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Table of Contents
Country Reports
Cambodia, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Cambodia

Key developments since May 2002: In 2002, a total of 34.7 million square meters of land was cleared, including 41,030 antipersonnel mines. In 2002, 834 new mine and UXO casualties were reported, a small increase from 2001. In September 2002, Cambodia became co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies. In March 2003, Cambodia hosted a regional seminar “Building a Co-operative Future for Mine Action in South East Asia.”

Mine Ban Policy

Cambodia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 28 July 1999. The treaty entered into force for Cambodia on 1 January 2000. The Law to Prohibit the Use of Anti-Personnel Mines entered into force on 28 May 1999.[1] The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) has worked to enforce the law regarding the destruction of landmines found by villagers.[2]

Cambodia reported that it does not have any antipersonnel mine production facilities.[3] There are no specific allegations of transfer of antipersonnel mines. However, villagers in Pailin demanded money from CMAC to surrender mines for destruction. [4] There are no reports of use of antipersonnel or antivehicle mines by government forces or any opposition forces.

At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2002 Cambodia, along with Japan, became co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies. Cambodia and Japan will become co-chairs of the Standing Committee in September 2003.[5]

Cambodia participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Cambodia submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report on 15 April 2003, including voluntary Form J. Cambodia voted in favor of the 22 November 2002 UN General Assembly resolution promoting the Mine Ban Treaty. Cambodia participates in the Bangkok Regional Action Group (BRAG), which was formed by States Parties from the Asia-Pacific region in September 2002 with the aim of promoting landmine ban initiatives in the region in the lead up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok in September 2003.

Cambodia hosted a regional seminar on “Building a Co-operative Future for Mine Action in South East Asia” in Phnom Penh from 26-28 March 2003. Representatives from South East Asia, China, Timor-Leste, and Sri Lanka, as well as donor countries, participated in the seminar. Prime Minister Hun Sen opened the conference and stated: “I wish to emphasize that Cambodia always considers mine action as a top priority for rehabilitation and development, especially in its quest to fight against poverty, rescuing people from hunger and all kind of sufferings. Land mines have limited the ability to use natural resources, especially land by the rural poor. This is a reason for people to migrate from their home villages to cities. Most of the poor, who are already vulnerable, have no choice but to risk their lives working in the lands where mines are still unexploded and hidden. Thus the issue of mine clearance is not just an issue of security, but it involves major socio-economic and development impact.”[6] At the seminar the Royal government spokesperson[7] and two mine action agencies[8] estimated that Cambodia can meet the Mine Ban Treaty deadline of 2010 for mine clearance.

Cambodia participated in the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in December 2002 and submitted its annual Article 13 report on 12 July 2002.

The Cambodia country report for the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 was released in Phnom Penh on 13 September 2002. A total of 150 copies of the report in English and 100 in Khmer were distributed to government ministries, embassies, and the press. The Executive Summary was distributed widely at the conferences held in Cambodia.

The Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) continues to promote campaign initiatives for the universalization of the mine ban at the national and international level. At the ASEAN Summit held in Phnom Penh in November 2002, CCBL distributed a report on the status of the Mine Ban Treaty in the ASEAN countries and urged all ASEAN states to join the treaty.[9] CCBL also distributed brochures designed by landmine survivors at the World Conference of Religion and Peace and at the Peoples Festival in November 2002. At the March 2003 regional seminar CCBL released a press statement condemning the use of mines in the Iraq war and stating, “It is ironic that while many mine-affected countries are gathering these days in Phnom Penh to build a cooperative future for mine action in South East Asia, at the same time blatant landmine use is occurring in the Middle East.”[10]

The Fifth Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty was celebrated with a jazz concert at the fabled Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. The event was promoted by CCBL, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) and HALO Trust. The Foreign Correspondents Club helped to publicize the event and Mango organized a play depicting landmine concerns.

On 24 February 2003, National Mine Awareness Day was celebrated with a TV Round Table and events in mine-affected villages in Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Reasmey Samaki in Banteay Meanchey, and Prey Thom in Battambang.

In Barcelona, Man Sokheurm, sponsored by the Spanish Campaign to Ban Landmines, attended the release of a new book on five landmine survivors. Landmine survivors Tun Channareth, Sok Eng, and Song Kosal participated in the Mine Ban Treaty celebrations in different Canadian cities and continued to promote the Youth Against War Campaign. Tun Channareth also traveled to Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, lobbying for mine clearance funds. In May 2003, Tun Channareth and Greg Priyadi visited Indonesia in a joint mission with Canada to urge for ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Cambodia reported that the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Directorate General of the National Police do not have any stockpiles of antipersonnel mines.[11] However, caches of antipersonnel mines continue to be found in numerous places.[12] The practice of village demining has also contributed to the widespread presence of such caches. CMAA is responsible for ordering the destruction of all antipersonnel mines found.

In its April 2003 Article 7 Report, Cambodia reported that in 2002, a total of 3,405 PMN-2s were handed over by the Ministry of Interior. CMAC retained 240 of those antipersonnel mines for training purposes; the other 3,165 mines were destroyed. CMAA’s activities report for 2002 notes that CMAC discovered a cache in Pailin and had some of the antipersonnel mines transferred to Kampong Chhnang Training Center.[13] According to a CMAC officer, 303 antipersonnel mines were retained for training.[14]

Since the formal completion of stockpile destruction in 1998, Cambodia has found an additional 17,100 antipersonnel mines; 15,567 of those have been destroyed and 1,533 have been used in training.[15]

Landmine Problem, Surveys and Assessment

Cambodia is one of the most severely landmine and UXO affected countries in the world due to almost three decades of conflict. Several years of aerial bombing, together with widespread use of landmines by combatants, had a devastating impact on the country. In 2002, 98 percent of mine casualties were civilian. Access for civilians living in rural areas to essential resources and facilities such as water, roads, bridges, and cultivable land is restricted and hazardous.[16]

Since organized mine clearance operations began in 1992, the CMAA reports that a surface area of more than 200 million square meters has been demined.[17] Village demining has been conducted for a much longer period.

