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CAMBODIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: A comprehensive Cambodian National Level One Survey is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2001. In the year 2000: a total of 32.2 million square meters of land was cleared, including 22,613 antipersonnel mines; mine awareness education was provided in 903 villages, reaching 627,244 people; and 802 people were injured or killed in mine incidents, a decrease of 24 percent from the previous year. An additional 328 people were injured or killed between January and April 2001. In September 2000, a new coordinating body, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, was established. The Cambodian Mine Action Center faced a funding crisis that resulted in the lay-off of most CMAC employees and the closure of the bulk of demining operations on 13 October 2000. Although Cambodia declared in 1999 that it destroyed all of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines, local communities have said that many military regions still have stores of antipersonnel mines.

Khmer Translation of the report (PDF File).

Mine Ban Policy

Cambodia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 28 July 1999. The treaty entered into force in Cambodia on 1 January 2000. Domestic implementation legislation -- The Law to Prohibit the Use of Anti-Personnel Mines -- was adopted by the National Assembly on 28 April 1999, and entered into force when King Norodom Sihanouk signed it on 28 May 1999.[1] To date, there are no known instances of trial or punishment for breaking the mine ban law. After Landmine Monitor highlighted the problem of villagers keeping landmines with intent to sell, officials from the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) visited the villagers and explained the punishment involved for breaking the law against trade of antipersonnel mines. The villagers handed over the mines to be destroyed.[2]

Cambodia's initial transparency report required by Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty was submitted to the UN on 28 June 2000. Its annual updated report, due 30 April 2001, was submitted on 30 June 2001, covering calendar year 2000.

Cambodia participated in the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2000. The Cambodian representative Ieng Mouly expressed his government's deep concern about landmines: “We are on the right path, we spend much energy to improve the effectiveness of and efficiency in the demining decisions so that the assistance provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia and our donors are used in the best way. It would be dramatic for our country and our fellow citizens, especially the most vulnerable of them, if our activity could not be continued at the same level as in the past or, worse, if it has to stop.”[3]

Cambodia served as the co-chair of the Standing Committee on Technologies for Mine Clearance from May 1999 until September 2000. The government actively participated in all the Standing Committees in December 2000 and May 2001. Cambodia voted in favor of the November 2000 UN General Assembly resolution promoting the Mine Ban Treaty.

During the National Symposium on mine action held on 16 November 2000 in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen pointed out that mine clearance activities were considered “as our top priority in the rehabilitation and development of the country, in particular in light of achieving poverty reduction in Cambodia. Mine clearance is not merely a matter of social security, but it is also relevant to economic issues and development in general, especially in terms of providing land and safety of livelihoods to poor farming households in remote areas.”[4] At the same meeting H.E Sok An, Minister of Council, said, “Effective demining and the subsequent use of demined lands is one of the few means at the disposal of the Government to address directly and quickly the plight of the poor. It is a privileged tool to eradicate misery, alleviate poverty and set in motion sustainable development across the country.”[5]

Cambodia is a State Party to Amended Protocol II (Landmines) of the Convention on Conventional Weapons. It participated in the Second Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2000, and submitted its report, required under Article 13 of the Amended Protocol, on 1 December 2000.

The Landmine Monitor Report 2000 was publicly released in Cambodia on 8 September 2000, along with a promotion of the “Kids Against War” campaign and the delivery of a wheelchair made by disabled Cambodians to the Nobel Peace Museum in Stockholm. Many journalists attended and the government expressed thanks for their copy of Landmine Monitor Cambodia. Many embassies in Phnom Penh requested copies.

The Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) has been very active in regional and international promotion of the Mine Ban Treaty. ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth and Ms. Sok Eng, co-sponsored by UNICEF, attended two meetings of leaders of South Pacific countries in Fiji to promote the universalization of the treaty. A brochure on the response of ASEAN countries to the Mine Ban Treaty was produced and letters were sent to Malaysia inquiring about stockpiles and to Indonesia about ratification. Tun Channareth spoke at the seminar on “International Issues on Singapore” urging Singapore to join the Treaty.

The “Kids Against War” campaign has been vigorously promoted in Japan, Switzerland, France, Cambodia, Belgium, Australia and Thailand through the visits of Song Kosal and Man Sokheurm. Tun Channareth addressed the Night of Peace in Lourdes on 13 August 2000, and later urged all youth to join the ban campaign. A letter was also sent by the CCBL to the two million youth gathered in Rome for the Jubilee Year, urging them to join Kids Against War, Youth For Peace.

The Cambodian Paralympic Volley Ball Team, which included eleven landmine victims, publicized the treaty in Australia and among teams from other countries. A dancing tour to Spain by Cambodian dancers, accompanied by a landmine survivor in November 2000 ended as Spain destroyed the last of its stockpiles.

Production, Transfer, and Use

No known production has taken place in 2000. There are no specific allegations of transfer of antipersonnel mines, though there are persistent rumors about the illegal transfer of arms by individuals at borders. No known use of antipersonnel or antitank mines by government forces, insurgents, or rebel soldiers has taken place. However, in Chomnoam Village, Banteay Meanchey, a man was injured on 19 February 2001 when he stepped on a mine placed by another villager to protect his fishing lot.[6]

Stockpiling and Destruction

Although Cambodia has declared since 1999 that it has destroyed all of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines, that is not the case.[7] Not surprisingly, clearance operators and villagers occasionally encounter stockpiles or caches of mines in villages left over from the years of conflict. As reported in Landmine Monitor Report 2000, since 1999 significant numbers of antipersonnel mines held at provincial military and police facilities have continued to be turned in and destroyed.

