Following a request from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Miss Landmine, a competition for female landmine survivors, will stop all activities in Cambodia, though the contest will continue online, the competition’s creator said Monday after meeting with ministry officials.
“The government opposes keeping the website and project online, but I am complying with their request to not continue in Cambodia,” said Morten Traavik, creator and director of Miss Landmine Cambodia. “This project has a right to continue as an international [landmine] awareness campaign.”
A now-cancelled exhibit in Phnom Penh, displaying images of contestants, was to begin Friday, and a live competition was scheduled for December.
Mr Traavik, 38, said that the competition’s website will still have the contestant’s photos and descriptions and allow participants worldwide to vote for the winner of Miss Landmine Cambodia, which will be announced on Dec 3, World Disability Day. “The website and pictures are not the property of Cambodia,” he said.
Mr Traavik said he had thought he had full support of the Social Affairs and Women’s Affairs ministries for Miss Landmine Cambodia until he received a letter Sunday from the Social Affairs Ministry stating that they disapproved of the project and requested it to end immediately. The ministry had sent the letter out to the public Friday.
During Monday’s meeting, Mr Traavik said officials told him that the project’s request for permission was never forwarded to the right people within the ministry and that they are concerned about the dignity of the women taking part.
Samheng Boros, Ministry of Social Affairs cabinet chief, said by telephone Monday evening: “We will continue the ministry’s stance,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Mr Traavik said, “I’m tremendously disappointed because most of all I do believe this project is awareness raising, and it would have been a chance to profile Cambodia as a country to not shy away from presentations of the disabled.”