On 16 June, ARMAC had the pleasure of hosting His Excellency Kwon Hee-seog, the Ambassador of the Mission of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to ASEAN, and his team. They met with ARMAC Executive Director Prum Suonpraseth and the Victim Assistance Project team to provide an overview of ARMAC, and update on the government of South Korea’s funding. Through the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund, the ROK has invested over $2 million for the implementation of the “Enhance Victim Assistance Programme in ASEAN Member States (AMSs)”. The initiative is three years long, running through 2023, and has five objectives: (1) promote the establishment of victim assistance network as a regional platform for various stakeholders among ASEAN; (2) assist the AMSs on the victim-assistance-related knowledge sharing, need/s and resource/s assessment and possibility of its mobilization; (3) assess the needs of the victims of ERW (mine/UXO) in the affected AMSs for further assistance; (4) assist the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) in providing psychosocial supports to the victims of ERW (mine/UXO); and (5) conduct research regarding the “ERW (Mine/UXO) Victim Assistance Inclusive Services in Cambodia,” as well as “Community Perspectives of Humanitarian ERW (Mine/UXO) Action in Laos and Viet Nam”.
ARMAC and affected AMSs are grateful for the government of South Korea’s generous support— the project and funding is an immense advantage in the development and strengthening of victim assistance across the region. The consequences of explosive remnants of war on local communities can be devastating but support from projects like the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund is a significant step towards countering these impacts.