Cambodia’s latest Article 7 report indicates that 8,739 stockpiled antipersonnel mines were found and destroyed by CMAC in 2000. The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) destroyed another 1,078 antipersonnel mines. The National Police had a stock of 2,035 antipersonnel mines found by local authorities and in 2000 destroyed almost 80% of them. The report said, “Investigation on stockpile destruction by mine authority is underway.”[8]

Landmine Monitor has received information from local communities that many military regions still have stores of mines.[9] While Landmine Monitor is unable to confirm this information, one such store is reportedly 13 kilometers from Battambang on Route 10. According to local sources, during inventory poor quality mines are destroyed, but good quality antipersonnel mines are kept. Efforts to establish the number of antipersonnel mines still in stores throughout the country with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Cambodia Mine Action Authority are ongoing.[10] The Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines called for the destruction of these stores in its press release on the anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2000.[11]

Cambodia is required by the treaty to destroy all stockpiled mines before 1 January 2004 (four years after entry into force.) Moreover, Article 10 of the domestic mine ban law states, “Whoever possesses any types of mines, be it ministry or institution, shall report to the Cambodian Mine Action Center, specifying the types, numbers of mines and other detailed information related to the mines in their possession no later than 90 days after the entry into force of this law.” Article 11 of the law states, “The Cambodian Mine Action Center must destroy all the mines as stipulated in Article 10 within one year after the entry into force of this law and send a report to the Royal Government.”

Mine Action Funding

Mine action funding for Cambodia is provided through a number of channels. The Cambodian Mine Action Center receives most, though not all, of its funding through the UNDP Trust Fund for Cambodia. In 2000, donors contributed about US$9.2 million to the Trust Fund. In addition, donors reported to Landmine Monitor some US$16 million in contributions to mine action in Cambodia provided directly to CMAC, to other mine action organizations in Cambodia (such as Mines Advisory Group and HALO Trust), or through the global UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Clearance.

Donor Contributions in 2000 to the UNDP Trust Fund for Demining[12]

Contribution US$
New Zealand*

* Primarily for Technical Advisor costs.

Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC), the national demining program, almost suspended all operations in October 2000 due to lack of funds following a long period of low donor confidence. In the Preliminary Financial Report for 2000 furnished to Landmine Monitor on 22 February 2001, CMAC reported to have received US$7.6 million, including US$7.3 million from the UNDP Trust Fund. Expenditures for CMAC in 2000 were US$7,520,011.[13]

HALO Trust mine action operations in Cambodia cost about US$2.5 million in 2000. Donors included the governments of the UK, US, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands, as well as Rotary International Japan and UNHCR. Additional funding for a one-off project for the supply of equipment came through the Japanese Embassy Small Grants Scheme, the US Embassy and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[14]

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) received approximately US$4 million in 2000 for operations in Cambodia. Donors included the governments of the UK, US, Austria, and Australia, as well as ECHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Vision, AustCARE, CWS, LWS, and Anti-landmijn Stichting.[15]

The Embassies of Germany, Sweden, UK, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and Australia provided additional information on funding, as did the US State Department:

  • The German government directly provided about US$700,000 for the operation of six CMAC demining units stationed in the provinces of Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey.[16] Germany gave about US$250,000 to CARE and US$20,000 to CMAC for the "Rhino" mechanical demining project. Germany also provided explosives and spare parts for mine clearance equipment.
  • In addition to its UNDP Trust Fund contribution, Sweden contributed US$1,556,757 to the Mine Detection Dog Project.[17]
  • In the financial year April 2000-March 2001, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) committed £2,136 million (US$2.99 million) for survey, clearance and awareness activities. DFID is also funding equipment field trials and capacity building.[18]
  • In addition to its UNDP Trust Fund contribution, Japan donated equipment to CMAC and sent technical advisors. It provided US$3 million for demining equipment on 11 May 2000, following a grant of US$4.37 million on 2 April 2000.[19] Japan also provided US$66,750 to Veterans International (VVAF) for the Physical Rehabilitation Center in Kratie, US$83,300 to AAR to renovate Kien Khlieng Vocational Training Center, and US$10,720 to HALO Trust for conversion of six GMC trucks to fuel and water tankers.
  • The Republic of Korea provided US$80,000 for demining activities in Cambodia through the global UN Voluntary Trust Fund in 2000.[20]
  • Norway contributed 5.2 million Norwegian Kronas (approximately US$572,000) through NPA for mine clearance and the development of mine affected communities. It also gave 835,000 NoK (around US$91,850) to TraumaCare/WHO for mine awareness and 1.1 million NoK (around US$121,000) to the ICRC for rehabilitation of war victims.[21]
  • The Australian Government, through AusAID, funded mine action in Cambodia to the amount of US$3.35 million in the financial year July 2000 to June 2001. Some $1.4 million of this is made to the UNDP Trust Fund for CMAC operations.[22]
  • The U.S. State Department provided $2,579,500 in its fiscal year 2000, including $1,137,847 to CMAC (mostly equipment); $746,606 to HALO Trust; $295,877 to MAG; $250,000 to CARE; and $149,167 to Handicap International (Belgium).[23]

Norwegian People’s Aid reports that its mine action assistance to Cambodia includes funding of US$945,000 (from the Dutch government) to CMAC for mine clearance; this is funding the operation of six demining platoons for one year (beginning in March 2001), with NPA performing a monitoring role. Late in 2000 NPA provided CMAC with US$50,000 in bridge funding to help get through the funding crisis. NPA has three technical advisors working with CMAC, at a cost of NOK3.38 million in 2000 (funded by the Norwegian government). NPA funded the Handicap International’s prosthetic workshop in Bantey Meanchey Province with NOK1 million in 2000 (from the Norwegian government). NPA also continued to provide rural infrastructure in the most mined areas of Bantey Meanchey Province in 2000 (NOK8 million, from Norwegian government), as it has since 1996.[24]

Bilateral aid from others included two demining platoons from CARE, US$90,000 for Mine Awareness/Community Marking Teams from UNICEF, and funding from UNHCR for projects in Samlot and other returnee areas.

