The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced a January 16 training course on mine clearance technologies for Ukrainian officers at the Technical Institute of Mine Action (TIMA) in Kampong Chhnang province.

The training course was overseen by CMAC director-general Heng Ratana. Also in attendance were Nozomu Yamashita, director of the Office for Governance and Peace-building at JICA in Tokyo, and Vladyslav Fedortsov, deputy director of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU). It was conducted with the support of the Japanese government through JICA.

Ratana said at the event that though Cambodia’s chronic state of war had ended in late 1998, the legacy of war left behind tragedy, division of families and communities and destruction of physical infrastructure.

He said that in particular the remaining explosive remnants of war (ERW) – such as millions of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) – are hidden killers scattered throughout Cambodia and pose a heavy burden for the government and people.

“I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen for allowing CMAC to provide technical training on demining equipment to Ukrainian mine action officers. I would like to renew my sincere thanks and high appreciation to the Japanese government and people, in particular JICA and JICS [Japan International Cooperation System], for their commitments and efforts to materialise today’s training course,” he said.

During the ASEAN Summits in November 2022 in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida expressed strong commitment to supporting humanitarian mine action in Ukraine. Following the two leaders’ pledge, CMAC is going to provide training to the SESU on demining technologies – in particular a Japanese-made mine detection device called ALIS (Advanced Landmine Imaging System).

In a January 13 press release, CMAC said the problem of landmines and UXOs due to the war on the territory of Ukraine is posing a serious danger to civilians and also an obstacle to the millions of refugees who intend to return to their homes now or in the future.

A joint press release said the work of clearing mines and ERWs is a necessary and urgent humanitarian action to guarantee the safety of the Ukrainian people and support the process of rebuilding homes and infrastructure and clearing land for agriculture.

CMAC said the work clearing the mines and munitions builds people’s confidence in safety and improves their livelihoods, but the work takes time and patience.