The Level One Survey (sometimes called a Landmine Impact Survey, LIS),[18] issued in May 2002, reported that 6,422 villages in an area of 4,466 million square meters were affected; mines or UXO may contaminate 2.5 percent of the country’s surface area. The survey estimated that 5.1 million people were at risk. About 1,640 villages, approximately twelve percent of all villages, have a high contamination of landmines and UXO.[19] Sixty-one percent of the suspected areas are concentrated in the five provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and the Pailin municipality, in the north and northwestern parts of the country.

The CMAA has stated that while the LIS provides valuable information on the socio-economic impact of mine/UXO contamination — and thus is extremely useful in the planning and prioritization process — the LIS cannot measure the precise size of the affected areas or the scope of the contamination.[20] Some mine action practitioners estimate that the LIS could overstate the problem by as much as 90 percent.[21] Moreover, the UN Development Programme reported that the lack of clear information on earlier clearance work has caused some concerns that areas recorded as “suspect minefields” may have already been cleared.[22] In the absence of accurate information on the actual size of contaminated area, the CMAA has used as a planning figure 10 percent of the LIS estimates. Consequently, CMAA estimates 425.17 million square meters of land require clearance. Tasks identified for 2003 include the reduction of the size of the mined areas identified by LIS using a wide variety of procedures, methods, and tools.[23]

CMAA has also noted that, as of 2002, the distribution of clearance resources did not correspond to the areas of greatest socio-economic and humanitarian need. At the end of 2002, 63 percent of the severe and high impact areas in Battambang, Pursat, and Siam Reap provinces received approximately 30 percent of the clearance capacity.[24]

Since November 2002, CMAC, with technical support from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the UNDP Trust Fund, has been conducting a technical survey in Phnom Preuk district of Battambang province.[25] CMAC also introduced new Technical Survey mechanisms to improve area reduction techniques.[26]

Another type of mine action survey in Cambodia is the Casualty Analysis Survey, conducted by the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS). The CMVIS mine casualty figures from January to October 2002 show that in this period 50 communes report 80 percent of the casualties.[27] Both the LIS and CMVIS identify the four worst affected provinces as Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, and Pailin.

Mine Clearance

Cambodia reports that 34,713,984 square meters of land were cleared in 2002, including 41,030 antipersonnel mines, 903 antivehicle mines, and 80,362 UXO.[28] This compares to about 21.9 million square meters cleared in 2001. The total land cleared from 1992 to 2002 was more than 207 million square meters. The known numbers of antipersonnel mines found and destroyed in Cambodia by mine clearance authorities in this period was 355,258.[29] However an unknown number of antipersonnel mines exploded in incidents or were cleared by village deminers. Official clearance agencies in Cambodia are CMAC, MAG, HALO Trust, and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

Total Mine Clearance in 2002[30]

Agency
Area (Sq. M.)
AP Mine
AV Mine
UXO
CMAC
11,582,239
32,735
493
61,840
MAG
1,766,740
1,850
52
5,854
HALO
4,246,011
4,510
92
8,988
RCAF
17,118,994
1,935
266
3,680
TOTAL
34,713,984
41,030
903
80,362

Total Mine Clearance from 1992 to 2002[31]

Agency
Area (Sq. M.)
AP Mine
AV Mine
UXO
CMAC
102,323,756
171,077
3,282
715,980
MAG
7,703,963
16,694
193
36,392
HALO
18,266,217
31,205
319
37,167
RCAF
59,975,129
130,802
7,639
25,759
Past Operators
19,290,000
5,480
unknown
unknown
TOTAL
207,559,065
355,258
11,433
815,298

Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) [32]

CMAC is the major mine action agency in Cambodia. It has six regional demining units working in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Thom, Krong Pailin, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Pursat, and Siem Reap, and mobile teams in Kandal, Kompong Cham, Kompong Speu and Prey Veng. The Headquarters is in Phnom Penh and a training center is situated in Kompong Chnang. Four core activities consist of mine/UXO information gathering and marking, mine/UXO clearance, mine risk education and training.[33]

CMAC deminers are organized into teams, platoons and sites to deal with small, medium and large tasks. The platoons can either operate as independent mobile units, or they are grouped together in a site. In 2002, the CMAC mine clearance components consisted of 48 platoons, 12 Community Mine Marking Teams (CMMTs), 19 Mine Marking Teams (MMTs) and five Mine Detection Dog teams (MDD); there were 1,913 deminers in total. The teams cleared 11,582,239 square meters of highly mine/UXO contaminated land in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Krong Pailin, Pursat, Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces.[34] The teams found and destroyed 32,688 antipersonnel mines, 493 antivehicle mines, and 61,840 UXO. Mechanical brush cutters were used, but use of the flail machine was discontinued in February 2003.

In addition to mine action funded through the UNDP Trust Fund, CMAC conducted bilateral projects. CMAC and Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) conducted the second phase of an integrated mine action and development program in Banteay Meanchey. Cooperation between CMAC and NPA dates back to 1992. The current NPA-supported project started in March 2002 and will end in February 2004 with total funding of $2,013,867. This project also aims to enable national and international development agencies to carry out development activities in the target area, specifically the NPA resettlement projects. The direct beneficiaries will be 394 families and indirect beneficiaries will be 843 families. The cleared land will be used for agriculture (49 percent); resettlement and agriculture combined (35 percent); resettlement (10 percent); and infrastructure/school building (5 percent).[35]

The United States provided $880,000 for one year of CMAC demining operations in Pailin, from May 2002 to April 2003. Japan supported CMAC demining activities in Battambang with $804,000. The project started in mid-November 2001 and was completed by the end of December 2002. It cleared land for roads, health centers, school sites and resettlement. The direct beneficiaries were 204 families and indirect beneficiaries were 6,473 families; 499 school children benefited from the project.

