Cambodia

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 30 August 2013

Victim Assistance Commitments

Cambodia is responsible for significant numbers of landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW) who are in need. Cambodia has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Casualties

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2012

64,202 since 1979

Casualties in 2012

186 (2011: 211)

2012 casualties by outcome

43 killed; 143 injured (2011: 43 killed; 168 injured)

2012 casualties by device type

29 antipersonnel mines; 37 antivehicle mines; 1 unexploded submunitions; 119 ERW

Details and trends

In 2012, the Cambodia Mine/unexploded ordnance (UXO) Victim Information System (CMVIS) recorded 186 casualties from mines, ERW, and unexploded submunitions. The vast majority of the total casualties (176, which is 95%) were civilians. Some 35% of the civilian casualties were children (61), including 46 boys and 15 girls. This represents an increase in the overall number of child casualties and percentage of total civilians casualties compared to 27% (51) of civilian casualties in 2011. Thirty-three percent of all casualties were female, reporting the highest known percentage of female casualties to date in Cambodia. Of the total adult civilian casualties, 98 were men and 27 were women.[1] One casualty was a deminer. Another nine casualties were security personnel, including two Thai nationals.[2]

The 186 casualties recorded in 2012 represented a continuing trend of significant decreases in the number of annual casualties, with 211 recorded in 2011 and 286 in 2010. This trend was also represented in a reduction of mine/ERW incidents by a quarter, from 104 incidents in 2011 to 77 in 2012.[3] However, the number of people killed in 2012 remained constant when compared with 2011 at 43. In 2012, antivehicle mines continued to cause a greater number of casualties than antipersonnel mines, following a trend that began in 2010.

As of the end of 2012, CMVIS reported at least 64,202 mine/ERW casualties in Cambodia: 19,662 people were killed and another 44,540 injured since 1979.[4]

Cluster munition casualties

One casualty from an unexploded submunition was recorded in 2012. This is a decrease compared to previous years, with 16 cluster submunition casualties recorded in 2011 and 17 in 2010.[5] For the period from 1998 to the end of 2012, 191 cluster munition remnant casualties were reported in Cambodia.[6] However, data collection on cluster munition casualties has been limited and the total number, although not known, is thought to be much higher. Cambodia is among the countries considered to be among the states “worst affected” by cluster munitions with responsibility for significant numbers of cluster munition victims.[7]

Victim Assistance

The total number of survivors in Cambodia is not known. Over 44,000 people have been reported to have been injured by mines/ERW.[8]

Summary of victim assistance efforts since 1999[9]

The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) delegated responsibility for the coordination of victim assistance to the Ministry of Social Action (MoSVY) and its support mechanism, the Disability Action Council (DAC). Despite hopes for improved national disability representation following a long restructuring process by DAC, the DAC was placed directly under ministerial authority in 2010. The focus of coordination changed from survivors to broader disability needs when the National Coordination Committee on Disabilities (NCCD) replaced the Steering Committee for Landmine Victim Assistance in 2009.

Survivors had increased opportunities to access free healthcare programs. However, emergency transportation to save lives was not widely available. Through NGO efforts to expand services and geographical coverage, physical rehabilitation improved in both quality and in the number of services available from existing service providers. Since 1999, services in physical rehabilitation have been available throughout the country from both government agencies and NGOs. Gradual improvements were made in the availability of employment opportunities, social inclusion activities, and accessibility of existing services. Inclusive education programs provided by the government and relevant organizations increased. There were more vocational services for survivors in 1999 than in 2012, as programs were phased out due to resource availability. There has been an increased emphasis on community based rehabilitation efforts. Coordination among governmental bodies responsible for the provision of victim assistance steadily improved.

Reaching survivors in remote and rural areas remained a challenge for service providers and generally these populations did not receive adequate assistance. Many survivors lacked education and literacy and had no work or land from which to make a living. Overall, they received little or no support and did not have full access to social services and healthcare.

Assessing victim assistance needs

In 2012–2013, the CMAA, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) Survivor Network, and the NGO Aarrupe carried out an intensive survey of survivor needs and quality of life. Survey teams involved village leaders and the survey included discussion of disability rights laws and issues.[10]

CMVIS provided ongoing systematic data collection of mine/ERW casualties, including numbers of survivors and referrals to services.[11] The Community Database, maintained by the Ministry of Planning, is used for annual planning and to assess the allocation of funding to communes.The CMAA department of Victim Assistance cooperated with the Ministry of Planning to have its victim assistance questionnaire integrated into the Commune Database in 2011 and its use continued throughout 2012 and 2013.[12]Lack of reliable statistics on disability was reported to be among the main issues of concern for the promotion of disability rights in Cambodia.[13]

Victim assistance coordination[14]

Government coordinating body/focal point

MoSVY and the DAC, as delegated by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA)

Coordinating mechanism

National Disability Coordination Committee (NDCC)

Plan

National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities, including Landmine/ERW Survivors 2009–2013 (National Plan of Action)