Landmine Problem

In addition to the hundreds of new mine victims each year, post-conflict reconstruction of vital primary industries is seriously impeded by the problem of landmines. Though new surveys are in progress, the full extent of the mine problem in Cambodia is still not clearly known. Current estimates identify 3,600 mined areas and 2,900 square kilometers of affected land.[25] The type of land affected by the presence of landmines includes housing, agriculture, schools, clinics and other essential services, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, wood gathering, and land near fishing areas and forest areas.

“Despite an absence of completely accurate data, it is likely that mine action operations will need to continue at approximately the current level for at least the next 5-10(+) years. Beyond that time, it is probable that a reduced capability will be needed to deal with smaller or lower priority clearance tasks and numerous individual mine/UXO reports for possibly as long as a further 50 years,” suggests a new study by Ian Bullpitt, the UN Programme Manager at CMAC.[26]

Coordination and Planning of Mine Action

In September 2000, a new coordinating body, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), chaired by H.E. Prime Minister Hun Sen, was established by Royal Decree.[27] The CMAA was formed partly because of the need to address donor problems, but more importantly to separate the functions of a regulatory authority with its tasks of overseeing all mine action in Cambodia from the government's implementing agency for mine clearance. CMAC's function is now considered a mine action “service provider,” with related activities in mine awareness, mine clearance and survey. The CMAA, acting on behalf of the Royal Government, will take on the responsibility of coordination of mine action in Cambodia.

Ongoing discussions to clarify the function and organization of the CMAA have resulted in the cooperative formulation of a sub-decree: The CMAA is charged by the Royal Government of Cambodia to oversee all mine action activities in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The CMAA shall ensure a favorable environment for the conduct and the development of mine action activities. The CMAA will favor the effective and transparent use of donor funds, the proper use of cleared lands and will ensure an efficient coordination of all operators and partners.

The CMAA is responsible for establishing the technical standards, procedures, guidelines, budget and regulations related to mine action planning and technical information management, preparing national plans for mine action, coordinating all mine action activities; following-up and monitoring mine action activities; lobbying for technical and financial support to mine action within Cambodia and abroad; ordering the destruction of all anti-personnel landmines, anti-tank/vehicle mines and other explosive devices, and issuing, modifying and revoking accreditation and licenses to national and international organizations, which conduct mine action activities in Cambodia; managing databases and other information systems; coordinating with the donors, local and international development agencies, government bodies, and private agencies to ensure a safe environment; coordinating with the Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction and other relevant governmental bodies to prepare and monitor policies and guidelines on the management of land after mine/UXO clearance; managing the implementation of the domestic mine ban law and the international Mine Ban Treaty.

Surveys and Assessment

The first comprehensive Cambodian National Level One Survey is being conducted as a joint project of CMAC and the government of Canada’s aid agency CIDA. The effort is part of the Global Landmine Survey initiative of the Survey Action Center. The Canadian survey firm Geospatial International Inc. (GeoSpatial/GST) is the Canadian executing agency. It is envisaged that the project will be completed by the end of 2001. Landmine Monitor has received informal, preliminary comments from the provinces that indicate that there are more suspected minefields than estimated by previous surveys.

By February 2001, the field survey work was completed in the provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Krong Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and parts of Siem Reap. Approximately 2,700 villages have been surveyed. The provinces completed are among the most heavily mined in Cambodia. The data confirms that Battambang province and nearby Krong Pailin are the most heavily contaminated. However, provinces vary by district. For instance in Malai, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in Banteay Meanchey 34 out of 38 villages are contaminated (89% for Malai District compared to 39% for the provincial average).[28]

Mine Clearance

Mine clearance in Cambodia is carried out by the Cambodian Mine Action Center, HALO Trust, the Mines Advisory Group, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and by village “deminers” (sometimes called spontaneous demining). Commercial demining organizations are now officially allowed to operate.

Total Mine Clearance in 2000

Area cleared (m2)
AP Mine
AT Mine
HALO Trust
Total (known)

In 2000, the Cambodian Mine Action Center cleared 8,369,635 square meters of land in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Pailin and Kompong Thom.[29] Statistics for mine incidents have served as a base for prioritizing areas to be cleared and CMAC has been deploying its resources according to the casualty rate in the various affected provinces.

