Briefs: Teenager Killed by Landmine, NagaWorld Workers Out of Quarantine

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NagaWorld workers are sent to a Covid-19 quarantine facility after attempting a demonstration outside the Phnom Penh casino on March 7, 2022. (Licadho)

A senior official at the Cambodian Mine Action Center said on Wednesday that a 13-year-old boy had been killed the previous day in a landmine explosion as he tended to a grazing cow in the Kors Kralor district of Battambang province.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana announced the death on his official Facebook page, explaining the cow had stepped on a landmine, causing it to explode. The boy was killed near Wat Slak Phum in Prey Totueng village, in Chhnal Mann commune. Last year, a farmer outside the village uncovered an old cache of nearly 100 unexploded grenades and explosive rounds.

“This is the legacy of the war that the Cambodian people are going through with the remnants of landmines and other war weapons,” Ratana wrote. “[These weapons] will continue to threaten the well-being of the Cambodian people non-stop, even though the war has been over for more than twenty years already.”

On January 10, police said at least four people were killed and two others injured in two separate mine explosions in Preah Vihear province’s Sen Tech village. One of the explosions involved a group of deminers, while the second affected people who had been burning and clearing their potato fields.

According to an October report by the Cambodian Mine Action Authority, in the first nine months of 2021, landmines and explosive remnants injured or killed a total of 34 people. This represents a decrease of 38 percent compared to the same period of time in 2020, in which there were 55 victims of such explosions.

— Mam Sampichida

US-Asean Summit Postponed

A meeting that had been planned for March between Asean leaders and U.S. President Joseph Biden will be delayed, according to news agency Reuters.

The summit was originally scheduled for March 28-29, according to an announcement from the U.S. Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn told Reuters the summit’s organizers will try to reschedule.

“It has been postponed to a later date because some ASEAN leaders cannot attend the meeting on the proposed dates,” Sokhonn said.

NagaWorld Unionists Released From Quarantine

Authorities on late Tuesday released NagaWorld workers from a quarantine facility, as the U.S. State Department endorsed the workers’ “courage” during their strike.

The workers were detained Monday outside the NagaWorld 2 facility in Phnom Penh, where police dragged and shoved them into buses. They were released Tuesday night and did not return to protest on Wednesday, said released worker Mam Sovathin.

“We are tired. We just need to take rest to save energy. And we will continue. But we cannot say when we will go back to strike,” she said.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng was to head a high-level meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the NagaWorld labor dispute with senior officials from the police, courts and military police, as well as secretaries of state from various ministries.

Participants could not be reached about as of publication. Sovathin, the worker, said she was hoping for at least a “50 percent” solution from the meeting.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price, meanwhile, released a statement on International Women’s Day calling for the release of the strikers detained and charged for peacefully protesting.

“On International Women’s Day, we recognize the courage of women union leaders in Cambodia who have bravely led their union at the NagaWorld casino and hotel complex in standing up for the rights of their fellow workers,” Price said.

— Keat Soriththeavy

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