The NDCC is co-chaired by both the MoSVY and the DAC; the DAC itself operates directly under the MoSVY. In 2012, coordination of both the NCCD and DAC were the responsibility of just one person. The roles were to be separated by 2013. The NDCC included some victim assistance service providers as well as other disability actors. In 2012, the 2009 National Plan of Action was extended until the end of 2013. A government decree assigned responsibility to the Ministry of Social Affairs for the development of a new national strategic plan, implementation mechanism, and advisory body for the period 2014–2018. The process was supported by Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).[15]

In 2012 and 2013, the CMAA was expanding its projects from targeted assistance for landmine survivors to include people with disabilities more generally by focusing on community-based reintegration projects that would support poverty reduction.[16]

In 2012, the MoSVY continued to have core responsibility for disability issues and rehabilitation services. The Disabled Fund, created in 2012 under the MoSVY, was given the following responsibilities in regard to people with disabilities: management of rehabilitation centers; provision of funds for implementing various projects such as support to education, vocational training, and job placement services; and preparation of policy for assisting and supporting people with disabilities.[17] The Fund remained under development in 2012 with no specific activities reported.[18]

Several other ministries were involved in disability issues, including the Ministry of Health, which promoted physiotherapy services; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, with a Special Education Office responsible for promoting inclusive education for children with disabilities; the Ministry of Public Works and Transport; and the Ministry of National Defense.[19]

Cambodia provided updates on progress in the coordination of victim assistance at both the meeting of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration in May 2013 and at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2012. It made a detailed statement on victim assistance activities at the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions that was held in Oslo in September 2012.[20] Cambodia also included updates on physical rehabilitation and medical services provided to persons with disabilities in 2012 in  of its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report.[21]

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

Representative organizations of survivors and persons with disabilities were included in coordination and planning activities through the NDCC. Survivors were engaged in the implementation of many services provided by NGOs and extensively involved in the village-level disability survey in 2012–2013.[22]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Emergency and continuing medical care

Health services provided to new mine/ERW survivors remained similar to 2011, which had improved in some mine/ERW affected communities.[23]There was an urgent need in Cambodia for free hospital care for vulnerable people with disabilities.[24]

Physical rehabilitation including prosthetics

While some centers reported an increase in services provided, others reported decreases overall including in the number of mine/ERW survivors accessing the services.[25]A decrease in the number of services reported in 2012 as compared to 2011 was attributed to a combination of financial constraints on the centers in transition to MoSVY management, to a reduction in outreach services, and to less assistance than previously available to cover transportation and lodging costs for beneficiaries to access services.[26]Yet, in 2012, the number of prostheses provided by rehabilitation centers was recorded to have increased from 2011, while the number of repairs to prostheses fell dramatically.[27] DAC reported that, due to a lack of statistical data, MoSVY could not provide exact details, or even estimates, of the number of people receiving assistance from rehabilitation centers.[28]

Economic and social integration and psychological support

More than 50 NGOs, in cooperation with MoSAVY, provided economic and social reintegration services to persons with disabilities, including landmine/ERW survivors. Such assistance included living support allowances, income generating activities, house repairs, transportation, and the creation of self-help groups.[29]

Persons with disabilities continued to lack equal access to education, training, and employment. Cambodia lacked a national integrated system for psychological or psychiatric assistance.[30] Self-helps groups, mostly supported by NGOs, provided local services at the provincial level and were monitored by the CBR network.[31] Lack of awareness, understanding, funding, human resources, and leadership, as well as poor coordination of groups working in mental health, were reported to be among the biggest challenges to accessing adequate psychological support.[32]

Due to a lack of financial and human resources, many vocational training centers were not functioning and there was a need for increased opportunities for vocational training and micro-credit.[33]

Laws and policies

The 2009 Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law also requires that buildings and government services be accessible to persons with disabilities.[34]However, inaccessibility to public buildings, transport, facilities, and referral systems continued to prevent persons with disabilities from actively participating in social and economic activities.[35]

Cambodia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 20 December 2012.

 



[1] See previous editions of the Monitor at www.the-monitor.org.

[2] Monitor analysis of CMVIS casualty data provided by email from Nguon Monoketya, CMVIS Officer, CMAA, 14 March 2013.

[3] The 2012 casualty total was much lower than the number of casualties recorded prior to 2005 when a continuing decrease became the trend. For example, 875 new landmine/ERW casualties were recorded in 2005 and 898 in 2004. See past editions of the Monitor at www.the-monitor.org.

[4] CMAA, “CMVIS Monthly Report December 2012,” www.cmaa.gov.kh/upload/cmvis_dec_12.pdf. However, various reporting sources have differed. It was reported in the Landmine Monitor Report2008, that, as of 31 December 2007, the CMVIS database contained records on 66,070 mine/ERW casualties in Cambodia: 19,402 killed and 46,668 injured. ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada: October 2008), www.the-monitor.org. See also, Kingdom of Cambodia, “National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities, including Landmine/ERW Survivors 2009–2011,” Phnom Penh, February 2009, p. 9, which reports 63,217 casualties between 1979 and August 2008.