Germany has funded the operations of CMAC Demining Unit 6, which was originally established by the French organization Conseil International et Dévelopment (CIDEV) and then integrated into CMAC. In addition to demining for the resettlement of landless people, families of demobilized soldiers and land for agriculture, CMAC Demining Unit 6 has supported the development of the tourism industry in Siem Reap province through demining activities in collaboration with UNESCO, the Apsara Authority, Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Tourism. During 2002, DU 6 focused on clearance along National Road 67 and 68.

In 2002, CMAC in cooperation with Care Cambodia undertook the Integrated Demining and Development Project Phase IIa in Battambang province. The project aims to provide land for resettlement, agriculture and infrastructure development. The total cost of the project was $183,000.

Japanese Peace Boat supported two CMAC mine clearance projects in 2002. The objective of the first project was to build a primary school compound and fence in the village of Steung Thmey in Pursat to keep the pupils away from mine-affected areas. The second project involved mine clearance for a school compound and construction of a small primary school building in the village of Phteah Rung.

In 2002, CMAC and Refugee Care Netherlands (ZOA) agreed a total budget of $69,988 for a project that aimed to provide safe access to water sources, house plots, education and market facilities. CMAC deployed two demining platoons in Ou Neang village of Banteay Meanchey, where 880 families directly benefited from the project.

CMAC prioritizes the land to be cleared on the base of information from the Cambodia National Level One Survey, CMVIS, Community Base Mine Risk Reduction Teams, and Mine Marking Teams, and also considering province priorities such as land for resettlement, agriculture, infrastructure and other humanitarian purposes.

At the provincial level, CMAC receives a list of areas to be cleared from the Land Use Planning Unit (LUPU) and makes assessments on access roads, soil condition, vegetation, wet/dry season and land use. The process for the identification of land to clear starts at the village and commune level when community leaders raise their own community development needs to the District authority. Proposals are submitted to the Provincial Sub-committee (PSC) for Land Use in mined areas and finally incorporated into a provincial plan.[36]

In November 2002, Handicap International Belgium (HIB) and CMAC launched four “Mine Risk Reduction Teams” (MRTs). This is described as a new approach that combines proximity mine clearance with minefield survey and marking, UXO clearance, and mine risk education. As of 30 April 2003, 54,924 square meters of land had been cleared for the immediate benefit of 32 families.[37]

Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

In 2002, MAG cleared 1,744,728 square meters of land, including 1,850 antipersonnel mines, 52 antivehicle mines and 5,854 UXO. MAG operated in four provinces, including in five districts of Battambang province (Banan, Bavel, Kamreang, Rattanak Mondul, and Samloth), two districts of Pursat province (Bakan and Kravanh), two districts of Kampong Thom province (Kampong Svay and Santuok) and two districts of Preah Vihear province (Kulen and Roveang).[38]

MAG deployed 22 Mine Action Teams, seven Community Liaison Teams, five Tempest Teams (using the small “Tempest” vegetation clearance device), two Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams and one Rapid Response Team. It employed a total of 467 personnel, including 387 men and 80 women, 59 working as deminers. Forty-seven amputees were also employed as deminers.[39] The Rapid Response Team, started in November 2002 and supported by ECHO, is operating in Preah Vihear province.

In 2002, 122,242 people directly benefited from MAG’s mine clearance and 77,567 people indirectly. Thirty-two percent of the cleared land has been used for road construction, 25 percent for resettlement, 14 percent for agriculture, 12 percent for schools, 7 percent for canals and irrigation, 4 percent for pagodas and 6 percent for other uses.[40]

MAG has developed Community Liaison strategies to prioritize land clearance on the basis of the needs of the villagers who would directly benefit. MAG Community Liaison Teams conduct pre-clearance village assessments and monitor post-clearance activities to ensure that agreed plans are followed. MAG coordinates its work plans with development NGOs to implement community development activities in cleared areas, including building schools, health centers, houses for resettlement, and pagodas, together with ensuring access to wells, roads and small plots of land for agriculture.[41]

MAG received mine action funding in 2002 from Australia, Japan, the United States, the European Commission, eleven major non-governmental organizations, and many individuals.[42]

HALO Trust[43]

In 2002, the HALO Trust cleared 4,246,011 square meters of land and destroyed 4,510 antipersonnel mines, 92 antitank mines and 8,988 UXO.

HALO has 1,100 staff in five operating bases: Anlong Veng (which supports operations in Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear province), Samrong (Oddar Meanchey), Thmar Pouk (Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey) and Kamreang (Battambang). HALO has 101 eight-man demining sections. It utilizes eight rear-mounted vegetation cutting tractors, two Volvo Medium wheeled Loaders, two Fiat Allis Light Crawler tractors, a D8 Bulldozer, and a Muir Hill excavator. All HALO clearance tasks are supported by presentations from HALO’s own Mine Risk Education Team which tracks the field teams and delivers presentations to community and school groups.

In recent years HALO’s deminers have been deployed to the more remote minefields on foot, with heavy logistical support being conducted by helicopter. In one extreme example in 2002, HALO deminers walked 40 kilometers to access the minefield at Prasat Preah Vihear (Preah Vihear temple). More than a thousand mines were found at this site.

HALO Cambodia’s donors include the United States, the Netherlands, Finland, Japan, Australia, ECHO, Project Mine Zero and Rotary International District 2580. The annual budget is about $3.6 million, with clearance averaging around $0.70 per square meter.

