The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) is a centre of excellence under the ASEAN Security Cooperation to encourage the efforts to address landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) for interested ASEAN Member States (AMS). Inaugurated on 25 May 2016, the centre aims to collectively tackle the humanitarian aspects of landmines and ERW through an integrated approach of experiences sharing, skills training and other capacity building activities.
Non-Aligned Movement has encouraged the continued work of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) which serves as a Regional Centre of Excellence in addressing the humanitarian aspects of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) for interested ASEAN Member States, and facilitating cooperation with other countries as well as relevant institutions.
In accordance with the ASEAN Leaders’ recognition on the presence of landmines and other ERW as a threat to people’s safety, a constraint to socio-economic development, and a humanitarian problem in the ASEAN region, ARMAC was formed to facilitate cooperation within and between AMS and relevant institutions to: 1) Enhance awareness programs on the dangers of ERW among affected communities; 2) Facilitate appropriate medical and rehabilitation assistance for victims of ERW, upon request from the affected ASEAN Member States; and 3) Assist interested ASEAN Member States (AMS) in research and knowledge sharing on the effects of ERW and efforts to address them, including through writing proposals for technical assistance projects and funding, at their specific and individual request.
Over the year, the ARMAC has cooperated with various stakeholders which include national governments, embassies, international mine/ERW action organisations, research institutes and other partners. NAM has welcomed the successful outcomes of the 6th meeting of the Steering Committee of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) on 29 May 2018 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the signing of the agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and ARMAC on hosting and granting privileges and immunities to the ARMAC on 27 February 2018 which entered into force on 28 March 2018. In line with this, ARMAC organised the Commemoration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in April 2019.
Following a programme feasibility study conducted in Cambodia in 2018 which sought to assess the needs and resources for mine/ERW victims, ARMAC formulated a comprehensive programme on victim assistance, titled Enhance Victim Assistance Programmes in the ASEAN Member States. This three- year programme aims to strengthen the assistance provided to victims through the achievement of five principle objectives: 1. To promote the establishment of a victim assistance network as a regional platform for various stakeholders within ASEAN; 2. To assist the AMS on victim assistance related knowledge sharing, needs and resources assessments and its mobilisation;3. To assess the needs of the victims of mines/ERW in the affected AMS for further assistance;4. To assist the AMS in providing psychosocial support to the victims of mines/ERW; and 5) To conduct research.
Work Plan 2019 – 2021 is an important guiding document of ARMAC. The Work Plan 2019- 2021 is designed to ensure that by the end of 2021, ARMAC will have built a credible reputation and put in place significant and sustainable projects/programmes to fulfil its mandate and functions.
ARMAC believes that Clearance of deadly landmines and other remnants of wars is extremely important for people who live in contaminated regions of the AMS. The harsh reality is that it will take considerable time and work to defuse all the residual explosive devices.
Meanwhile, alongside the painstaking clearance process, it is vital to protect and educate people, especially curious children, of the dangers of going into hazardous areas or triggering deadly old weapons.
Photo Credit : @ASEANMineAction/