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Thursday, October 06, 2011

NZ fundraiser for Cambodian mine survivors

The New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines (CALM) is fundraising for Cambodian landmine survivors ahead of the Mine Ban Treaty's annual meeting to be held in Phnom Penh in seven weeks time.

"Over the past twenty years, Cambodia has made great progress in eradicating landmines, but survivors of this weapon face life-long needs," said Mary Wareham, CALM Coordinator. "We hope that New Zealanders respond generously to this fundraising initiative."

CALM is holding an online Trade Me auction of a dozen carry bags made from local materials by women landmine survivors in Kandal Province, Cambodia. Proceeds from the auction will be provided to Jesuit Service Cambodia for the construction of accessible housing for landmine survivors and mobility devices such as wheelchairs.

Cambodia is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world. According to Landmine Monitor, there are approximately 44,000 survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Cambodia. In 2009, there were a total of 244 landmine and ERW casualties in the country.

"New Zealand's commitment to eradicating landmines didn't end back in 1997 when we signed the Mine Ban Treaty," said Wareham. "New Zealand must continue its support to mine victim assistance projects in Cambodia and other affected countries."

The Mine Ban Treaty's Eleventh Meeting of States Parties is due to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 28 November-2 December 2011. Representatives from more than 100 countries, including New Zealand, are expected to attend. A total of 157 countries have joined the Treaty, most recently Tuvalu on 13 September 2011. The Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines and requires their clearance.

The New Zealand Campaign to Ban Landmines is a long-standing member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. CALM is a sister campaign to the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC).

Both CALM and the ANZCMC are governed jointly by a working group comprised of the following groups: Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ, Caritas Aotearoa NZ, Christian World Service, Engineers for Social Responsibility NZ, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War NZ, National Council of Women NZ, National Consultative Committee on Disarmament, Oxfam NZ, Peace Movement Aotearoa, Soroptimist International NZ, United Nations Association NZ, United Nations Youth Association NZ, UNICEF NZ, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa.

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