Dear friends Khmer and far!
For news and other updates after January 1, 2010, please go to our Facebook pages where info on all Miss Landmine Cambodia-related activites and news stories will be posted regularily as they happen.
Dear friends Khmer and far! :-)
For reasons of security we have been waiting a while with sharing this information, but we now regard it as safe enough for all parties involved to happily announce that on December 4, Dos Sopheap (19) was crowned Miss Landmine 2009 in a secret ceremony inside Cambodia.
Her half-finished 1st prize titanium leg was fitted and personalized, and will be taken back to Norway for building its exterior before she receives the finished prothesis later this spring. Sopheap says the new prothesis feels like having a new leg again. She also received a cash prize of 1000 USD earmarked her future education as an economist.
On the same trip, director Morten Traavik travelled around Cambodia and managed to meet up with 10 of the Miss Landmine candidates in their home villages. Due to the governmental ban on Miss Landmine and the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia, the candidates were not told about our visit in advance and were naturally both surprised and delighted to see us again and to hear about the global attention their stories and pictures have received since we saw each other the last time. They also received a press pack with selected newspaper clippings from the international coverage, and were shown video footage from the Cambodian final-in-exile in Norway on November 14. All candidates also received a cash prize of 300 USD each for their brave and beautiful contributions to the Miss Landmine project, enabling them to invest in household goods or set up a small business in their home villages.
With this ends this year´s Miss Landmine. We thank you all for your support in the bygone year - every vote mattered! - and wish you a 2010 filled with challenges and rewards.
On behalf of the 20 candidates and the whole team that has made Miss Landmine 2009 possible,
The Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 vote ended on December 3, United Nations
International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
On this day December 3, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities,
the international online vote for Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 has concluded
and the votes been counted. The total number of votes cast by registered email adresses
via this website is 2315 from more than 30 countries in all five continents.
From our 20 brave and beautiful participants from as many Cambodian provinces, emerging as the clear winner is DOS SOPHEAP (18). Sopheap represents Battambang, one of Cambodia's (and the world's) most heavily mined provinces, and studies to become an accountant. She also won the parallell national Cambodian final-in-exile taking place in Norway's Cambodian community on November 14 this year, so it does look like we have a clear winner!
Second place: SONG KOSAL (24) representing Phnom Penh. Kosal is a student and also works for the Jesuit Refugee Center in Phnom Penh. She is also an international ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She is currently attending the big Summit for a Mine-free World conference organised by the ICBL in Cartagena, Colombia.
Third place: THOU CHORN (30) representing Takeo province. Chorn is a double amputee from her landmine accident in 1998. She is unemployed and lives in Kirivong district. Chorn also came second place in the Cambodian exile final organised in Norway on November 14.
The winner will receive the first prize, a custom-made prothesis from Norway's leading orthopaedic centre,worth 15000 USD, as well as 1000 USD cash earmarked her education. First runner-up, Kosal, will receive 500 USD cash, earmarked her education. Second runner-up, Chorn, will receive 500 USD cash, earmarked setting up a small business in her home village. The other participants will receive USD 250 each in cash earmarked their home businesses.
Due to the Cambodian government's unexpected and inexplicable ban on Miss Landmine Cambodia in August this year and the current human rights situation in Cambodia, the prizes will be handed over at a date to be announced later and as soon as the Government guarantees that the participants will suffer no negative consequences for accepting their prizes.
We also strongly urge the Government to recognize no only the Miss Landmine 2009 participants, but all disabled Cambodians' fundamental human rights to express their opinions, identity and beauty as they themselves see fit.
Everybody has the right to be beautiful- 2009 and forever!
On Saturday, Nov 14, the Free Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 final-in-exile was held at the South Norway Museum of Modern Arts in Kristiansand, in a truly beautiful celebration of both our 20 brave candidates and of the vitality and diversity of living Cambodian culture expressing itself freely.