However, the ability of CMAC to demine was affected by a funding crisis, which resulted in the laying off of most CMAC employees and the closure of the bulk of operations on 13 October 2000. The 66 demining platoons were reduced to 15; 12 mine marking teams to eight; 23 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams to five. The eight CMAC Level One Survey Teams continued to work with Geo-Spatial. A total of 1,200 deminers or support staff have been assured of getting their jobs back gradually, through a transparent ballot system.[30]

CMAC has developed an integrated work plan for 2001 to clear 7,695,000 square meters of the 11,360,000 square meters of land selected by the provincial committees for clearance for settlement, agriculture, roads, schools, and health centers in seven provinces.[31]

In 2000, HALO Trust cleared 3,000,453 square meters of land and prepared an extra 892,145 square meters for future clearance. They found and destroyed 2,664 antipersonnel mines, 10 antitank mines and 2,426 UXO. HALO Cambodia has over 850 personnel in 26 manual clearance sections. Manual demining is supported by 13 tractor units conducting vegetation cutting and three armored front loaders/bulldozers carrying out mechanical clearance.[32] Operations are conducted in the North West of Cambodia in four locations ranked by size -Thmar Pouk, Anlong Veng, Siem Reap and Samrong.[33] During the first quarter of 2001 HALO Trust intended to expand its demining staff by a further 217 deminers to make a total of 108 sections with 756 deminers.[34]

In 2000, the Mines Advisory Group cleared 805,252 square meters, destroyed 3,170 antipersonnel and antitank mines and 7,494 UXO. MAG operates 20 Mine Action Teams (MATs) and two Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams in Battambang, Pursat, Kompong Thom, Preah Vihear and Kompong Speu. MAG’s current personnel includes 300 deminers. MAG also fields 10 community liaison teams and two Tempest mini-flail vegetation cutters. Mine Action Teams are typically made up of 15 multi-skilled people. These teams primarily focus on high impact areas working closely to community needs and their specific priorities, dealing with the threats that communities encounter in their daily lives, clearing small plots of land for village use, (for example, around pagodas, water sources, clinics, schools and/or for resettlement purposes). MATs are also deployed to clear small plots of land for agricultural activities to contribute to improved food security in the community. MAG works closely with other development partners such as World Vision International, Lutheran World Service, ACH (Action against Hunger) and Church World Service and integrates its activities with the national, provincial and local development priorities of Cambodia. [35]

The military engineers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) have been involved in demining and bomb disposal since 1994. Extensive road clearance by the army has taken place in Veal Veng district in Pursat, an area where mine clearance teams refuse to work due to lack of medical support facilities.[36] In 2000, clearance was in Kampot, Pursat and along Route 1 from Kandal to Prey Veng. Most of the clearance was for roads and placement of cables. RCAF also checks for and removes mines before visits of Cambodian leaders to province sites. Mines found were from China, former Soviet Union, United States and Vietnam. Colonel Tuon Kon says all RCAF demining activities are done to UN standards.[37]

Village Demining

Landmine Monitor Report 1999 and Landmine Monitor Report 2000 reported a large amount of demining done by villagers in Cambodia, and this continues in most mine-affected areas. In February 2001 a village demining team comprising 76 people was asked to clear for a future village site in Pailin after villagers were facing eviction.

An ad hoc committee of the CMAA met in February to consider the village demining issue. The safety of village deminers and assurances that land cleared by villagers can be registered as free from mines are key issues.

Handicap International (Belgium) initiated a study on “spontaneous demining” in Cambodia in 2000.[38] The findings showed that the majority of village deminers are adult males with knowledge of clearance techniques gained through previous military experience. Demining is largely driven by livelihood needs and clearing is done autonomously and with locally available materials.

The study uncovered various reasons why villagers engage in demining activities. These include villagers returning to old villages that have been mined, the lack of available land for housing and agriculture in heavily mined areas, and land grabbing by powerful people forcing villagers to move onto contaminated land. In terms of livelihoods, villagers tend to clear land for individual agricultural land and also to access common property resources such as forests and water sources. They often take on demining activities because they feel they cannot wait for professional mine clearance. The main reason that motivates villagers to stop demining activities is when they have enough land and access to resources to meet their family livelihood needs. However, villagers will also stop demining due to poor health or old age.

Most village deminers feel they are more likely to be injured by stepping on a mine than by demining. Many would like to discontinue demining because of fear of injury, but feel they have no choice because of their need to support their families. Families of village deminers are worried about the risks taken by their relatives who demine. Authorities claim not to support their activities, but acknowledge that the deminers assist in reducing risks for others. Villagers also believe that deminers reduce the risk in villages, but rarely believe the cleared land is 100% safe.

The villagers, including village deminers, have high hopes that land will be cleared by mine clearance organizations but they experience difficulty in making clearance requests and often complain that there is a lack of response once the request is made. There is a long wait for clearance to begin and many claim that agricultural land is not cleared. Land for a house is good but they cannot live without agriculture.

Private Demining Companies

In 2001, officially registered and approved private demining companies will be allowed to work in the Cambodia. In consultation with the Cambodian government, CMAC, MAG and HALO, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority is formulating the regulations to determine the criteria by which private companies can apply to operate in the country and to govern their conduct once in operation. It is expected that private demining companies will fill a gap in mine clearance operations by taking on mine clearance contracts of the type, size or complexity inappropriate for either CMAC or other humanitarian organizations.[39]

Chirgwin Services Group won a contract from the AusAID-funded “Destroy-a-Minefield” project to clear the Toul Kra Sang village orphanage land of UXO and ammunition from 4-31 January 2001.[40]

Land Use and Management

According to a study on the distribution of land cleared by CMAC,[41] land has been distributed to those who need it most – the landless poor, returning refugees and internally displaced people. In addition to the landless, many people who had occupied or owned mined land have greatly benefited from the clearance of mines from their land. The clearance and distribution of this land has contributed significantly to an increased sense of security and the increased ability of people to farm land for their own food security. However, in the majority of cases the simple distribution and ownership of land has not been enough to break the cycle of poverty for those villages. Flooding, isolation, lack of access to markets, limited skills and a lack of resources all contribute to the overall problems faced by people living in previously mine affected areas.

