Mondulkiri Province achieved mine-free status, joining 13 other provinces cleared since 2002. The declaration marks a significant step toward eliminating the lingering threat of landmines from the region’s wartime legacy.
Ly Thuch, senior minister and first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), led the celebration marking Mondulkiri’s declaration as a mine-free province on November 14.
“Prime Minister Hun Manet expressed his commitment to achieving mine-free status in Mondulkiri province by the end of 2023, ensuring the region is liberated from the threat of landmines,” he said.
He added that three operators, including the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC), the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and MAG Cambodia, cleared an area of approximately 18 sq km. This progress was supported by the government through the “Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Fund,” as well as contributions from friendly countries and development partners.
He noted that achieving a mine-free status in Mondulkiri is a historic milestone for both the government and the people of the province. This accomplishment signifies freedom from the lingering threat of landmines, a legacy of the war, and is rooted in the enduring pursuit of peace and the win-win policy initiated by former Prime Minister Hun Sen’s dedicated efforts.
“With the dividends of peace, the clearance of mines has significantly improved the security, safety and livelihoods of Cambodians residing in communities impacted by explosive remnants of war (ERW),” he said.
Thuch stated that this marks the achievement of over 30 years of mine and ERW clearance efforts in Cambodia. The government has invested over $200 million to safeguard the safety and welfare of people nationwide.
In 2024, Cambodia will undertake the Ottawa Convention chairmanship, selecting Siem Reap as the venue for the Siem Reap-Angkor Summit on a Mine-Free World. The summit will welcome representatives from states-parties and observers from around the world.
“Cambodia’s hosting will enable representatives from nearly 200 nations to shift perceptions about our country and serve as advocates for sharing positive news from Cambodia to the global audience,” he said.
According to a report from CMAA, Cambodia has successfully cleared nearly 2,800 sq km of landmines and ERW, eliminating millions of unexploded ordnance, with positive impacts reaching over 11 million people over the years.
The 14 regions declared mine-free encompass Phnom Penh, Stung Treng, Kep, Prey Veng, Preah Sihanouk, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Takeo, Kampot, Kampong Speu and Mondulkiri.