Task selection for HALO is based on a combination of anticipated post-clearance land use and existing victim data statistics. All HALO resettlement tasks are subjected to independent Land Use Planning Unit scrutiny. In 2002, HALO’s work was conducted for resettlement and agriculture (54 percent), roads (23 percent), schools (12 percent), water sources (6 percent) and accident prevention (4 percent).

At the Regional Seminar for Co-operative Mine Action in March 2003, the HALO Trust representative outlined some measures for improving the cost effectiveness of clearance operations, including: one man in one lane instead of two men in one lane; the use of brush cutters; reducing expatriates on the teams; profiting from experience and training of local deminers; and care for and protection of equipment.[44]

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)

The RCAF published a report on its mine clearance activities for the March 2003 Regional Seminar. RCAF reports clearing 17,118,994 square meters of land in 2002. Since 1992, RCAF has cleared 71,546,689 square meters of land, and destroyed 7,899 antipersonnel mines, 131,063 antitank mines, 25,759 UXO, and 200,332 booby-traps.[45]

Of the total land cleared, 61.4 million square meters were for bridges, roads and villages; 6 million square meters were for new construction of Army installations; and 4.15 million square meters were for the development of hydro systems.

RCAF's plan for 2003 is to clear 20 million square meters in 14 city-provinces. The cost to clear a square meter is 35 cents. The total project cost would be $7 million. The source of RCAF funding is not stated, but presumably it comes from the Ministry of Defense budget.

RCAF reports that the United States provided nine training courses for 109 teachers, 332 management officers and deminers, and 13 personnel involved in explosive ordnance disposal. China has also supported three training courses for six management officers and ten deminers. CMAC provided two training courses for 12 teachers, 349 deminers and 361 others.

Village Demining

Village demining continues, although it is not officially allowed. Some individuals clear land for farming and to ensure the physical and economic security of their families. Others hire a village deminer to clear the land for them. In Banteay Meanchey, the price for clearing one hectare is $90.[46] In Battambang, the price rose from $100 to $250 per hectare in 2002.[47] Villagers had conducted demining operations while waiting for CMAC deployment or when they saw no possibility of getting official mine clearance to their village within a short time.

CMAA has ordered the authorities, villagers and CMAC to destroy all mines cleared by villagers, and forbids village demining. Some development workers[48] in mine-affected communities have suggested there should be discussion on how to engage the experienced and motivated village deminers in mine action, or at the least, “involve village deminers as key resource people in villages.”[49] This has implications for mine risk education as well as for clearance.

Coordination and Planning of Mine Action

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority was established by Royal Decree in September 2000. CMAA is the coordinating and planning body for mine action in Cambodia. It has delegated its role of coordination of victim assistance to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSALVY) and Disability Action Council (DAC).

In 2002, CMAA prepared a plan of mine action activities to be integrated in the National Poverty Reduction Strategy. It also established policy guidelines for developing a Long Term Mine Action Strategy, including the Five Year Mine Action Activities Plan. In addition, CMAA helped mine action operators form a Mine Awareness Working Group and develop a mine awareness strategic plan. CMAA also initiated a series of discussions on how to reduce the size of suspected areas.[50]

CMAA provided temporary accreditation and licenses to conduct mine action activities in Cambodia to CMAC, RCAF, HALO, MAG, and Japan Mine Action Service. All operators will receive a permanent license after the process is finalized and site monitoring is duly completed.

In 2002, at the request of the United Nations, CMAA led the Cambodian Advance Team to Afghanistan, providing the knowledge on national mine action coordination and victim assistance to the mine action community in Afghanistan. CMAA has established a National Database Center and received data from the Level One Survey, as well as data of US bombing of Cambodia from 1971-1973.[51] CMAA also organized a one-day seminar on International Mine Action Standards in collaboration with UNDP.

Mine Action Funding

CMAA estimates that the combined cost for demining operations, including technical assistance and in kind contributions, in Cambodia is approximately $30 million per year.[52]

According to information submitted to or gathered by Landmine Monitor, fifteen donors provided approximately US$27.3 million in mine action funding for Cambodia in 2002.[53] These included: Australia US$3.28 million; Belgium $583,000; Canada US$690,000; European Commission $817,000; Finland $1.05 million; France $1.16 million; Germany $968,000; Japan $9.4 million; South Korea $30,000; Netherlands $2.91 million; New Zealand $172,000; Norway $225,000; Sweden $1.54 million, Switzerland $36,000; and United States $4.48 million. In addition, CMAC reports that other donors included China, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, but the donors’ reports did not verify this information.

In 2002, CMAC received $10.8 million, including $6,205,854 from the UNDP Trust Fund, $4,359,533 from bilateral donors, and $263,555 from the Royal Government of Cambodia. At the Phnom Penh Regional Seminar, MAG estimated its costs at around $3 million. HALO Trust estimated its costs at approximately $3.6 million.[54] RCAF estimates that their cost per square meter is 35 cents, so the cost of clearing 17.1 million square meters in 2002 would be about $6 million.

For 2003, the UNDP Trust Fund had a budget of $10.5 million for both CMAC ($6.3 million) and CMAA ($4.2 million).[55] The objectives of these grants are: to assist the CMAA in developing appropriate and effective sectoral coordination, regulatory structures and processes, as well as planning and resource mobilization mechanisms, in line with national development priorities; to integrate L1S into a national strategic plan; to assist CMAC by strengthening relevant management systems and strategic planning processes.[56]

DAC held an initial discussion with UNDP regarding the possibility of accessing UNDP’s trust funds for the disability sector. A Concept Paper on the issue is to be drafted. It is expected that this effort will contribute to achieving one of the DAC objectives for mobilizing financial resource to support appropriate programs for the disability sector in the future.

