provides a clear cut between the roles and obligations of the jury, prosecution and defense counsel which is critical to its criminal jurisprudence (Cambodian Center for Human Rights, 2014). The Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia in June 2003 approved the Legal and Judicial Reform Strategy which establishes four cardinal principles based on the constitutional requirements. The principles include respect for individual rights of people, liberal democracy, the separation of powers, and upholding the rule of law.

National, International, and Regional Collaborative Crime Prevention Efforts of Cambodia

Cambodia continues to harness its criminal justice system and train security personnel to identify, trace and destroy criminal networks within the country. Furthermore, it collaborates with the international community especially in combating drug trafficking and human trafficking (International Justice Mission, 2015). Through collaboration with the International Justice Mission (IJM), Cambodia has been able to facilitate the progress towards combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). For instance, the IJM started documenting and investigating the cases of CSEC in Cambodia (International Justice Mission, 2015). Through the approach, it is possible to identify the causes, vulnerabilities, and effects of crimes as an important way to...

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