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
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
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