We are proud to anounce that the winner of the national Cambodian final-in-exile, voted by an attending audience of approx 250 Cambodians living in Norway, Norwegian guests and national and international media, is the candidate DOS SOPHEAP (18), representing Battambang, one of Cambodia's most heavily mined provinces. Runners-up were in 2nd place: Miss Takeo: Thou Chorn (30) and 3rd place: Miss Kompong Cham: So Yeu (35).
The parallell international web vote will continue as planned until December 3, UN World Disability Day.
Selected press coverage includes the Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia),as well as global radio station
Voice of America's reports in both English and Khmer languages (Miss Landmine section in Khmer radio broadcast after approx 19 min 10 sec).
Meanwhile, the same Cambodian government that forbids their own disabled citizens to live as they please is demonstrating a near total of interest in shouldering their responsibility to help the country's landmine survivors and disabled citizens in general, according to ICBL/Landmine Monitor's newly released annual report on Cambodia.
Sopheap will receive a custom-made prosthetic leg, worth approx USD 20 000, from Norway's leading manufacturer and 500 US dollars cash earmarked for her education as an economist.The number 2 candidate will receive 300 dollars number 3 will receive 300 USD each as a contribution to developing their home businesses.The remaining candidates will receive 200 USD.
We would naturally have liked to have given them more but the money will all come from the Miss Landmine project's own limited funds,as the government's ban on the project naturally prevents any sponsors from coming on board, as was the original plan.
The prizes will be handed over to the winners if we can find a way of doing so without the risk of further repression by the government. We do not want to compromise the candidates' safety without an explicit guarantee from the government that our representatives will be given safe passage within Cambodia and that our 20 candidates will not be subject to any negative consequences for accepting these prizes.
We also strongly appeal to all Western NGOs in Cambodia, who are effectively financing and running the country's public health sector including demining and victims assistance, to recognise our winning candidates as ambassadors for Cambodian landmine victims andemploy them in the service of advocating the rights of disabled people and landmine survivors in Cambodia and abroad.
On behalf of the Miss Landmine team:
Morten Traavik, director
Venue: South Norway Museum of Modern Arts, Kristiansand, Norway
Date: Saturday November 14, 5-8 p.m.
FREE Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 is the national Cambodian final of Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009, and is organised in collaboration with the Association of Cambodians and the Khmer Buddhist Council in Norway, representing the community of Cambodians living in Norway.
On July 31st this year, the Prime Minister of Cambodia issued a decree banning the Miss Landmine Cambodia project and forbidding its organisers to continue the project in Cambodia. The Government's only stated motivation was that the pageant made a "mockery" of the candidates, 20 Cambodian landmine survivor participants. The ban made both national and international headlines and caused heated debates across the world, but so far the Cambodian government has upheld its ban. It is even refusing the Cambodian candidates to leave their hometowns to meet the project's organiser to take part in a farewell dinner, not to mention going abroad to participate in a final-in-exile.
Not many are aware of the fact that a country as far from Cambodia as Norway has a sizeable Khmer community numbering around 400, almost all concentrated in southern Norway's West Agder province. The community is organised culturally through the Association of Cambodians in Norway, and religiously through the Khmer Buddhist Council in Norway. Besides the voting and crowning of Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009, the Free Miss Landmine event will feature appeals by representatives of the Norwegian Cambodian community, cultural performances and serving of Cambodian food and drink.
The 20 candidates not allowed to leave their hometowns by their government will be represented each by a large photograph, carried down the catwalk by girls from the Norwegian Cambodian community. The audience will be encouraged to vote for their preferred candidate to win the 1st prize - a state-of-the-art customized prothesis. The prize will be handed over to the winner at a date and venue to be announced later.
After the final event, the pictures of the Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 candidates will be exhibited at the South Norway Museum of Modern Arts until December 1.
In addition to the national Cambodian exile crowning on November 14, the ongoing "people's choice" international online vote will continue via the Miss Landmine project website www.miss-landmine.org/cambodia until December 3, UN's World Disability Day. The Free Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 national final-in-exile is a cooperation between the artist Morten Traavik, the Association of Cambodians in Norway, the Khmer Buddhist Council, the South Norway Museum of Modern Art and West Agder Provincial Authority.
