CNVLD Congratulates H.E Ith Sam Heng on Banning
Cambodian Miss Landmine Beauty Pageant
Consistent with its publicly stated position over the past two years, the CNVLD congratulates H.E Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on the banning of the Cambodian Miss Landmine pageant in the interests of promoting the dignity of the PWDs of Cambodia.
MOSVY issued a press release last week stating that “The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation does not support the Miss Landmine contest…and would like the program’s organiser to halt all activity immediately in order to protect the honour and dignity of the disabled Cambodians especially women.” The ban on the contest came into effect on Sunday 2nd August.
Despite a public outcry by the organisers and claims of strong international support, MOSAVY has refused to change its position and has also prohibited the organisers from utilising provincial MOSVY offices to meet with the contestants in order to provide cash payments claimed to amount to $200 each.
In response to the first proposed Miss Landmine contest in 2008, the CNVLD publicly stated its strong opposition to the pageant and maintains its position in 2009. CNVLD Secretary General Chris Minko recently elaborated the organisation’s long-term position, “Over the last 10 years, the CNVLD has successfully demonstrated through the unique power of sport that PWDs can become effective, respected, active, proud and contributing members of society who can act as inspirational role models, not only for other PWDs but for the population at large. Beauty pageants of all descriptions merely serve to objectify and denigrate the participants for the benefit of a deeply unsettling voyeurism and any attempt to link the Miss Landmine contest with successful campaigning against the global scourge of landmines is an insult to victims, survivors and committed activists alike.”
Minko also emphasised the role of women in the CNVLD’s sports programmes which enjoy sponsorship by one of the world’s largest corporations, “The ANZ Royal CNVLD Wheelie Grand Prix Battambang Women’s Racing Team, along with the women athletes integrated into racing teams around Cambodia, are a perfect example of how Cambodian women with a disability can successfully effect the transition from being isolated and feeling outcast to becoming embraced and celebrated by their communities and the nation for their dedication, commitment and success through their sporting achievements. The level of sustainable social and economic integration which result from participation by women with a disability in sports programmes is unprecedented as is the impact on the raising of positive awareness on the issues of landmines and disability.”
After more nearly a decade of the National Volleyball League (Disabled) and with the Cambodian National Team currently World #3 after the 2007 WOVD Cambodia Volleyball World Cup, the athletes with a disability of Cambodia now enjoy an elevated status as Cambodia’s sporting heroes, recognised, acknowledged and a source of great pride for the majority of Cambodian citizens.
With the advent of naming rights sponsorship of the National Volleyball League by Cellcard, Cambodia’s leading telecommunications company, along with the appearance by the National Volleyball Team in recent Cellcard TV ads, the CNVLD has pioneered the promotion of disability rights and anti-landmine campaigning with dignity, pride and self-esteem, in keeping with Cambodian cultural norms.
The CNVLD strongly opposes any efforts by individuals or organisations sponsored by foreign governments to impose esoteric social experiments on Cambodian women with a disability, and fully supports and congratulates H.E Ith Sam Heng and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation to permanently ban the Miss Landmine contest.
The CNVLD and the Athletes with a Disability of Cambodia:
Standing Up for the Rights and Dignity of Women PWDs