M ORE than 400 people from 38 countries have been confirmed as participants at
the three-day international land mine conference to be held in Phnom Penh from
June 2 - 4.
The conference, hosted by the NGO Forum on Cambodia and the
Cambodia Campaign to Ban Land Mines, will work toward an international ban on
land mines. Conference organizers would also like to see the Cambodian
government blow up its existing stockpile of mines.
spokeswoman Linda Hartke, of Church World Services, said speakers at the
conference will include many with first-hand knowledge of the devastating
effects of land mines, including deminers, land mine disabled persons and
providers of social and medical services targeting mine victims around the
She said the main aim of the conference was to bridge the gap
between abstract ideas and the harsh reality of living with mines.
said another important goal was to mobilize regional groups to become more
involved in the international campaign to ban land mines. The conference will
also explore the human, social and economic impact of mines and look for ways to
increase funding for demining and for mine victims.
The 38 countries
were identified as Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan,
Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Austria, Belgium,
France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden,
Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United
States of America.
Hartke said $110,000 had been given by 27
organizations to sponsor the conference, $50,000 of which has been used to pay
for some of the participants to come. The Cambodian government had donated the
use of the CDC building to hold the conference for free.