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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pageant receives overseas support

Pageant receives overseas support

THE organiser of the banned Miss Landmine beauty pageant says the event has received strong international support, including an email petition campaigning for the event's reinstatement.

The Social Affairs Ministry ordered the event shut down Sunday, saying it would affect the "honour and dignity" of the female mine victims taking part.

Organiser Morten Traavik said Tuesday he had received a flood of emails in support, and that an online campaign had been launched in the US, calling for the ban to be lifted.

"I think it shows that the world is watching," he said. "What this whole debacle shows is ... that the Cambodian government is not ready to elevate its disabled community to the status of the rest of the population."

In a letter to Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs, Bali, Indonesia, resident Michael Prentice, who was born with an atrophied leg, called for the ministry to rescind the ban.

"I have looked on YouTube to see images of past pageants, and I do not find them offensive or degrading," he wrote.

"Hopefully you will reconsider your decision and allow these women to show their strength, spirit, talents and beauty to the world. We disabled are able to make decisions regarding our welfare."

Ith Sam Heng could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH

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