Friday, October 3, 2008

MAG welcomes trial

A statement from the Mines Advisory Group website earlier today:

MAG welcomes the decision to bring to justice those accused of murdering MAG employees Chistopher Howes and Houn Houth in Cambodia in 1996. Our two colleagues were abducted and brutally murdered whilst working near Siem Reap and until now the perpetrators of these senseless killings have yet to be brought before a court of law. MAG has strongly condemned the brutal murders of Chris and Houth and supports all efforts to protect humanitarian workers as they carry out life-saving work across the world. MAG has continued to support the victims’ families in their 12 year pursuit for justice and welcomes this trial as a long-awaited culmination of their dedicated efforts. The verdict and possible sentencing is expected in the morning of 14 October 2008.

On the 26 March 1996, technical advisor Christopher, his interpreter Houth and a team of MAG deminers were abducted by Khmer Rouge (KR) soldiers whilst working in an area near Siem Reap. The terrible fate of the two men remained unconfirmed until the capitulation of the Khmer Rouge in 1998. Sadly for the families, the bodies of our colleagues were never recovered. Christopher Howes had been working with the Mines Advisory Group in Cambodia since 1995 and was dedicated to assisting the people of Cambodia, one of the most heavily mined and unexploded ordnance contaminated countries in the world. The street in front of Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh was renamed "Christopher Howes Boulevard" by King Norodom Sihanouk in memory of Chris’ bravery and commitment to humanitarian work in the country.

Twelve years on from this tragedy, MAG continues to carry out life-saving work in Cambodia. Working across the six provinces of Battambang, Krong Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham, MAG teams help the most vulnerable households in mine-affected communities who require extension of agricultural land, schools, health clinics and temple construction, road access and clean water sources. Website: MAG

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