The study found some problems still remain in the realm of mine clearance and land distribution in Cambodia. They exist where corrupt local, commune and district authorities have taken the law into their own hands and either sold the land to settlers or have occupied the land themselves. In some cases they have used threat or local militia groups to back their action. In all of these cases this illegal and unfair confiscation of land has happened after the demining agency, usually CMAC, had handed over the land on the completion of mine clearance.

While there is no conclusive evidence, the study found that it appears that the presence of an international NGO or a prominent local NGO in villages where mine clearance has taken place significantly contributes to correct land distribution.

The Land Use Planning Unit and Land Use in Mined Areas Unit (LUPU/LUMU) were established to manage the task of land use planning after mine clearance.[42] According to an evaluation after one year of experience, “What was achieved in this system was the sustainable assurance of the use of demined land as it was intended. Through pre-identification of beneficiaries and development agencies for the areas, before demining even starts, it has successfully minimized land disputes and gained recognition from the National Government and Aid Agencies and achieved optimum socio-economic benefit.”[43] CMAC clears mine-contaminated land for the community use, and ensures that the community sets priorities implementing the LUPU/LUMU process and procedure.[44]

Funded by the Australian Government, Handicap International (Belgium) in 2000 evaluated the work of the LUPU and LUMU and attempted to describe the planning process utilized and their experience to date. In general, development and demining agencies suggest that the LUPU/LUMU processes have potential and will be implemented in new provinces in 2001. During 2001, Handicap International (Belgium) intends to establish three additional LUPUs in other mine-affected provinces, bringing the total to four LUPUs and one LUMU.[45]

Mine Awareness

In the year 2000, CMAC had 12 mine awareness teams that provided 1,305 courses in 903 villages. A total of 627,244 people were trained. Villagers reported to the mine awareness teams information that led to the destruction of 4,716 UXO and 2,340 mines, and identified the location of 371 minefields. CMAC also released mass media messages on television 607 times, and by radio 543 times.[46]

The community liaison component of MAG's Mine Action Teams promotes mine smart behavior in the community where the teams are working. MAG reports that this in essence incorporates four key functions: information gathering from key stakeholders, information sharing with partner agencies and communities on activities and developments, mine awareness where appropriate, and post-clearance evaluation. Prior to deployment of a clearance team in an area, or while survey and marking teams are preparing a site, the community liaison officers will spend time explaining to villagers what is happening and how they can help by keeping children away, or ensuring that no animals stray into areas under clearance. As needed, presentations on mine awareness and mine smart behavior are given. Such presentations are repeated at a later stage as needed. During and after clearance, community liaison teams continue to explain activities and progress to villagers, gather and analyze information about other needs in the community, and liaise with LUPU and local authorities.[47]

According to Ian Bullpitt’s paper, in the past mine awareness programs tended to focus on teaching mine affected communities how to recognize actual devices. More recent efforts have aimed to educate the population on known contaminated areas, being able to recognize potential risk areas and providing affected communities with strategies to live near risk areas. Recent approaches have focused on appropriate participation of the villages in supplying information in community mine marking, explosive ordnance disposal, mine clearance and community development. Bullpitt’s paper also recommended that future mine awareness programs address both the mine and UXO problem as well as provide adequate mechanisms and techniques to access the main risk group, adult males.[48]

Landmine Casualties

Handicap International (Belgium) and the Cambodian Red Cross undertake national mine and UXO casualty surveillance in Cambodia under the name of the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System. HI-B/CRC information indicates that mine casualties in Cambodia are decreasing, but people are still injured at a rate of more than two each day.[49]

In 2000, 802 people were injured or killed in mine incidents, a decrease of 247 (24%) from the previous year. Ninety-three percent of the casualties were civilians. Two hundred and fifty-three were children (31%), 502 men (63%), and 47 women (6%). A total of 161 people were killed in the accidents and 641 were injured. An additional 328 people were injured or killed between January and April 2001.[50]

Activities at the time of civilian mine/UXO incidents in 2000 were: tampering 39%, farming 22%, traveling 13%, collecting wood 11%, collecting food 6%, fishing 3%, herding 2% and other 1%. However, 67% of children's accidents were caused by tampering. [51]

The location of the mines/UXO that caused injury in 2000 were in forests 28%, in fields 17%, on roads 8%, in villages 30%, on mountains 4%, near rivers 6%, in overgrown areas 2%, and near military bases 5%.[52]

Most new mine incidents occurred in the province of Battambang (32%) followed by Banteay Meanchey (14%), Oddar Meanchey (9%), Preah Vihear (8%), Krong Pailin (8%), Siem Reap (5%), and Pursat (3%). A month-by-month, province-by-province breakdown of casualties is available.