19.10.2009 - More than 2200 voters from more than 30 countries have so far cast their votes for Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009. The winner will be announced on December 3, UN World Disability Day.
In the meantime, the touring Miss Landmine exhibition will be shown in
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
28.08.2009 The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) today published a comment opposing Prime Minister Hun Sen's and the Cambodian government's banning of Miss Landmine, stating that it is a clear violation of fundamental human rights. Read the statement in the Phnom Penh Post or as a downloadable PDF document.
WORLD PREMIERE AT NORWEGIAN ARMED FORCES MUSEUM, OSLO SEPT 1/09
We are happy and proud to announce that the Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 exhibition,
presenting our 20 lovely candidates and their background stories through photography and our Landmine Survivors's Fashion magazine (2nd edition) will open at the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum at Akershus Castle, Oslo, Norway on Tuesday September 1, 4 p m.
This will in effect be the world premiere of our exhibition launch.
Especially under the current circumstances, with the project Miss Landmine being banned and forced underground in Cambodia, it is more important than ever that society's prominent institutions like the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum rise to the occasion, demonstrating both its commitment to freedom of expression and its willingness to engage in the ever-evolving ethical discussions that is such an essential part of the Miss Landmine project.
The exhibition will be up at the NAFM until October 1 /09.
Velkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
PRESS RELEASE - Oslo, Norway August 18, 2009
On behalf of the Miss Landmine project, of our international and Cambodian staff, and not least of the 20 Cambodian landmine survivors participating as candidates in Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009, I would like to express our sincere disappointment at the Cambodian government's sudden decision to ban the project from continuing on Cambodian territory as of 02.08.2009.
As can be well documented, the relevant organs of the Cambodian government have been supporting the Miss Landmine project both officially and informally through two years of preparations, suddenly reversing their position with only one week to go before the scheduled exhibition opening at the Meta House Gallery on August 7, 2009, effectively prohibiting the opening and stating that "any possible step" would be taken to prevent the project from going ahead.A selection of international press coverage of the latest events can be had at http://miss-landmine.org/cambodia/index.php/english.html
While we are certainly aware that some people will take issue over the project's choice of means to raise awareness about global landmine contamination and the position and identity of landmine survivors, we have always welcomed open discussion and debate about the many ethical questions and dilemmas the Miss Landmine project inevitably raises. We trust that even those who disagree with Miss Landmine's chosen aesthetics and/or messages, can nevertheless agree that it is a fundamental human right to be able to express those messages freely.
By refusing the project to take place in Cambodia, and furthermore the participants from meeting each other again, its government is clearly and blatantly overruling several basic freedoms as stated in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A comment by director Morten Traavik in the Cambodian English-language daily Phnom Penh Post Monday 17.08.2009 expands on the issue.
At the moment, we have ceased operations on Cambodian territory, but we have after careful consideration decided to go ahead with the international web vote as planned, via our website www.miss-landmine.org/cambodia, the winner being announced on December 3, World Disability Day. We are still considering different alternatives as to how to deliver the first-prize prothesis to the winner and any other candidates at that time. Most importantly, the project will continue in preliminary exile outside of Cambodia until we have hopefully found a path to renewed understanding with the Cambodian government so that this most regrettable situation can be resolved.
Everybody has the right to be beautiful!
Morten Traavik director, Miss Landmine
Due to the political situation in Cambodia and the Cambodian government´s newly announced prohibition of the Miss Landmine Cambodia contest, all further activities on Cambodian territory are cancelled as of today August 02.
The international web vote however continues as planned on this site until World Disability Day December 3, 2009.
Further updates will be added shortly. See also PRESS section for news and updates.
The Miss Landmine 2009 Landmine Survivor´s Fashion Magazine can be downloaded for free below.