Norwegians Support “Ban Bus”

An international effort against cluster bombs has made its way to Cambodia, with donors and aid groups travelling through the eastern part of the country this week collecting signatures from villagers in support of a global ban on the deadly munitions.
    The “Ban Bus”, an effort organised by various groups, including the Cambodian Red Cross, Norwegian People’s Aid, Religions for Peace and the UN Development Program, toured Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces Monday and Tuesday before returning to the capital where today it will try to raise awareness of cluster munitions, millions of which are still littered across large swathes of Cambodia.
    During their trip through the provinces, organisers said they collected some 400 signatures, in addition to the 16,000 already given so far in Cambodia, and recorded the personal histories of cluster bomb victims.
    The signatures will be part of a petition presented this December in Norway at the signing of an international ban on cluster bombs in Norway.
“A huge part of the [Ban Bus] is to raise awareness for international donors and to show that this is still affecting Cambodia. We’ll be able to say, ‘Look, thousands of Cambodians have signed this treaty’ and to share the stories of the victims with the donors,” said Alex Hiniker, a communications and advocacy officer at UNDP.
    Between 1969 and 1973, the US dropped about 80,000 cluster bombs on Cambodia during its secret bombing campaigns,  scattering more
than 26 million submunitions, according to Handicap International.

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