Mine/UXO Casualties in Cambodia[53]
Civilian / Military Casualties
Recorded mine/

UXO casualties

Monthly average
Every Day
254 people
8 people

151 people
5 people
161 people
5 people
87 people
3 people
67 people
2 people

It is difficult to estimate comprehensively the total number of mine victims alive today in Cambodia. However, information collected by Handicap International (Belgium) and the Cambodian Red Cross show that from 1979 to 1999 mines and UXO had injured or killed a total of 41,993 people. Of these casualties, 14,299 were reported as having died between January 1979 and December 1999, thus there may be around 27,694 mine/UXO incident survivors in Cambodia today.[54]

In 1999, 63% of the 1,049 casualties were recorded as having been caused by a mine, while 37% were recorded as an accident by unexploded ordnance (UXO). In 2000, 54% of 802 casualties were recorded as having been caused by a mine while 46% were recorded as being injured or killed by UXO.[55]

An official of the Australian Embassy on a visit to Koh Kong was told by a military person that an average of ten persons per month among the military of his region were involved in mine incidents.[56] If this is true, statistics of the mine/UXO casualty database are still not recording all incidents in areas that are difficult to access. In 2001, HI-B/CRC deployed a new mine casualty data gatherer in Koh Kong Province in an attempt to provide more comprehensive surveillance of the casualty situation in that area. Additionally, new data-gathering staff were deployed in Oddar Meanchey and in the provinces surrounding Phnom Penh. As of April 2001 HI-B/CRC had deployed a total of 24 full time data gatherers, as well as a network of volunteer data gatherers to monitor the mine casualty situation in Cambodia.

Survivor Assistance

The Disability Action Council (DAC) was established in 1997 as a permanent national semi-autonomous coordinating body comprising representatives from the government, local NGOs, international NGOs and individuals committed to the rehabilitation and socio-economic re-integration of Cambodians with disabilities. In 2001, DAC membership includes some 35 government and non-government organizations. The body has been formalized through PRAKAS (Ministerial Declaration) issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSALVY).[57] The current status of the DAC is being recognized by the Sub-decree of CMAA under which it is stated that CMAA shall delegate the coordination responsibility on victim assistance to MOSALVY and the DAC. In addition to its coordination tasks DAC aims to build national capacity, facilitate the inclusion of disabled needs into the planning cycles of government ministries, and develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a national plan of action.

The DAC and its affiliated members in collaboration with relevant government ministries issued the Cambodian Plan of Action that provides an orientation strategy, gives an overview of the disability and rehabilitation sector, and guides investment in the area. The components of the plan include 1. National Coordination; 2. Information; 3. Legislation; 4. Public Awareness; 5. Women with Disabilities; 6. Accessibility and Communication; 7. Education; 8. Training and Employment; 9. Prevention of Causes of Disabilities; 10. Community Work with Persons with Disabilities and Training Community Based Workers; 11. Physical Medicine and Physical Rehabilitation; 12. Self-help Organization; 13. Regional and Global Cooperation; 14. Recreation/sports/culture; and 15. Sustainability. Each component consists of an introduction; goals and objectives; operational plan of action; current projects and activities; gaps in services; and recommendations on how to fill the gaps.

The facilities for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) include:

  • Occupational Rehabilitation (Vocational Training): There are eight major Vocational Training Centers providing services for PWDs from which 3,493 trainees have graduated. Of these graduates, 1,751 have secured employment or have their own business. Agencies ensuring support to Training Programs include Association for Aid and Relief (AAR), World Vision International, Cambodian War Amputees Rehabilitation Society (CWARS), Japan Cambodia Interactive Association (JCIA), Jesuit Services Cambodia (JS-C), Maryknoll, Veterans International (VVAF) and United Cambodian Community Development Foundation (UCC).
  • Physical Rehabilitation: MOSALVY has no operational budget for physical rehabilitation, which leaves services being completely financed by foreign assistance. There are 16 Physical Rehabilitation Centers where the overall responsibilities are taken by International Organizations and NGOs in conjunction with MOSALVY. Veterans International (VVAF) supports three Physical Rehabilitation Centers; four receive the support of Cambodia Trust (CT); Handicap International (Belgium) has supported seven Centers; two others receive the support of ICRC and American Red Cross.
  • Medical Rehabilitation includes among other centers the Para-Tetra Rehabilitation Center in Battambang, supported by Handicap International (Belgium), which provides rehabilitation services to patients with spinal cord injuries including landmine victims, and Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap providing surgical and medical treatment for children with disabilities.
  • Prevention of Disabilities caused by landmines includes mine awareness education provided by CMAC, HALO Trust, JS-C and MAG.

Most support for landmine survivors is provided by non-governmental organizations.[58] Agencies assisting mine survivors in Cambodia in vocational training include Jesuit Service, Maryknoll, MOSALVY, and World Vision. Accelerated learning for disabled children is provided by Marist Mission Australia. Education for deaf and blind children is provided by Krousa Thmey. Agencies addressing psycho-social, developmental and economic needs include Action on Disability and Development (ADD), American Friends Services Committee, Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation, CMI, Handicap International (Belgium), Jesuit Service, Maryknoll, Social Service of Cambodia, and TPO.

UNICEF Cambodia received $550,000 through UNMAS from the UN Trust Fund (Japanese earmarked contribution) for activities related to mine victim assistance and rehabilitation in mine affected communities within the Children Affected by Armed Conflict project. The program, which was funded from January 2000 to March 2001, was a collaboration between UNICEF, the government and non-governmental organizations and focused on three main areas: risk reduction of mine/UXO accidents; physical rehabilitation and socio-reintegration of mine victims and other disabled people; and basic social service and community development in mine-affected communities.[59]

