Bangkok, 14 June 2013 – Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific met with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, on 12 June 2013 to encourage Thailand to finish clearing all known mines by 2018, as a deadline under the Article 5 obligation of the Mine Ban Treaty.
“Mine clearance would help to protect communities from further risks of injuries,” said Sermsiri Ingavanija, JRS Asia Pacific’s Landmines Campaign Coordinator.
The meeting aimed to re-inspire Thailand’s commitment to the Mine Ban treaty, which it signed in December 1997, and to garner enthusiasm for further mine clearance.
JRS congratulates Thailand for the clearance of up to 1,355 km squared of land since 2008 and encourages the Thai government to clear the remaining 542.6 km of mine- contaminated land.
“The landmines campaign has come a long way and the political will to move forward with mine action in Thailand is commendable,” said Fr Bambang A Sipayung, the Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific Director.
The delegation was led by Atle Karlsen, Deputy Director, Norwegian People’s Aid Mines and Arms Department, and included Fr. Bambang Sipayung, representatives of APOPO, PRO, and the Landmine Survivor Network in Pong Nam Ron District.
Ms. Jaruwan Mantieng, NPA Thailand female deminer, and Mrs. Wiboonrat Chanchoo, a female leader of landmine survivors in Thailand from Sakaeo province, informed the Prime Minister that they are proud of their contributions and they believe the Prime Minister shows great support for humanitarian mine action in Thailand.
Landmine survivors Mrs. Wiboonrat Chanchoo and Mr. Chusak Saelee were happy to be able to participate in the meeting, as it was made possible with financial support from JRS Asia Pacific.
“We are proud to have this opportunity in our lives,” said Mrs. Wiboonrat.
Dana MacLean, JRS Asia Pacific Communications Officer
Information provided courtesy of the Thailand Network for Humanitarian Disarmaments (TNHD)