Phnom Penh, 7 June 2011 – A landmine activist of the Jesuit Refugee Service Cambodia in the northern province of Siem Reap is to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Seattle University at its graduation ceremony next week.
Tun Channareth, himself a landmine survivor, lost both legs when a landmine exploded in his native Cambodia in 1982. Since then, he has worked tirelessly in the struggle against landmines and cluster bombs which still plague former war-torn countries, such as Cambodia.
After spending 13 years in a Thai refugee camp where he received vocational training, Mr Channareth returned to Cambodia where he began working with the Jesuit Refugee Service.
A man of considerable talents, Mr Channareth combines his time building wheelchairs for landmine victims and providing said victims with support and information. He also travels around the world lobbying against the production of landmines and cluster bombs.
A tireless advocate
“Mr Channareth has reached out with compassion in service to other landmine victims while working tirelessly to rid the world of these insidious weapons”, said Seattle University president, Stephen Sundborg.
Mr Channareth, who also was chosen to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1997, modestly deflected this most recent acclaim bestowed upon him, claiming that “the real winners are people around the world who are threatened daily by landmines and cluster bombs”.
He also praised the students of Seattle University, who helped raise 2,000 US dollars for rural, education and health projects.
“The congratulations should go to Seattle University students, faculty, and staff, because they see these global issues and take leadership action”, he said.