The Cambodian government has intervened to prevent a “Miss Landmine” beauty pageant from being held in the country later this week, calling it an insult to the disabled. The Ministry of Social Affairs sent a letter to the organisers of the pageant on Friday informing them of the ban and saying the contest would damage “the dignity and honour of the disabled”. The contest was scheduled for this Friday, with the Ministry of Social Affairs as one of its partners.
Organizer Morten Traavik, a Norwegian theatre and film director, said he was “disappointed” by the decision but said the contest would continue over the internet, with the winner being announced on the 31st of December. According to Traavik the event aims at empowering victims of landmines and helping them to recover from trauma. Twenty Cambodian women, between 18 and 48, are taking part in the contest. Photos of the contestants can be seen at miss-landmine.org
In 2006 a Miss Cambodia contest was cancelled by the country’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, who said he would not allow the event to go ahead until poverty had been more than halved.
Traavik set up the first Miss Landmine contest in Angola last year, which received funding from various organisations, including the EU.