Mine Risk Education

Every year, Cambodia celebrates National Mine Awareness Day which is the opportunity for the Cambodian government to reaffirm the importance of Mine Risk Education (MRE) activities in reducing the number of incidents in mine-contaminated areas, to show support to the Ban Landmine Campaign and to sensitize donor countries to the needs of the mine action sector.

In 2002, several organizations conducted MRE activities including CMAC, the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), the HALO Trust, World Education, and World Vision. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), UNICEF, and HIB were also involved.

On 12 June 2003, CMAA organized a national workshop on MRE in Battambang. The workshop aimed to “listen to recommendations from those local representatives from the field in order to improve risk reduction programs and ultimately decrease the number of mine and UXO casualties in the country.” Participants were mostly local authorities (commune and district representatives) as well as representatives from ministries, mine action agencies, and donors. The European Commission, UNDP and UNICEF supported the workshop.[57]

CMAC halted its MRE activities in 2000 and 2001 following financial difficulties. In March 2002, CMAC re-deployed a Mobile Mine Awareness team in Battambang province.[58] Three other teams were deployed in September 2002 in Banteay Meanchey, Pailin City, and Pursat provinces. Mine Awareness Teams reportedly visited 271 villages, and conducted 282 presentations attended by 161,500 people, including 22,668 children and 10,453 women.[59] In addition, three television spots and three radio spots were produced and broadcasted 491 times.[60]

With the assistance of HIB and UNICEF, CMAC developed a new approach with the Community Based Mine/UXO Risk Reduction (CBMRR) project. The CBMRR Pilot Project started in October 2001, in six highly mine/UXO-contaminated districts in Pailin City and in Battambang Province. The aim of the project was to reduce the mine/UXO risks for individuals and communities living in contaminated areas by developing their capacity to fully participate in the prioritization and planning of mine action and using their own community resources for mine risk education.[61]

In March 2002, the project was reviewed and all key players agreed to extend it until December 2002.[62] Thirty trainers and 164 community representatives were trained in 2002. As a result of CBMRR, in the period up to October 2002, CMAC EOD teams received 522 requests for clearance from communities, 372 of which were addressed.[63]

An undated external evaluation of the project received by Landmine Monitor in January 2003 found that the CBMRR project had succeeded in setting up effective community networks for MRE, that the messages were reaching the target audience and that there was an increased awareness of mines/UXO risk. The fundamental factor, however, still remains one of livelihood: even if people are aware of the risk of carrying out a particular activity they do not see any other alternative than to enter mined areas. The evaluation also concludes that the project has contributed little towards encouraging communities to use their own resources for MRE. The evaluation indicates that the level of integration between CBMRR and clearance units is encouraging and fundamental to the sustainability of the project. The evaluation therefore calls on CMAC to allocate sufficient resources to attend the prioritized needs of the community[64] as well as to expand the project in a slow, but consistent way.[65]

The Cambodian Red Cross reports that it has established a Community Based Landmine Awareness project. In 2002, the project trained 587 Red Cross Volunteers and Red Cross Youth Members in six target provinces (Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, and Pursat) in providing MRE and assisting mine-affected communities in dealing with mines and UXO problems.[66]

HALO conducts some MRE activities in the provinces where it operates, including Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap. The organization reports that after the MRE sessions the number of mines/UXO incidents dramatically decreased. [67]

World Education supported the ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) in the implementation of the “Mine Risk Education for Children” project. The project developed a curriculum for primary school teachers to transmit mine risk education to children. The mine risk curriculum is now integrated into the national primary school curriculum to ensure institutionalization and sustainability of the project. In 2002, 200 Ministry of Education staff and 2,492 teachers were trained to support and deliver mine/UXO risk education in 167 schools of the most mine/UXO-affected districts of Cambodia. School MRE activities reached 63,057 children.[68] At the end of 2002, the program was handed over to the ministry.[69] In 2003 the Landmine Monitor has not seen any programs implemented in schools.

World Vision Cambodia (WVC) conducts the Mine Awareness/Action Team (MAT) project aimed at integrating mine action and community development structures. Two mobile field teams identified villagers most at risk and tailored mine awareness presentations to their needs. The project is implemented in 25 villages in Battambang Province.[70]

Landmine Casualties

In 2002, 834 new landmine and UXO casualties were reported in Cambodia: 145 people were killed and 689 injured; 506 were men, 52 were women and 276 were children; 817 were civilians.[72] Of the total casualties, 212 people (25 percent) required an amputation. Landmines caused 363 casualties (44 percent), while 471 casualties (56 percent) were caused by UXO; however, 87 percent of the children were killed or injured by UXO. The number of casualties increased slightly from 2001, but no significant changes have been noted in the mine and UXO incident rate since 2000. In 2001, 829 new casualties were reported and 863 new casualties in 2000.[72] Information on mine/UXO casualties is collected from all provinces by a network of Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) field staff; the data is then entered into the Cambodia Mine UXO Victim Information System, implemented by the CRC and HIB.

The vast majority of civilian mine casualties (95 percent) were engaged in daily livelihood activities or traveling at the time of the incident; whereas 56 percent of the UXO casualties were caused by tampering.

Mine incidents occurred in forests (56 percent), on paths or roads (12 percent), in rice fields (8 percent), on mountains (6 percent), in villages (5 percent), in fields (5 percent), near rivers (4 percent), near military bases (3 percent), and other areas (1 percent). The majority of UXO incidents were in villages (40 percent), in rice fields (15 percent), near rivers (14 percent), or in forests (13 percent).

