PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet has called for continued support from the international community to achieve the country's mine-free goal by 2025.
Hun Manet made the appeal at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States on Friday (New York time), according to a statement of his speech released to the media on Saturday.
"In addition to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the global framework, Cambodia has added its own specific goal related to mine action - namely, a 'Mine-Free Cambodia by 2025,'" he said.
"In this effort, we call for continued financial and technical support. We also urge greater participation by the international community to raise awareness of the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordnance, the 'hidden killers' that threaten human security even after armed conflicts end," he added.
Cambodia is one of the countries worst affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs). An estimated 4-6 million landmines and other munitions had been left over from three decades of war and internal conflicts that ended in 1998.
According to Yale University, between 1965 and 1973, the United States dropped some 230,516 bombs on 113,716 sites in Cambodia.
Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said from 1979 to June 2023, landmine and ERW explosions had killed 19,821 people and either injured or amputated 45,205 others in the Southeast Asian country.
"This makes Cambodia one of the countries with the highest casualties," he told Xinhua.
He said since 1992, an area of 2,761 square kilometers has been cleared, further lowering the number of casualties from 4,320 in 1996 to less than 100 per year on average over the last 10 years.
However, Cambodia still needs to clear the remaining contaminated areas of 1,817 square kilometers, he said, adding that some 538 square kilometers are contaminated with landmines, and the rest are contaminated with ERWs. ■