Blog

25 Dec
ARMAC Courtesy Call with ICRC Mission in Cambodia

ARMAC Courtesy Call with ICRC Mission in Cambodia

The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) hosted a courtesy call with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at ARMAC’s Permanent Secretariat on 25 December 2017. Both organisations gave a brief introduction about themselves and outlined cooperation opportunities for the near future.

Mr. Roman Paramonov explained that ICRC has been working in Cambodia since 1979 during the emergency situation, and currently ICRC focuses on various programmes, such as: to improve general conditions of detention and treatment of detainees in Cambodian prisons (i.e. access to equitable health care, safe drinking water, family links service, etc.), physical rehabilitation for people with disability, and to promote the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the implementation of universal humanitarian principles. In the mine action sector, ICRC contributes to both mine risk education and victim assistance in Cambodia. In Battambang and Kampong Speu, ICRC established Regional Physical Rehabilitation Centres, and support the outreach programme through mobile workshops.

During the meeting, ARMAC’s Executive Director Mr. Ly Panharith discussed the effectiveness of integrating MRE into school curricula and the potential for ICRC to implement this. Also, as CMAA’s National Mine Action Strategy includes MRE and Victim Assistance as main goals, ICRC in Cambodia may have further opportunities for cooperation.

During the meeting, Ms. Dwi Prameswari gave a presentation on the history of ARMAC’s establishment, structure, and implementation progress. Mr. Roman Paramonov mentioned his interest for potential collaboration in the future as ICRC’s programmes are relevant to ARMAC’s mandate and functions

ICRC has conveyed and offered their support to provide expertise for training in the future. In return, ARMAC also offers support on providing inputs to the ICRC workshops and/or training. As ICRC has an office in most countries in Southeast Asia, there is high potential collaboration with ARMAC at the regional level.

(ARMAC, 25 December 2017)

15 Dec
Enhancing Regional Coordination Efforts in Addressing ERW

Enhancing Regional Coordination Efforts in Addressing ERW

The seminar on Enhancing Regional Coordination Efforts in Addressing ERW was organised by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) and was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 15 December 2017. The seminar was chaired by H.E. Mr. Prum Suphakmonkol.

The seminar was attended by the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC), Cambodian Ministry of Interior, Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodian Ministry of National Defense – National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC), Cambodian Mine Action Centre and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), and aimed to enhance coordination between organisations. Strategies to optimise the mobilisation of available resources from other countries in the ASEAN region were also discussed during the seminar.

The seminar resulted in recommendations for ARMAC and the other organisations for potential future collaboration and potential programmes.

The Royal Government of Cambodia has committed to supporting the first 2 (two) years of the operasionalisation of ARMAC, which will be followed by a contribution from The Philippines. ARMAC will continue to encourage other ASEAN Member States to provide contributions towards ARMAC’s operations.

(ARMAC, 15 December 2017)

14 Dec
ARMAC Meets the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia

ARMAC Meets the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia

Ms. Dwi Prameswari, ARMAC’s Technical Officer of Mine Action requested a meeting with the Country Director of JRS in Cambodia to exchange information on victim assistance and mine action. The interaction and collaboration with various stakeholders will benefit the center to further implement its mandate and functions. The success of mine action in the region involves many actors, including the NGOs, who give inputs and suggestions, and implement their own impactful programmes.

There are 5 (five) JRS Offices in the Southeast Asia region which are involved with mine/ERW action and victim assistance. JRS Cambodia was established in 1990, and initially focused on refugees, victims of landmines, poverty and vocational training for people with disabilities. Sr Denise Coghlan was on the Steering Committee of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) when it received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

In victim assistance, besides ensuring the basic components of medical response, rehabilitation, psychosocial support and economic development given to the survivors, it is also important to encourage survivors and people with disabilities to get involved in programmes which are relevant to them. JRS published the book “I am Happy I am Alive!”, which outlines a Village-Focused Approach led by survivors with inputs from leaders and communities to make the National Plan understandable at the local level.