Several international organizations have taken responsibility for the production and distribution of prosthetics and wheelchairs in Cambodia.[60] The total number of prostheses produced in 2000 include: the American Red Cross (595), Cambodia Trust (961), Handicap International (Belgium) (1,599), Veterans International (VVAF) (1,073), and the ICRC (1,295). The ICRC states that over 90% of fitted amputees were mine victims.[61] In 21 trips to the field the ICRC also repaired 730 old prostheses and nine wheelchairs. In addition, Handicap International repaired 1,632 old prostheses, made 2,454 crutches and produced 1,000 orthopedic feet. The total number of wheelchairs produced in 2000 include: Association to Aid Refugees-Japan (300), Jesuit Service Cambodia (997), and Veterans International (VVAF) (451). Handicap International (Belgium) also distributed 337 wheelchairs and 130 tricycles and Cambodia Trust distributed 173 wheelchairs and three tricycles.[62]

In 2000 and 2001 most mine injured people are able to be transported to a provincial or city hospital or to the hospital run by the NGO Emergency in Battambang. However, many victims cannot afford to pay for medical services in the government hospitals. To pay often means having to sell the ox or land or go into crippling debt. Shrapnel re-appearing and postoperative difficulties are health problems for years and eat into disabled families' incomes. The military hospital in Koh Kong provides one example of inadequate equipment and medicine for mine victims.[63]

A study commissioned by Cambodia Trust in 2000 reported that:[64]

  • 64% of disabled people owned less property and possessions than other people in their immediate communities.
  • 68% had mean household incomes of less than 152,000 Riel per month (US$40).
  • 54% of respondents usually (28%) or almost always (26%) felt anxious or worried at some stage during the day.
  • 66% of respondents engaged in few social or leisure activities.
  • 45% of respondents usually or almost always experienced feelings of depression or hopelessness.

The Disability Action Council coordinated some research projects in 2000.[65] DAC received US$12,386 from UNICEF to identify existing data, data gaps and expectations of the stakeholders related to disability issues in Cambodia, and to design, test and develop a survey questionnaire and methodology. From the study DAC hopes to recommend a sustainable computer data entry system, which would serve as a database for further research and survey on the situation of disabled persons in Cambodia and to assess the capacity of NGOs and MOSALVY at the provincial and district level in data collection.

With the support of the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF), DAC initiated a pre-project activity for economic development and income generation for persons with disability (US$35,540). Another study funded by WRF for US$18,680 is on disability awareness.

WRF provided US$16,000 to set up a Business Advisory Council (BAC) Group formed from private business community leaders in order to assist the National Center for Disabled Persons (NCDP) to create a link between skills training and the business community and public sector for job placement.[66]

Together with UNDP, WRF also provided US$25,000 to four NGO's (NCDP, VI, Rehab Craft and Maryknoll) to form an Artisan Association.[67]

Funded by WHO, at a cost of US$20,365, a three-day workshop on strengthening Multi Sectoral Collaboration in Rehabilitation Service at Community Level was held by DAC in Battambang. FAO is providing US$7,000 for another two-day workshop and one-day field visit on Promoting Participatory Approach in Rural Development through training for Capacity Building of People with Disabilities on Income Generation.

DAC also has a project to develop a standardized, accredited, community-based worker training curriculum for Cambodia.

Disabled people from remote areas are often disadvantaged. Some districts in Banteay Meanchey for instance have 38 villages, some have more than 160.[68] Various projects are undertaken in a number of provinces to ensure that disabled people in remote villagers have access to services. Organizations like HI (Belgium) arrange meeting points for disabled people to gather in one village in each district once a month. Others like JS/Metta Karuna visit disabled families in their homes in Anlong Veng, to assess needs. ADD sets up self help groups. Clearer knowledge of the real family situation emerges, but transport, floods, roads, and energy levels are challenges that have to be faced.

The draft Disability Law is unchanged from 2000.

