After our visit to Banteay Srei, and at the suggestion of my friend Cameron in Seattle, we visited the Cambodian Land Mine Museum, the seat of several NGOs dedicated to demining Cambodia, which still has thousands of land mines and unexploded artillery in the countryside. The explosives effect rural lives every day, with Cambodia having the greatest number of amputees in the world — attributable to these devices that have lingered underground from violence related to the Khmer Rouge, and the US carpet-bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
The museum is run by Aki Ra, and incredible and altruistic individual. He has personally found and dismantled more than 50,000 landmines and continues to do so today. To read more about Aki Ra and his initiatives, go here and here. You can watch a documentary about him here.
The museum is also a school and foster home for children who have been victimized or orphaned by land mines, and in more recent years has taken on children with HIV, drug problems, or that simply need an opportunity for an education. There are about 30 children that live here and are supported by the proceeds from the museum.
The US has still not signed the international accord to destroy stockpiles of landmines and to stop producing landmines. The US disagrees with the accord because it does not have a clause that allows landmines along the DMZ, claiming that landmines are a critical part of keeping North Korea from invading South Korea.