(ARMAC, 14 December 2017)

08 Dec
Victim Assistance Training

Victim Assistance Training

On 08 December 2017, ARMAC had the honour of organising internal training on the Victim Assistance, delivered by Mr. Ny Nhar, the Deputy Director of Victim Assistance Department of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, at the Permanent Secretariat of ARMAC.

The main focus of the training was Mine Victim Assistance and Disability Coordination. It started with an overview of mines/ERW, and Mr. Ny Nhar mentioned the casualties and injuries due to mines in Cambodia as at December 2016 (since 1976) was 64,662 people. Victim assistance and mine clearance remain significant focuses in Cambodia as the contaminated area is still high.

Victim assistance in Cambodia is regulated under the Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Right of Persons with Disabilities. Mr. Ny Nhar explained that the coordination mechanism at the government level for victim assistance in Cambodia lies with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, Disability Action Council and Department of Social Welfare under the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation. On the local level, people with disability are united through the People with Disability Foundation, and currently CMAA conducts data collection on the number of people with disabilities in 2000 of Cambodia’s villages.

The training also discussed capacity building initiatives for survivor networks and the inclusion of cross-cutting issues in programme implementation. In addition to this, Mr. Ny Nhar also mentioned that the survivor networks and CMAA have also assessed the availability of service providers, including public health services and physical rehabilitation services.

(ARMAC, 08 December 2017)

01 Dec
The Courtesy Call of ARMAC with UNDP

The Courtesy Call of ARMAC with UNDP

ARMAC requested a courtesy call to the United Nations Development Program in Cambodia on 1 December 2017. In the courtesy call, Mr. Ly Panharith, Executive Director of ARMAC, explained the history and structure of ARMAC as the center of excellence which facilitates mine action support to ASEAN Member States (AMS). The Executive Director continued to elaborate the 3 (three) mandate and functions of ARMAC.

He also underlined the importance of conducting a survey or discussion to assess the needs and challenges faced by the landmine/ERW affected states in ASEAN, as well as to map out the available resources inside and/or outside the region to support the mine action program.

Ms. Claire Vander Vaeren, UNDP Resident Representative in Cambodia expressed her interest in the work of ARMAC and the way ARMAC will collaborate with other regional and national mine action organisations. She asked ARMAC to make a specific request if any technical assistance from UNDP is needed. She also offered to connect ARMAC to UNMAS for further discussion and cooperation.

(ARMAC 1 December 2017)

30 Nov
ARMAC Meets the Humanitarian Mine Action Initiative Myanmar and Norwegian People’s Aid

ARMAC Meets the Humanitarian Mine Action Initiative Myanmar and Norwegian People’s Aid

On 30 November 2017, ARMAC hosted a meeting with the Humanitarian Mine Action Initiative Myanmar and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Cambodia, at the ARMAC Permanent Secretariat.

Mr. U Tant Zin, President of HMAI, explained that over half of Myanmar’s land area is contaminated with the landmines/ERW, with 44% of the contamination being UXO, anti-vehicle and antipersonnel mines, and 56% being unknown types. Based on the data collected from the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), the civilian landmine casualties include men (61%), women (4%), and children (4%), and details of 31% of victims are unknown. Mr. Aksel Steen Nilsen added that the use of landmines is still quite high in Myanmar.

Among 5 (five) core components of mine action, NGOs in Myanmar have implemented programmes for 2 (two) components, mine risk education and victim assistance. NGOs such as NPA, HaloTrust, and MAG have been overseeing these mine action initiatives in Myanmar.

It is necessary to support the mine clearance in Myanmar considering the existing high contamination in the country. ARMAC will conduct a survey to further identify the actual needs and challenges faced by the affected ASEAN Member States, as well as to assess the available resources required to elevate mine action in the affected states.

(ARMAC 30 November)

29 Nov
4th Steering Committee Meeting and Hand-Over

4th Steering Committee Meeting and Hand-Over

The 4th Steering Committee Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) was held on 29 November 2017 at the Permanent Secretariat of ARMAC, to discuss the establishment and operationalisation of ARMAC. The Chair of the 4th SC Meeting was H.E. Christopher B. Montero, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Cambodia and Chair of the SC of ARMAC in 2017. Attendees were the Steering Committee Members from all ASEAN Member States, a delegate from the ASEAN Secretariat and the Executive Director (ED) of ARMAC, who assumed his position on 20 October 2017.