[5] Monitor analysis of CMVIS casualty data provided by email from Nguon Monoketya, CMAA, 14 March 2013.

[6] For the period 2005 to the end of 2012, 120 cluster munition remnant casualties were identified by CMVIS. Another 83 casualties which occurred prior to 2005 were reported in, HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (HI: Brussels, May 2007), pp. 23 and 26; and Monitor analysis of CMVIS casualty data provided by email from Nguon Monoketya, CMVIS Officer, CMAA, 14 March 2013. See also previous Cambodia Country Profiles at the Monitor, www.the-monitor.org. Prior to 2006, cluster munitions remnants incidents were not differentiated from other ERW incidents in data.

[7] “Draft Beirut Progress Report,” CCM/MSP/2011/WP.5, 25 August 2011, pp. 10–11, www.clusterconvention.org/files/2011/05/Beirut-Progress-Report-ODS-upload4.pdf. The definition of a cluster munition victim encompasses the individuals, their families and affected communities.

[8] CMVIS casualty data provided by email from Chhiv Lim, CMAA, 17 February 2012. The number of registered mine/ERW survivors in Cambodia was reported to be 13,394. Ministry of Health and MoSVY, “Cambodia Country Report,” 8th ASEAN and Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies, Tokyo, 30 August–2 September 2010, p. 20, www.mhlw.go.jp.

[9] Unless otherwise noted, information presented in this section is drawn from the Cambodia country reports and profiles from 1999 to date, www.the-monitor.org.

[10] Interviews with Denise Coghlan, Director, JRS Cambodia, and with Chan Rotha, Deputy Secretary-General, CMAA, in Geneva, 17 April 2013; and with Set Muhammadsis, Deputy Director, DAC and Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 31 May 2013.

[11] Analysis of CMVIS Monthly Reports for calendar year 2012.

[12] Interview with Set Muhammadsis, DAC and Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 31 May 2013.

[13] Presentation by Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Vientiane, 21 November 2012.

[14] Statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 29 November 2011; and statement of Cambodia, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 24 May 2012.

[15] Statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 December 2012; interviews with Set Muhammadsis, DAC and Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 31 May 2013 and 17 April 2013; with Denise Coghlan, JRS Cambodia, and with Sem Sokha, MoSAVY and Rotha Chan, CMAA, in Geneva, 25 May 2012.

[16] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Ung Sambath, Deputy Director, DAC, Phnom Penh, 3 April 2013.

[17] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, 2013, (to be published), draft by email from Didier Cooreman, Head of Physical Rehabilitation Project, ICRC, 19 March 2013.

[18] Interview with Denise Coghlan, JRS Cambodia, and with Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 17 April 2013.

[19] US Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Cambodia,” Washington, DC, 19 April 2013.

[20] Statement of Cambodia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 12 September 2012.

[21] Statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 December 2012; statement of Cambodia, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 29 May 2013; and statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form J.

[22] Interview with Denise Coghlan, JRS Cambodia, and with Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 17 April 2013.

[23] Interview with Set Muhammadsis, DAC and Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 31 May 2013.

[24] Statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 29 November 2011; and presentation by Song Kosal, ICBL Ambassador, Parallel Program for Victim Assistance Experts, Geneva, 21–22 June 2011.

[25] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, 2013; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Keo Rithy, Country Representative, VI, 5 March 2013.

[26] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Ung Sambath, DAC, Phnom Penh, 3 April 2013.

[27] In 2012: 12,726 prosthetics were produced, 12,176 distributed and 683 repaired. In 2011: 11,792 prosthetics were produced, 8,923 distributed and 1,628 repaired. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form J; and Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form J.

[28] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Ung Sambath, DAC, Phnom Penh, 3 April 2013.

[29] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2012), Form J.

[30] Ministry of Health and MoSVY, “Cambodia Country Report,” 8th ASEAN and Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies, Tokyo, 30 August–2 September 2010, p. 17, www.mhlw.go.jp.

[31] Interview with Sem Sokha, MoSAVY and Chan Rotha, CMAA, in Geneva, 25 May 2012.

[32] “Mental Health Care Cambodia,” 2 January 2013, Asia Life, www.asialifemagazine.com/cambodia/mental-health-care-cambodia/. “Analysis: What ails Cambodia's mental health system?,” IRIN, 12 March 2012, www.irinnews.org/report/95054/.

[33] Statement of Cambodia, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 23 May 2012. By mid-2012 there were only two functioning vocational training centers for people with disabilities in Cambodia, the Panteay Prieb center operated by JSC and the Phnom Penh Thmey center supported by JCIA. Email from Denise Coghlan, JRS, 28 June 2012.

[34] US Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Cambodia,” Washington, DC, 19 April 2013.

[35] Presentation by Ith Sam Heng, MoSVY, Parallel Programme for Victim Assistance Experts, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, 28 November 2011; and presentation by Kim Sauvon, Chief of Bureau of Mental Health, Department of Hospital Services, Ministry of Health, Parallel Programme for Victim Assistance Experts, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, 28 November 2011.