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Mine conference seeking ban, money

Mine conference seeking ban, money

T HE onus will be on the Royal Government to ban land mines and destroy mine

stockpiles during the third NGO conference on land mines in Phnom Penh starting

June 2.

The conference is the first such one in Asia and also the first

ever held in a heavily mined country.

"This conference will encourage

'land mine junkies' to see the real thing," conference coordinator Ali Ramsay

said, "and not just in terms of the initial explosion, but how it affects the

family, the community and the country."

Conference delegates - and some

famous names have been invited and replies are now being confirmed - will visit

mined and de-mining sites, hospitals and clinics.

Another goal of the

conference is to encourage regional groups to become more dynamic in their

efforts to understand the problems of mines.

"Asia is a heavily mined

region but very little (advocacy) is happening," Ramsay said. "Cambodia is

unique in that it is the only severely mined country that has such a strong

anti-mine lobby."

Mine advocacy groups will also be after more funding,

according to the conference goals.

"There is incredibly little research

being done into the social and economic impact of mines. We will be highlighting

the need to look much more deeply into the real costs and finding out what can

be done about it," Ramsay said.

The Cambodian government, especially the

Ministry of Defense, has been enthusiastic in supporting the conference, she

said.

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