Cambodia is hosting the Third Global Conference on Mine Victim Assistance from October 17-19 in Phnom Penh.

Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), led a delegation of conference participants on a visit to local NGO Exceed Worldwide on October 16. The visit aimed to give conference attendees an insight into the provision of support services to survivors of unexploded ordnance (UXOs), who were left with disabilities.

During the tour, Jordanian Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein, special envoy of the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use of anti-personal mines, expressed his hope for continued collaboration between both state and non-state parties to the treaty. Their collective goal is to enhance survivor assistance and uphold disability rights.

A CMAA statement said that Thuch led the delegation to a rehabilitation centre in Phnom Penh. Their visit aimed to better understand the activities focused on providing community support services, enabling access to educational opportunities, vocational training, employment or the initiation of start-ups.

During the visit, he explained that these tragedies are a result of the nation’s painful modern history spanning over three decades. More than 650,000 lives were lost, with many left disabled, and more continuing to suffer each year.

“These survivors also underscore the resilience and unity of Cambodia. They demonstrate to the world that despite challenges, Cambodia retains the capability to rebuild and progress as a nation. The well-being of individuals with disabilities is an ongoing focus, in tandem with the sustained socio-economic advancement of the nation,” he said.

Thuch met with Al-Hussein and the Ottawa Convention delegation on October 15 to discuss arrangements for the conference.

During the meeting, the Prince confirmed he would attend the Siem Reap-Angkor Summit on a Mine-Free World, scheduled for December 2024.

According to the CMAA statement, Al-Hussein also expressed his hopes that non-state parties will continue to engage with the Ottawa Convention, and collaborate to address outstanding concerns, enhance survivor assistance and protect the rights of the disabled.

Thuch expressed Cambodia’s pride at hosting the conference, which is being attended by representatives from 45 countries.