Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Miss landmine furore

Miss landmine furore

Miss landmine furore

The organiser of the 2009 Miss Landmine pageant has accused an Australian NGO head of “playing a direct role” in its cancellation last year.

In August 2009, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced that the pageant – which was to feature 20 Cambodian victims of land mines and explosives remnants of war – would not be allowed to go forward, saying it would damage the “dignity and rights of the disabled”.

The organiser of the pageant has laid part of the blame for that decision at the feet of Chris Minko, secretary general of Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled).

A press release points to an interview Minko gave for a Canadian documentary on the pageant, set to premiere in the United States on October 16, in which he allegedly “shares his passionately dismissive views on the Miss Landmine project, labeling it ‘sexist’, ‘a flesh market’ and ‘in very bad taste’.”

The release goes on to say that Minko advised Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng to kick pageant director Morten Traavik out of the country, saying, “Get him out. People like that are not needed in this landscape.”

Minko said via email that he had merely made his opinion on the pageant known to the ministry.

I find beauty pageants degrade and exploit women – be it women with a disability or without a disability,” he said. “There are more dignified ways of showcasing the ability of Cambodian women landmine survivors.”
Traavik said he found Minko’s “apparently central” role in the cancellation of the pageant “troubling on a number of levels”.
“Most troubling is that these are the kinds of advisers that the Cambodian government apparently take cues from,” he said.

He also said he hoped the documentary, titled “Miss Landmine”, would be screened in Cambodia.
Sem Sokha, a secretary of state at the ministry, said he had not received any proposal for the screening of the documentary. Asked if the government would allow it to be shown, he said, “We have banned [the pageant]. Now there is no new news about it.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHHAY CHANNYDA

]]>

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not