Cambodian Tycoons Donate for Landmine Clearance

A Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) member (L) and policeman keep watch behind a Mark 82 bomb in Kandal province on May 21, 2015. Photo by TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP

Kep province declared itself the first landmine-free area in Feb. 2022

PHNOM PENH – Many tycoons have donated funds to help the mine-clearing effort initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen to achieve the landmine-free target by 2025. To date, the total donation has amounted to more than $13 million.

The donation was made after the Prime Minister established the “Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action” under the theme “Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles,” with the Cambodian Mine Action Authority.

This project was created on July 1 to accelerate mine clearance in Cambodia and declare some provinces, districts, and communes as mine-free areas.

The donors include the Cambodian Red Cross ($2 million) which is presided by Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany, Chip Mong Group ($1 million), real estate and music label tycoon Leng Navatra ($1 million), Cambodian tycoons Pung Kheav Se ($1 million), Hong Piv ($1 million), Ly Yong Phat ($1 million), Chen Zhi of Prince Group ($1 million), Kith Meng’s Royal Group ($1 million), and many others, according to Phay Siphan, the government spokesperson.

On July 4, Ly Thuch, first vice president of CMAA, chaired a meeting with the Royal Cambodian Army, the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC), and the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) to set priorities, plan and allocate clearance forces.

The Royal Cambodian Army​ is clearing contaminated land in Kratie, Koh Kong, Preah Vihear, Kampong Speu, and Banteay Meanchey provinces, according to CMAA’s official Facebook page.

NPMEC is demining areas in Tbong Khmum province while CMAC is clearing mines in Takeo, Kampot, and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

On Feb. 28, Kep province declared itself the first Cambodian province to be landmine-free. Kampong Cham, Kandal, Preak Sihanouk, Prey Veng, Ratanakiri, Takeo provinces, as well as Phnom Penh, all set to declare their success in demining later this year.

The United Nations Development Programme in Cambodia praised the government’s effort in clearing the contaminated lands in the country and securing crucial funding from the private sector and the Cambodian Red Cross to enable landmine clearance.

“Mine action is more than just clearing contaminated land. It is about people and societies and their prospects for a dignified and prosperous life,” UNDP said on July 1.

The UN agency added that it is ready to continue supporting the Cambodian government and the CMAA.

Cambodia has also received funds from some countries for landmine clearance efforts. According to a United States Department report, the US provided more than $140 million to Cambodia between 1993 and 2018 to remove landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO).

In Sept. 2022, six agreements were signed in the presence of Hun Sen and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. These included $270 million in grants and $2.5 million to support the removal of landmines and UXO in the country.


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