The Cambodian Mine Action Centre has been brought under the control of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, allowing its staffers to gain pensions from the government.
Heng Ratana, director general of CMAC, which was previously a private organisation, said yesterday that all of CMAC’s staff were happy to hear that they would get a pension from the government when they retire.
“On behalf of them, I want to express our utmost appreciation and gratitude to Prime Minister Hun Sen for granting a pension for CMAC staff under the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” he said.
“We also wish to express our deep thanks to the Minister of Defence for accepting CMAC’s staff,” he added. “It is very important to note that this integration into the Ministry of Defence is only to get pension status for CMAC staff.”
Mr Ratana added that most of CMAC’s deminers were former members of the armed forces that have been dedicated to ridding the country of landmines and other unexploded ordnance for more than 25 years.
Mr Ratana said there were more than 1,800 CMAC staff members, including about 290 that have already retired.
“The second big grant by the government is that our demining workers can get medical examinations and treatment services free of charge at state hospitals,” Mr Ratana added. Mr Hun Sen said in the past that if the health of demining workers was not guaranteed, their lives would be too difficult.
In Deourn, a CMAC staffer in Battambang province, said he was very happy to learn of the pension news.
“I did not think this dream would come true,” he said. “I often thought in the past of what I would do when I retire, and now I know I am protected by this pension.”
In 2017, CMAC cleared more than 8,636 hectares of land and found and destroyed 37,448 landmines and explosive remnants of war. Last year, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority reported that the number of casualties caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance decreased in the first 11 months of the year if compared to the same period year in 2016.