Mine/UXO casualties were reported in 22 provinces in 2002; 77 percent of the total casualties were reported in seven provinces, with most in the province of Battambang with 184 casualties (22 percent) followed by Banteay Meanchey with 134 (16 percent).[73]

CMAC reported that 12 deminers were injured in 2002.[74]

The mine/UXO casualty rate in Cambodia has declined from 12 new casualties a day in 1996 to an average of two casualties a day; a rate that has remained constant since 2000.[75]

Discussions are ongoing within the mine action community on the “lack of progress” in reducing the number of mine and UXO casualties. Some of the hypotheses put forward include poor funding levels for MRE; population growth and new settlements of internally displaced persons and returning refugees; fluidity of population and socio-economic situation in the affected areas; and the need for a greater emphasis on the danger of UXO as the leading cause of mine action related injuries in Cambodia.[76]

An external evaluation of the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS) reported that the system is “unique in the world in terms of coverage and detail.”[77] To December 2002, the database contained records on 56,793 mine/UXO casualties since 1979: 17,918 people were killed and 38,875 injured; 31,720 were civilians.[78]

Casualties continue to be reported in 2003; 371 new mine/UXO casualties were recorded to the end of May.[79]

Survivor Assistance

Health care services for landmine survivors are available, but are often economically inaccessible for the individual or family. Most assistance is provided by their families, although international and local NGOs provide some specialized and community services. The government provides a small monthly pension to military landmine survivors.

First aid is available in government health centers at commune, district and sometimes village level, but many injuries require specialized treatment including surgery. These health services are controlled by the Ministry of Health and are available at government hospitals. The American Red Cross provides first aid assistance at its center in Kompong Speu.[80] Trauma Care Foundation trains village health volunteers in five districts in collaboration with Catholic Relief Service to provide emergency first aid to landmine casualties.[81]

Surgery for new mine casualties and for landmine survivors requiring additional surgery is provided free of charge by a hospital run by the NGO Emergency in Battambang, and by Sihanuok Hospital Center of Hope in Phnom Penh. The Angkor hospital for Children in Siem Reap, the government provincial and city hospitals and the Preah Ket Malea hospital, formerly for military casualties also provide surgery. Many families cannot afford to pay for surgery at government hospitals.[82] Refugee Relief International provides medical and surgical aid and self help training to the Preah Ket Malea Hospital. The Emergency Hospital in Battambang assisted 94 new mine casualties and 112 mine survivors in 2002.[83]

Five international organizations including the ICRC, American Red Cross, Cambodia Trust, HIB, Handicap International France (HI) and Veterans International (VVAF) support, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSALVY) 15 physical rehabilitation centers and orthopedic workshops covering 16 of the 24 provinces in Cambodia.[84]

Physical therapists working in hospitals and the provincial rehabilitation centers are trained in the National Center for Physiotherapy. In 2002, HIB reports that 25,682 physiotherapy sessions were given in their four rehabilitation centers[85] and the Cambodia Trust supported 6,257 sessions.[86] Veterans International (VVAF) also supports a physiotherapy unit. In 2002, 4,653 people were assisted in the four rehabilitation centers supported by HIB,[87] the American Red Cross provided services to 1,223 people[88] and the Cambodia Trust assisted 5,235 people;[89] the number of landmine survivors assisted was not specified.

Several international organizations produced or distributed prostheses, orthoses, wheelchairs, crutches, and other assistive devices in 2002 including:

  • American Red Cross – produced 710 prostheses, and distributed 703 orthoses, 202 wheelchairs and 1,056 walking aids;[90]
  • Association for Aid Relief (AAR) – produced 340 wheelchairs;[91]
  • Cambodia Trust – produced 1,020 prostheses, distributed 1,085 orthoses, 207 wheelchairs and 338 walking aids;[92]
  • HI – produced 253 prostheses, and distributed 84 wheelchairs, 5 tricycles and 108 walking aids;[93]
  • HIB – produced 1,313 prostheses and 546 orthoses, and distributed 1,879 crutches, 303 wheelchairs and 98 tricycles;[94]
  • ICRC – produced 1,318 prostheses, including 1,230 for mine survivors; 847 orthoses, including seven for mine survivors; and distributed 1,235 pairs of crutches and 206 wheelchairs;[95]
  • Jesuit Service Cambodia – produced 1,116 wheelchairs, and distributed 250;[96] and,
  • VVAF – produced 965 prostheses, 2,607 orthoses and 542 wheelchairs/tricycles.[97]

In 2002, the NGO Children Affected by Mines assisted 26 child mine survivors in Banteay Meanchey to access medical care, rehabilitation and psychosocial support.[98]

Several other organizations agencies address the psychosocial, developmental and economic needs of mine survivors, support programs for the education of children with disabilities and programs offering short skills training, and one year or longer vocational training opportunities.[99]

The Cambodian War Amputees Rehabilitation Society (CWARS) program offers landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities training in income generating trades and services. Graduates of the program are assisted to establish their own micro-enterprise business, enabling them to achieve self-confidence and independence. In 2002, 543 persons with disabilities received training.[100]

Clear Path International provides vocational training for mine survivors in partnership with Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development (CVCD). In early 2002, the first class of 35 graduated from training in English, computer skills and sewing in Phnom Penh.[101]

The Norwegian NGO, Trauma Care Foundation (TMC), in addition to training local health care workers in emergency first aid, conducted a study in Cambodia in 2001 that found that 70 percent of mine survivors suffered chronic pain long after the mine incident. The TMC encouraged mine survivors and their families to establish self-help groups that were then able to access income-generating programs. It was found that for many of the survivors in the study their pain problems diminished once they were earning an income to support their families. The training manual, Save Lives, Save Limbs was distributed in the Khmer language in 2002.[102] The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds the program.

