Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the host country, Indonesia, and sponsoring countries of Australia, Austria, Germany and Norway, and the international organizations for organizing such an important conference in Asia as the most cluster munition affected region in the world.
It’s an honor for me to speak on behalf of the thousands of cluster bomb survivors in this important conference. My name is Pham Quy Thi and I am a cluster bomb survivor from Vietnam. In 1977 while I was working in my rice field, I accidentally hit a cluster bomb and lost my right arm. Suddenly I became an amputee, I was too depressed to live but thanks to support from the community and my family, I survived the tragedy and continue working to support my children. But still to this day, a number of metal fragments are still lodged in my body.
More than three decades after the war ended in Vietnam, explosive remnants, including unexploded cluster bombs still pose a deadly threat to the lives and livelihoods of Vietnamese people. Actually, more than 100,000 people have been killed or injured because of explosive remnants of war. Like a lot of my fellow people, I am expecting Vietnam to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions soon to secure much needed international assistance for cluster munition victims.
I have a dream of a peaceful world in which cluster munitions are banned by all countries forever for the sake of our children who will have a safe environment to study and prosper. Therefore, I call on more countries to jointly participate in this global effort to make it happen by signing, ratifying and putting the convention into practice and implement the Convention very soon.
I desperately call on the international community to take action in providing support to the affected countries including Vietnam which is struggling to overcome the consequences of war. This is a great chance to speed up clearing contaminated land for our farmers to continue working without fear, for our children to have a brighter future as well as to bring new hope and opportunities to the survivors of cluster munitions.
I wish you a successful conference.
Thank you very much.
Pham Quy Thi