Phnom Penh, Cambodia: On Saturday, March 26, 2016, Destination Justice premiered its newest documentary, “Cambodia at a Crossroads: On the Road to Rule of Law” to the general public in a screening and talk at The Justice Cafe & Library in Phnom Penh.
“The road is where we have the most recurrent interactions with others, interactions that are regulated for our protection as individuals but also for the common good. It is certainly the main space where the social contract is visible. Every day, rule of law and the social contract are undermined. If we want to make a change, the only answer is to develop a culture of rule of law and there is no better place than the road to do so,” said Destination Justice’s President Mr. Rodolphe Prom.
The short and compelling documentary was produced by Destination Justice with the financial support of the French Embassy in Cambodia. It highlights changing people’s behaviour on the road by educating people on the importance of respecting and enforcing the traffic law, because everyone has the right to access the road. Through interviews with tuk tuk drivers, motodops, motorcyclists, ambulance drivers, pedestrians and members of the public set to the background of various roads in Phnom Penh, the documentary depicts a very unsettling picture of road safety in Cambodia. Interviewees stress concern for the lack of respect for others on the road, the increased number of deadly accidents, and the impunity faced by those who do not follow the law. Recommendations to increase road safety include moving with traffic, rather than against it, wearing your helmet, and refraining from mobile phone use while driving a motorcycle or car. Regardless of a person’s background, the theme throughout the film is clear, people are afraid to be on the road and behaviours must change, so that everyone can travel safely to their destinations. Additionally, increasing the rule of law as it pertains to road safety is an obvious and extremely important start in the process of increasing the rule of law in other areas of Cambodian life. French Embassy spokesman Nicolas Baudouin said that “this documentary will hopefully be an efficient and practical way to address the issue of road safety, a problem affecting Cambodians from all walks of life. This is a small but concrete initiative to raise awareness about the importance of rule of law in any society”.
In reality, the numbers involving traffic safety in Cambodia are alarming. According to Ear Chariya, Director of the Institute for Road Safety, 2,300 individuals were killed in Cambodia last year due to traffic related incidents, including 175 children. Additionally, 15,000 individuals were injured, meaning that on average 40 people were injured and 6 people were killed daily in 2015. 73% of road deaths were motorcycle riders. Road accidents cause more annual deaths than malaria, dengue, and landmines combined. In his remarks, Ear Chariya called for the support of law enforcement to ensure safety on the roads.
Following the premiere of the film, Destination Justice held a Q&A session with Rodolphe Prom, President of Destination Justice, Ear Chariya,and Sophanny Mom, a Destination Justice Program Officer who helped to produce the film. Audience members asked several interesting questions related to the enforcement of traffic laws, and how behaviours can be changed to increase road safety.
In addition to the premiere on March 26th, Destination Justice held a Conference with RULE students on March 29th to screen and discuss the film. Additional screenings of the film at other universities will also be held in the coming months. Additionally, Destination Justice has set up an online campaign to encourage the public to “Take the Pledge” for safer roads. The pledge encourages individuals to respect speed limits, respect the authority of traffic police, and to give full attention to the road by not using a mobile device. Destination Justice will roll out a mass email campaign to encourage viewing the documentary and allow the opportunity for members of the public to get more actively involved in Destination Justice’s campaign for safer roads.
To watch Cambodia at a Crossroads, take the pledge, or find out more about supporting Destination Justice and increasing road safety, check out this page.
Cambodia at a Crossroads: On the Road to Rule of Law is the latest project from Destination Justice, a social change organisation. As such we believe that together, we can end injustice. To that end, we set ideas in motion, we provide tools to changemakers, and we take action when necessary. It was established in 2011 with headquarters in France, sister associations in Australia and in Cambodia.
CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION:
Media and sponsorship inquiries should be directed to Rodolphe Prom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on Cambodia at a Crossroads: On the Road to Rule of Law can be found here: