Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - State set for munitions talks

State set for munitions talks

State set for munitions talks

DELEGATES from around the world will descend on Laos this week to discuss an international treaty banning cluster bombs, which continue to ravage the Kingdom after they were dropped by the thousands decades ago.

Once instrumental in drafting the treaty, Cambodia has yet to ratify it, despite being among the countries most severely affected by cluster munitions.

Chan Rotha, Deputy Secretary General of Cambodian Mine Action Authority, said the impact of cluster munitions in the Kingdom made a Cambodian presence at the meeting symbolically important. CMAA deputy secretary general Prum Sopheak Mongkol, who will attend the meeting as an observer, departed for Vientiane yesterday.

“We want to show the world that  Cambodians are victimised by American cluster munitions, and that we hate [the bombs] and want them destroyed and gone because they have killed many people”, Chan Rotha said.

Representatives from about 100 countries will attend the four-day summit, according to the Cluster Munition Coalition, an advocacy group. CMC said the meeting “is expected to be a defining moment in the life of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the most significant disarmament treaty in over a decade”.

Country representatives are expected to adopt an “action plan” to implement the agreement at the meeting, which ends on Friday.

Cluster bombs, launched from the ground or dropped from the air, split open before impact to scatter multiple bomblets over a wide area. Many initially fail to explode and can lie hidden for decades.

State parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, ratified by 45 countries, must immediately end the use and production of cluster munitions. The agreement went into effect in August, and also requires signatories to provide support to victims, destroy existing stockpiles and clear contaminated land.

The government has cited security concerns in explaining its reluctance to endorse the treaty, noting that regional rival Thailand had yet to sign. It has also voiced concerns about its ability to clear munitions within the prescribed timeline.

Heng Rattana, director general of Cambodian Mine Action Centre, said CMAC had cleared more than 50,000 cluster munitions since 2002. Some 223 people in Cambodia were reported killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war in the first nine months of this year, according to the CMAA.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman