Demining work serves the future well-being of the people and ensures a safer life for the next generation of children, a senior official said during a ceremony declaring Puok district in Siem Reap province mine-free.    

Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), lauded demining initiatives and collaboration among state agencies, development partners and local and international operators.

"Together, our aim is to alleviate the suffering of people facing the threat of landmines. This event is also an occasion for all donors to express compassion and support for Cambodian residents in mine-contaminated areas," Thuch said.

"The demining initiatives are dedicated to securing a better future for the people and children, freeing them from the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war [ERW]," he said.

According to the CMAA, Puok is the third administrative region of Siem Reap province, following the namesake provincial town and Kralanh district, to undergo HALO Trust's final demining efforts, covering 3.51sq km. This collaborative initiative involves the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC) and the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Speaking at the ceremony, Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Pin Prakod noted the government's consistent efforts since 1992. During this period, demining and ERW clearance have successfully covered over 13,000ha of land. Deminers discovered and safely eliminated 23,468 anti-personnel mines, 723 anti-tank mines, and 117,469 ERWs, benefiting close to 230,000 households.

"The provincial administration intends to seek approval for clearance in 66 additional locations under the upcoming 2024 plan. This initiative aims to clear over 11sq km of landmines and ERWs," he said.

Cambodia recently garnered support and high appreciation from the 164 countries party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, commonly referred to as the Ottawa Treaty. This recognition led to Cambodia being elected as the chair and host for the 5th Review Conference in Siem Reap from November 25-29 next year. 

The Siem Reap Angkor Summit on a Mine-Free World will serve as a global showcase of the government's efforts to transform former battlefields into places filled with smiles and enduring peace.

On the same day, Khuon Phon Rattanak, secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, met with Irish ambassador Deirdre NiFhalluin to discuss demining efforts in Cambodia.

According to the ministry, Rattanak thanked Ireland for its invaluable assistance over the years, particularly in the fields of demining and education.

The Irish envoy also reaffirmed her government's commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Cambodia. This commitment specifically extends to supporting demining efforts and providing nutritional assistance through regional aid initiatives.