This week the mine action community has its eyes on Cambodia, where the Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (11MSP) is being held in Phnom Penh. It is a formal meeting of the 158 States that have accepted the 1997 convention prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
It is a time to reflect on how far the country has come to rid itself of landmines, as well as the work that still needs to be done. We hope that this meeting will inspire further action and that donors join HALO in our commitment to not stopping until the job is done.
Since 1991, HALO has worked tirelessly throughout northwest Cambodia, primarily in the provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap and Otdar Meanchey. HALO has made tremendous progress in Cambodia; a concerted and focused clearance effort has now eliminated much of the problem such that the remaining contaminated area is largely limited to the Cambodian-Thailand border region and ground surrounding former Vietnamese bases in the northwest. The progress made is best evidenced by the fall in casualty numbers, from an average of around 800 per year through the early part of this decade to 286 people in 2010. And while it is a great achievement, this is still significant war-time carnage in a country at peace, reminding us of the work that still remains to be done.
Thank you for supporting this project and helping us work towards a mine-free Cambodia, which we know can be achieved.