Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Cambodian landmine beauty pageant cancelled 柬埔寨地雷小姐選美比賽喊卡

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A beauty pageant in which landmine victims were to compete to win a prosthetic limb has been cancelled after the Cambodian government said it was in bad taste, organizers said.

In the “Miss Landmine Cambodia” contest, competitors from around the country were due to appear in a photo exhibition opening in Phnom Penh, followed by an Internet voting campaign to select the best candidate.

“I’m not looking forward to breaking the news to the 20 candidates involved, as I know they will be very disappointed in the lack of support from Cambodian authorities,” Norwegian pageant director Morten Traavik told AFP.

The exhibition went down like a lead balloon with Cambodia’s Ministry of Social Affairs, which demanded the cancellation of the contest to protect “the honor and dignity of people with disabilities”.

However the contest, intended to raise awareness about landmines and empower the disabled, will continue with Internet voting at miss-landmine.org, Traavik said.

“The event as planned is cancelled...But the project moves squarely to Web site voting,” he said.

“I think it is regrettable that we were not able to show this project freely in Cambodia,” he added.

The first “Miss Landmine” contest was held in Angola last year, drawing protests from rights activists who viewed it as exploitative and racist.

Cambodia remains one of the world’s most heavily mined countries, along with Afghanistan and Angola.

Hundreds of people are killed or maimed every year by the millions of landmines and other unexploded ordnance still littering the countryside after decades of conflict. (AFP)

地雷小姐選美比賽主辦單位表示,這場由地雷受害者參與角逐、冠軍獎品是免費義肢的比賽,因柬埔寨政府認為會帶給社會大眾不良觀感而宣布取消。

在這場名為「柬埔寨地雷小姐」的比賽中,來自全國各地的佳麗的倩影將在金邊的一場攝影展開幕式中亮相,接著由網友上網票選出他們心目中最美麗的佳麗。

來自挪威的選美負責人摩頓.特拉維克對法新社表示:「我不打算把這個消息告訴入圍的二十位佳麗,我知道少了柬埔寨官方的支持,她們會感到非常失望。」

柬埔寨社會事務部完全不認同這項活動,並要求主辦單位取消比賽,以捍衛「傷殘人士的名譽及尊嚴」。

特拉維克說,這場比賽的原意是要喚醒大眾對地雷的重視,並讓傷殘人士更有自信,比賽將繼續在網路上進行票選(網址:miss-landmine.org)。

他說:「原本預計舉行的選美活動取消了…但我們將直接進行網路票選。」

他還說:「無法在柬埔寨自由地進行這項計畫,我覺得非常惋惜。」

第一屆「地雷小姐」比賽去年在安哥拉舉行,當時也受到人權團體的抗議,他們認為該比賽剝削人權又有種族歧視。

柬埔寨仍是全世界佈雷最多的國家之一,另外還有阿富汗和安哥拉。

柬埔寨的內戰已結束數十年,但鄉間仍遍佈上百萬顆地雷和其他未爆彈,每年都有數以百計的民眾因此喪生或傷殘。 (法新社╱翻譯:袁星塵)

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