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Demining employing over 700 women

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Woman deminers clear landmines in Pursat province in November 2021. CMAA

Demining employing over 700 women

From January to November, more than 700 women have been working as deminers and destroying unexplored ordnance to ensure public safety, according to a report by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).

According to a seven minute video posted by the CMAA, for three decades only men worked in the field of mine clearance and unexploded ordnance (UXO) disposal because only men were viewed as being physically fit for this high-risk job, but now more and more women are involved in demining and UXO clearance work, both locally and abroad, showing that the discriminatory views on women’s involvement in the sector in the past were incorrect.

The report notes that many women are now taking on leadership roles with Cambodia’s institutions and its partner demining institutions.

“From January to November, mine action in Cambodia has attracted many women participants and currently 722 women are working as deminers and UXO clearance specialists to ensure safety and give hope to local people,” the report said.

CMAA said it has been actively involved in the promotion of women in mine action at all levels, in line with the government’s motto that women are the backbone of the economy and society and its policy of promoting gender equality, protecting women’s rights and empowering women to participate in all social and political activities.

Ly Thuch, senior minister and first vice-president of the CMAA, said Cambodia was very proud of the women who were fulfilling their mission for the cause of peace and security for the nation and the world.

National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malinda also said that young women in uniform participating in peacekeeping missions were the pride of the nation.

Malinda said that when women were encouraged to take on these opportunities by leaders, they were brave in performing all tasks assigned to them.

“I would like to encourage other young women from the units of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who are willing to serve the motherland for themselves and their families. I encourage them to apply to our centre. Although they may not know it, the director general plans to further strengthen their ability to go on missions and perform these duties,” she said.

Thong Chen Duong , a Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Cambodia cluster bomb researcher in Ratanakkiri province, said she decided to take part in this work after a bomb killed a man in Yeak Loam commune’s Chri village near where she lived.

“That is why I want to be involved in helping the community to be aware about the danger of mines and cluster bombs,” she said.

The government has established the “Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Fund” to achieve the goal of clearing the Kingdom’s remaining landmines by 2025, in a bid to provide security and harmony for people from all walks of life.

Pursuant to the Sub-Decree on the Establishment of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Fund on December 3, it was decided to establish the “Cambodia Mine Action Fund 2025” for budget management in mine and UXO clearing as well as clearing suspected areas of landmines and UXO to support the goal of mine-free Cambodia 2025.

According to the sub-decree, which contains eight articles, the Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Fund received an initial contribution from the state budget of $30 million for 2023-25. More contributions – from the state and other sources – are expected to be made in successive years when necessary.


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