A government official called on demining operators to work together to combat landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) following the extension of Cambodia’s deadline to meet the goals of the Mine-Free World 2025 initiative.
“Mine action is humanitarian in nature. We are all on this job because of compassion. It is an act of compassion for people whose lands and lives are healed – from injury, fear, and restriction of movement.
“Let us work together with compassion to elevate the dignity of our innocent survivors and victims,” said senior minister and Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) secretary-general Ly Thuch at the post-Oslo Review Conference on a Mine-Free World 2025 on Thursday.
Thuch reported that Cambodia was granted a second extension until December 31, 2025, under Article 5.1 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, to complete clearance of anti-personnel mines in contaminated areas.
The announcement follows after the Fourth Review Conference on a Mine-Free World held on November 26 in Oslo, Norway, where Thuch addressed the Kingdom’s demining progress and submitted a second request to extend the deadline to meet obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty.
“We made a clear statement during the conference upon accepting this extension. We will waste no time to work on fulfilling our promise and execute the plan outlined in our request.
“We will also develop new mechanisms to closely monitor our performance,” said Thuch on Thursday.
The Kingdom has reiterated its ambition to the international community to become a mine-free state by 2025, he said.
The goal, Thuch said, was made not to cater to any international pressure but to alleviate the people’s suffering.
From 1992 to last year, Cambodia had cleared a total of 1,823sq km of mines and ERW. From the area, 1,064,354 anti-personnel mines, 24,840 anti-tank mines and 2,775,748 ERW were removed.
As of the end of this year, 806sq km of mine-contaminated land remains to be addressed.
Tun Channareth, ambassador to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which was the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, said at the conference that ICBL would continue its initiative until a mine-free world is achieved.
“We call on you – our champions, old and new – to be bold and creative in implementing our treaty and the Oslo Action Plan.
“We need to finish the clearance job by 2025. Let the Oslo Action Plan make that a reality, along with your political commitment and generous funding,” he said, adding “2025 is only five years away. Let’s move with determination, compassion and courage to finish the job.”