LY THUCH, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), encouraged state institutions and businesses to recruit suitably-qualified people with mine-related disabilities, saying they are part of contribution to national development.

Thuch reiterated the call as he met with several landmine and explosive remnant of war (ERW) survivors in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town on January 27.

“Mine-related disabilities were not their choice but the result of internal conflicts that led to decades of civil war,” he said.

He noted that despite their disabilities, some mine accident victims he has met are still capable of joining the government to develop the nation. In turn, the government has encouraged state institutions and businesses to recruit the disabled for suitable positions.

Thuch said the preservation of peace is the only thing that can lead the country to a prosperous future, adding that the Kingdom is on track to reach its mine free goal by 2025.

He noted that under the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action [STP-MA], the Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation and its development partners, this year around 411sq km will be demined.

“This year, we will declare Phnom Penh and 17 provinces mine-free. The remaining seven provinces – Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear – will be cleared by 2025,” he continued.

Hun Manet, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), said the day the Kingdom is finally free from the threats posed by landmines will be a glorious occasion.

Kampong Cham province is expected to be declared mine-free on February 16, with Svay Rieng province set to follow on February 20.