In connection with International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April, Norway’s Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Lochen participated in a conference on post-remediation landmines after the war in Vietnam together with Quang Tri Province Program Manager, All-Female Mine Clearance Team Manager Nguyen Dieu Linh and Norwegian People’s Aid representatives.
In an interview with local media The Gion and Vietnam, the Ambassador shares her admiration for Vietnam’s first all-female demining team, as well as Norway’s priorities in the support of post-war mine action, the Ambassador said that she finds that every member of Mine Clearance in Quang Tri province understands the importance of the work they are doing.
The Ambassador first visited Quang Tri in 2019. “Quang Tri was formerly the demilitarized zone that divided North and South Vietnam during the war and experienced the heaviest bombings in world history. There, I met Vietnam’s first all-female demining team,” the Ambassador says.
Clearing landmines, clearing land to give back to local communities for agriculture, infrastructure development, and tourism, and paving the way for economic and social development is extremely important. for eradicating hunger, reducing poverty, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the Ambassador notes and adds:
“I greatly admire these women for their strength and determination, above all, for their courage to overcome the barriers of gender stereotypes. In fact, they have been doing their job very well, sometimes even better than their male counterparts. They are not the ones to give up.”
In the interview, Ambassador Grete Lochen also highlights that Norway has been supporting mine action for 25 years, and the country currently funds mine action in 20 countries and regions. Norway is one of the five largest donors to demining efforts, along with the US, Germany, the EU, and Japan.
“Norway’s priority is to encourage countries to join the Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Munitions as well as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines. As we all know, civilians, especially vulnerable groups like women and children, are often the primary victims of these weapons, even years after the conflict ends,” the Ambassador says.
Read the full interview here