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[1] The law bans the production, use, possession, transfer, trade, sale, import and export of anti-personnel mines. It provides for criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment for offences 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 co-ordinate activities related to the mine problem.
[2] CMAC report to Landmine Monitor Meeting, Banteay Meanchey 11 February 2001.
[3] H.E. Ieng Mouly, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, Statement to the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 12 September 2001.
[4] Statement of Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, 16 November 2000.
[5] Statement of H.E. Sok An, Minister of Council, Phnom Penh, 16 November 2000.
[6] Interview with Enrique Figaredo, Battambang, 20 February 2001.
[7] On 17 February 1999 the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) declared that it had destroyed all of its stockpiled mines. (See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 383-384.) In its 26 June 2000 Article 7 report, Form B, Cambodia reported that the RCAF had no antipersonnel mines, but that the Ministry of Interior held 2,035.
[8] Article 7 report, Forms B and F, submitted 30 June 2001, covering calendar year 2000.
[9] This information was first reported at the Landmine Monitor meeting on 30 November 2000 in Battambang.
[10] Report to Landmine Monitor Meeting, Battambang, 30 November 2000.
[11] CCBL press release, Phnom Penh, 2 December 2000.
[12] Information provided by UNDP Trust Fund, Phnom Penh, July 2001.
[13] Khem Sophoan, CMAC General Director, Financial Report, Phnom Penh, 19 February 2001.
[14] Interview with David McMahom, Deputy director of HALO Trust, Phnom Penh, 22 February 2001.
[15] Archie Law, MAG Cambodia, MAG brief, Phnom Penh, 23 February 2001, p. 7. MAG also reports spending approximately £2,200,000 for fiscal year July 2000-June 2001. Email from Tim Carstairs, MAG Communications Director, 17 July 2001.
[16] Response from Robert Stmadl, German Embassy, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 24 January 2001.
[17] Response from Daniel Asplund, Counsellor of Sweden, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 25 January 2001.
[18] Response from Khieu Chakrya, Aid Assistant of British Embassy, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 8 February 2001.
[19] Response from Horiuchi Toshihiko, First Secretary, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 12 March 2000.
[20] Response from Oh Byung-Seang, Counsellor of the Republic of Korea, Phnom Penh, 20 February 2001.
[21] Response from Ragne Birte Lund, Ambassador of Norway, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, 1 March 2001.
[22] Response from Khun Eak, Program Officer of AusAID, Phnom Penh, 15 February 2001.
[23] US Department of State, “FY00 NADR Project Status,” dated 27 December 2000. This was a decrease from $3 million granted in FY 1999.
[24] Email from Aage Skagestad, Norwegian People’s Aid, 11 July 2001.
[25] Ian Bullpitt, “Summary of Discussions and Recommendations Relating To National Strategy and Management Of The Mine Action Sector Within Cambodia In The Short and Long Term Beyond 2000,” Phnom Penh, 5 November 2000, p. 31.
[26] Ibid, p. 2.
[27] Information in this section is drawn from “Cambodian Mine Action Standards (CMAS)-Draft Version, 1 February 2001.”
[28] A. (Tony) Chori, GeoSpatial International Inc., “Cambodia National Level One Survey Project: Status Report,” Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 23 February 2001, p. 3.
[29] CMAC, “CMAC Demining Progress Report, 1 January 2001,” provided at the request of Landmine Monitor.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Ibid.
[32] See website http://www.HALOtrust.org/asia.html. Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Richard Boulter, Desk Officer Europe, The HALO Trust, 26 July 2001.
[33] Ian Bullpitt, “Summary of Discussions and Recommendations Relating To National Strategy and Management Of The Mine Action Sector Within Cambodia In The Short and Long Term Beyond 2000,” Phnom Penh, 5 November 2000, p. 4.
[34] David McMahom, Deputy Director, HALO Trust Cambodia, “Briefing Paper Executive Summary,” January 2001, p. 4.
[35] Archie Law, MAG Cambodia, MAG brief, Phnom Penh, 23 February 2001, p. 2. Also, email from Tim Carstairs, MAG Communications Director, 17 July 2001.
[36] UNICEF External Evaluation of Supported Mine Action Projects, June/July 2000, p. 15.
[37] Interview Col. Tuon Kon, JRS office, Phnom Penh, 25 April 2001.
[38] Handicap International (Belgium), Spontaneous Demining Initiatives Workshop, Phnom Penh, 18 December 2000; also Ruth Bottomley, Handicap International (Belgium), Spontaneous Demining Initiatives, January 2001.
[39] Phnom Penh Post, 15 February 2000, p. 7.
[40] Ibid.
[41] Emma Leslie and Soth Ngarm, “Mine Clearance and Land Distribution: A Study of Three Heavily Mine Affected Provinces in Cambodia,” Phnom Penh, February 2001, p. 3. The study was commissioned by Landmine Monitor and carried out between November 2000 and February 2001.
[42] For more details, see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 392 – 393.
[43] Oun Sang Onn, “One Year of Experience of LUPU/LUMU,” September 2000, p. 5.
[44] CMAC's Integrated Work Plan 2001, p. 19.
[45] Reuben McCarthy, Handicap International (Belgium), Phnom Penh, 25 April 2001.
[46] Information provided by Mr. Tang Sun Hao, CMAC Chief of Mine/UXO Awareness, Phnom Penh.
[47] Archie Law, MAG Briefing Paper, Phnom Penh, 23 February 2001, p. 3. Also, email from Tim Carstairs, MAG Communications Director, 17 July 2001.
[48] Ian Bullpitt, “Summary of Discussions and Recommendations Relating To National Strategy and Management Of The Mine Action Sector Within Cambodia In The Short and Long Term Beyond 2000,” Phnom Penh, 5 November 2000, p. 52.
[49] HI-B/CRC Mine Incidents Database, December 2000.
[50] Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System, Monthly Mine/UXO Victim Report, April 2001. (Report date 31 May 2001). Casualty figures are continually updated and verified as part of the ongoing data collection process.
[51] Cambodia Mine/UXO Incident Database Project, Monthly Mine Incident Report, December 2000.
[52] Ibid.
[53] Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System, Monthly Mine/UXO Victim Report, April 2001.
[54] Handicap International (Belgium)/Cambodian Red Cross, Mine & UXO Casualties in Cambodia: Bi-Annual Report, pp. 9-16.
[55] Cambodia Mine/UXO Incident Database Project, Monthly Mine Incident Report, December 2000.
[56] Landmine Monitor/Cambodia interview with an Australian Embassy official, Phnom Penh, 1 March 2001
[57] DAC-Secretariat, “Country Profile: Study on Persons with Disabilities,” Cambodia, February 2001.
[58] For additional information see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p 397-399.
[59] Email from Michel Le Pechoux, UNICEF Cambodia, 15 May 2001.
[60] For additional information see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 397-398.
[61] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Unit: Health and Relief Division Annual Report 2000, p. 7.
[62] Information provided by named organizations to Landmine Monitor.
[63] Landmine Monitor/Cambodia interview with T. McCormack, Phnom Penh, 1 March 2001.
[64] B. Powell, Qualitative Impact of Assistance to Disabled People, Phnom Penh, November 2000, p. 2.
[65] Response from Men Sinouen, DAC, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 11 January 2001.
[66] Ibid.
[67] Response from Men Sinoeun, DAC, to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, Phnom Penh, 11 January 2001.
[68] Ouk Sisovann- Memo to Landmine Monitor/Cambodia, 28 February 2001.