The Technology Development Workshop (TDW) helped to establish the Cambodian Demining Workshop, a small Khmer-run business, which employs about 20 staff with a physical disability, to produce a range of demining equipment. The body armor and related Personal Protective Equipment produced reportedly compares favorably in quality and functionality to the best in the world, but at a fraction of the cost. TDW also manufactures and exports the Tempest, a small remote-controlled, vegetation and trip-wire clearance vehicle.[103]

Other businesses employing mine survivors and other persons with disability include Caltex, Total, Digital Divide Data, Mobitel, some garment factories and Smile Tech-Art Shop. NGO’s and international organizations employing mine survivors include AAR, ARC, Cambodian Disabled Independent Living Organization (CDILO), HIB, HI, ICRC, Jesuit Service, Maryknoll, MAG, NCDP, and VVAF.

Various agencies address the needs of mine-affected communities with programs that benefit not only mine survivors but the whole community.[104]

Disability Policy and Practice

CMAA is responsible for the coordination and monitoring of mine victim assistance; however, the Authority has delegated responsibility to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation, and the Disability Action Council (DAC).[105]

In 2002, the DAC continued to coordinate services being provided to persons with disabilities by its affiliated members. It provided coordination, technical and secretarial support to the development and implementation of the sub-sectoral plan and national plan of action for disability. The year 2002 marked a strategic shift of focus from efforts to support the coordination and initiation of services and assistance for and with people with disabilities to capacity building within the DAC.[106]

The final draft of the proposed disability legislation both in Khmer and English was sent to the Minister of MOSALVY for review and approval before being submitted to the Council of Ministries. A concept paper, describing the reasons and benefits of the Cambodian Disability Law, was also developed and sent to the Minister. The law has not yet been submitted to the National Assembly or the Council of Ministers.[107]

Cambodia submitted the voluntary Form J attachment to its 2002 Article 7 Report, providing information on mine/UXO casualties and rehabilitation services to mine survivors in 2002.[108]

Two landmine survivors from Cambodia participated in the Raising the Voice program held during the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2003 in Geneva.