Apart from the discussion of the Budget and Work Plan, ED’s report on ARMAC’s implementation progress was a focus of the meeting. The progress report included: (i) developing ARMAC’s systems for finance, admin, HR, procurement and asset management; (ii) the project management manual, (iii) ARMAC’s website, logo and stamp; (iv) recruitment of ARMAC Staff.

At the end of meeting, H.E. Christopher B. Montero handed the Chairmanship over to H.E. Michael Tan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Singapore to the Kingdom of Cambodia, who will Chair ARMAC’s Steering Committee in 2018.

(ARMAC, 29 November 2017)

28 Nov
ARMAC’s Courtesy Call with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Cambodia

ARMAC's Courtesy Call with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Cambodia

HE Mr. Xiong Bo, the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Cambodia, hosted a courtesy call requested by ARMAC on 28 November 2017. The courtesy call started with the introduction of ARMAC by the Executive Director of ARMAC, Mr. Ly Panharith. HE Mr. Xiong Bo was keen to know about the function of ARMAC as an entity in the ASEAN region, as he realised that the impact of landmines/ERW in ASEAN Member States (AMS) could affect the development sector.

PRC supported the establishment of ARMAC by providing the office renovation and office equipment in 2015. Mr. Ly Panharith proposed some aspects of cooperation between PRC and China. HE Mr. Xiong Bo added that People’s Republic of China has committed to the supporting the implementation of ASEAN priorities though the ASEAN+1 mechanism and that he would convey ARMAC’s proposal to the government of PRC.

(ARMAC 28 November 2017)

15 Nov
Introduction to Mine Action Training

Introduction to Mine Action Training

On 15 November 2017, ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) staff conducted an internal training titled “Introduction to Mine Action”, delivered by the Mine Action Expert, Mr. Sam Oum, Project Manager of Humanitarian Disarmament Program Cambodia, Norwegian People’s Aid. The training was held in the permanent secretariat of ARMAC in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The full-day training provided a basic understanding of humanitarian mine action and why it is necessary to conduct mine action in Southeast Asia. He underlined that “Humanitarian Mine Action goes beyond demining/mine clearance, and involves the development aspects, especially towards the affected people. Thus, plan and look forward to upcoming opportunities.”

The landmines/ERW have been defined as a threat to people’s safety, a constraint to the socio-economic development, and a humanitarian problem in the Southeast Asia region. Furthermore, there are at least 6 (six) countries that are directly affected by the landmines/ERW in ASEAN. Thus, the overall mine action programs bring urgency in the region and the full-operationalisation of ARMAC is necessary.

(ARMAC, 15 November 2017)

04 Jul
3rd Steering Committee Meeting

3rd Steering Committee Meeting

The Third Meeting of the Steering Committee of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) was held on 03 July 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Christopher B. Montero, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to Cambodia and Chair of the Steering Committee (SC) of ARMAC. All members of the Steering Committee, ASEAN Secretariat, and Interim Executive Director of ARMAC attended the Meeting.

The discussion of the Meeting focused on the operationalisation of the Center, including the revised Annual Operational Budget 2017, its Work Plan (2017-2018) and the selection of Executive Director. As a host country, the Royal Government of Cambodia has provided full funding support for the first two years of ARMAC’s operations (2017-2018).

The Establishment of ARMAC in Cambodia was the initiative of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, during Cambodia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2012. The Official Inaugural Ceremony of ARMAC Headquarters in Phnom Penh was launched on 25 May 2016 and presided over by H.E. PRAK Sokhonn, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and attended by representatives from ASEAN Member States, and relevant organizations.

Since the Interim Executive Director assumed office on 20 April 2017, ARMAC is currently serving as a center of excellence to assist interested ASEAN Member States in research, knowledge sharing and raising awareness of the effects of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and encourage efforts to address them.

(Press Release by MFAIC, Kingdom of Cambodia, 04 July 2017)