[1] The law bans the production, use, possession, transfer, trade, sale, import and export of antipersonnel mines. It provides for criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment for offenses committed by civilians or members of the police and the armed forces. It also provides for the destruction of existing mine stockpiles and the creation of the National Demining Regulatory Authority to coordinate activities related to the mine problem.
[2] CMAA, “2002 Activities Report of CMAA,” Phnom Penh, 31 December 2002, p. 4.
[3] Article 7 Report, Form E, 15 April 2003.
[4] CMAA, “2002 Activities Report of CMAA,” 31 December 2002, p. 21.
[5] Ibid., p. 3.
[6] Statement by Prime Minister Hun Sen, at the Regional Seminar “Building a Co-operative Future for Mine Action in South East Asia,” Phnom Penh, 26 March 2003.
[7] Statement by H.E. Sok An, Regional Seminar, Phnom Penh, 28 March 2003.
[8] Chairperson's Summary, Regional Seminar, Phnom Penh, 26-28 March 2003.
[9] CCBL press release, “Landmine Victims Welcome ASEAN Visitors,” Phnom Penh, 4 November 2002.
[10] CCBL press release, Phnom Penh, 26 March 2003.
[11] Article 7 Report, Form B, 15 April 2003. Cambodia reported completion of stockpile destruction (71,991 antipersonnel mines) in 1998.
[12] CMAA, “2002 Activities Report of CMAA,” 31 December 2002, p. 21; Article 7 Report, Forms D and F, 15 April 2003.
[13] CMAA, “2002 Activities Report of CMAA,” 31 December 2002, p. 21.
[14] Telephone interview with Tang Sun Hao, CMAC, 4 April 2003.
[15] Article 7 Report, Form D, 15 April 2003.
[16] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” December 2002, p. 5.
[17] Ibid, p. 3.
[18] Cambodian National Level One Survey Statistic Profile, Geo Spatial, Phnom Penh, 2 May 2002.
[19] The LIS project surveyed all 13,908 villages.
[20] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy, ” 9 January 2003, p. 6.
[21] CMAA, “Five Year Mine Action Plan 2003-2007,” March 2003, p. 12.
[22] UNDP Cambodia, “Support to Mine Action Programmes in Cambodia: Project Progress Report for 2002,” January 2003.
[23] CMAA, “Five Year Mine Action Plan 2003-2007,” March 2003, p. 12.
[24] Ibid.
[25] CMAA, “Annual Report 2002,” March 2003, p. 15.
[26] UNDP Cambodia, “Project Progress Report for 2002, January 2003.
[27] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” 9 January 2003, p. 8.
[28] Email from Chea Eng, CMAA, Phnom Penh, 29 March 2003.
[29] Article 7 Report, Form F, 15 April 2003; email from Chea Eng, CMAA, Phnom Penh, 29 March 2003.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Ibid.
[32] All information in this section, unless otherwise noted, is from: CMAC, “CMAC Annual Report 2002,” March 2003, pp. 27-33.
[33] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Heng Ratana, CMAC, 7 March 2003.
[34] Land cleared by CMAC in 2002 was 28 percent for resettlement and agriculture, 25 percent for roads, 16 percent for resettlement, 16 percent for agriculture, 7 percent for roads and canals, 4 percent for schools, 2 percent for pagodas and 2 percent for ponds and wells.
[35] Email to Landmine Monitor (NPA) from Philipe Atkins, Acting Resident Representative, NPA Cambodia, 11 July 2003.
[36] Response to Landmine Monitor by CMAC, 7 March 2003.
[37] CMAC and HI Belgium, “Concept Paper, Mine/UXO Risk Reduction Teams,” Phnom Penh, May 2002; HIB, “Second MRT Interim Report,” Phnom Penh, 27 May 2003.
[38] Article 7 Report, Annex 5, report provided by Mine Clearance Operators for 2002,15 April 2003; Report by Chea Eang, CMAA, 1 April 2003.
[39] MAG Cambodia, “Annual Review 2002,” 11 July 2003.
[40] Ibid.
[41] Email from Tim Carstairs, Director for Policy, MAG, 1 August 2002.
[42] MAG Cambodia, “Annual Review 2002,” 11 July 2003.
[43] Information in this section was provided in an email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Simon Conway, Desk Officer for South East Asia, HALO Trust, 29 July 2003.
[44] Speech by Richard Boulter, HALO Trust, at the Regional Seminar for Co-operative Mine Action, Phnom Penh, 26 March 2003.
[45] RCAF, “RCAF international seminar on mines in South East Asia Region Cambodia,” March 2003, p. 2. As noted in the chart above, the April 2003 Article 7 report has somewhat different numbers for clearance since 1992.
[46] Interview with a villager in Malai, 24 January 2003.
[47] Interview with a villager in Battambang, 12 December 2002.
[48] Land Mine Action Meeting, Phnom Penh, 21 February 2002.
[49] Ruth Bottomley, “Spontaneous Demining Initiatives,” p. 93, at www.handicapinternational.be.
[50] CMAA, “2002 Activities Report of CMAA,” March 2003, pp.18-19.
[51] Ibid, p. 22.
[52] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” March 2003, p. 12.
[53] See individual country reports in this edition of Landmine Monitor Report. In some cases, the funding was for the country’s fiscal year, not calendar year 2002. Landmine Monitor has converted the currencies and rounded off numbers.
[54] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Simon Conway, Desk Officer for South East Asia, HALO Trust, 29 July 2003.
[55] UNDP Cambodia, “Support to Mine Action Programmes in Cambodia,” Project Progress Report for 2002, January 2003.
[56] UN, Portfolio of Mine-Related Projects 2003, p. 73.
[57] CMAA, "National Workshop Mine/UXO Risk Reduction in Cambodia: The Way Forward," Phnom Penh, undated; email from Julien Temple, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Cambodia, 3 July 2003.
[58] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” March 2003, p. 16.
[59] CMAC, “Annual Report 2002,” pp.12, 13.
[60] Email from Plong Chhaya, Project Assistant, Children in Post Conflict, UNICEF Cambodia, 19 June 2003.
[61] Project Development Group, “External Evaluation of the Pilot Project of Community-Based Mine Risk Reduction (CBMRR),” undated, p. 8.
[62] Ibid., p. 11.
[63] Ibid., p. 17.
[64] Ibid., p. 6.
[65] Response to Landmine Monitor by CMAC, 7 March 2003.
[66] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” p. 16; CMAC, “Annual Report 2002,” p. 13.
[67] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,’’ March 2003, p. 16.
[68] Email from Plong Chhaya , Project Assistant, Children in Post Conflict, UNICEF Cambodia, 19 June 2003.
[69] CMAA, “Draft National Mine Action Strategy,” March 2003, p. 17.
[70] Ibid.
[72] Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS), special report prepared for Landmine Monitor, 30 June 2003.
[72] Ibid.
[73] Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System, Monthly Mine/UXO Victim Report: April 2003, provided 28 May 2003.
[74] Response to Landmine Monitor by CMAC, 7 March 2003.
[75] CRC/HIB, February 2003.
[76] UNDP Cambodia, “Support to Mine Action Programmes in Cambodia,” Project Progress Report for 2002, January 2003.
[77] Steven Mellor, “External Evaluation of the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS) Database, Data-entry and reporting systems,” Evaluation conducted on behalf of HIB and the Cambodian Red Cross, September 2002, p. 1.
[78] CRC/HIB, 31 March 2003.
[79] Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim System, Monthly Mine/UXO Victim Report: May 2003.
[80] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Keo Phalla, American Red Cross, 17 January 2003.
[81] DAC, “List of Organizations helping landmine survivors in Cambodia,” February 2003.
[82] Ibid.
[83] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Ake Hyden, Emergency Hospital, Battambang, 16 January 2003.
[84] Article 7 Report, Form J, 15 April 2003.
[85] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Marc Hermant, HIB, Phnom Penh, 26 March 2003.
[86] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Pith Sokra, Cambodia Trust, Phnom Penh, 23 January 2003.
[87] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by HIB, 26 March 2003.
[88] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by the American Red Cross, 17 January 2003.
[89]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Cambodia Trust, 23 January 2003.
[90]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by the American Red Cross, 17 January 2003.
[91]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Daisuke Sagiya, AAR,17 January 2003.
[92]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Cambodia Trust, 23 January 2003.
[93]Article 7 Report, Form J, 15 April 2003.
[94]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by HIB, 26 March 2003.
[95]ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programs, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003.
[96]Jesuit Service, annual JS statistics of wheelchair shop 2002, 10 March 2003.
[97]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Hing Channarith, Veterans International, Phnom Penh, 23 January 2003.
[98]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Annd de Pasquat, DAC, Phnom Penh, February 2003.
[99]See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 149.
[100]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Sam Oeurn Pok, Cambodian War Amputees Rehabilitation Society, Phnom Penh, 14 February 2003.
[101]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Sothea Aroun, Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development, Phnom Penh, 28 February 2003.
[102]Dr Torben Wisborg, Trauma Care Foundation, presentation to the Standing Committee on Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 13 May 2003; and Trauma Care Foundation, “Tromsoe Mine Victim Resource Center: Annual Report 2002,” pp. 7-8.
[103]DTW brochure from Guy Craft, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Phnom Penh, 22 October 2001.
[104]See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 149-150.
[105]Ibid, p. 150.
[106]Speech by Ouk Sisovann, DAC, at Regional Seminar “Building a Co-operative Future for Mine Action in South East Asia,” Phnom Penh, 26 March 2003.
[107]Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Ouk Sisovann, DAC, 22 January 2003.
[108]Article 7 Report, Form J, 15 April 2003.