Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC)

14 July 1993 - 1 October 2000
Military personnel

France’s colonial empire in Southeast Asia came to an end in 1954. The French colony of Cambodia also gained its independence. In 1970, a right-wing coup d’état shattered the apparent peace in the country. Royalists and communists organised themselves into armed resistance movements.

Ruthless Khmer Rouge

The communist Khmer Rouge constituted the hard core of the resistance. The right‑wing government rapidly lost control of the country and Khmer Rouge forces entered the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in April 1975. The movement carried out a ruthless political and social revolution. In addition, the Khmer Rouge wished to create a modern version of the medieval Khmer Empire at the expense of Cambodia’s neighbours.

Vietnamese support

Vietnam therefore chose the side of the Cambodian resistance. This support ultimately resulted in the occupation of Phnom Penh by Vietnamese troops in 1979. The ousted Khmer Rouge launched a fierce guerrilla war against the new pro-Vietnamese government. Supporters of Prince Sihanouk, known as the White Khmer, also continued their military operations.

Ceasefire after 10 years

10 years passed before the opposing groups and the Vietnamese‑backed Cambodian government were prepared to resolve their differences. The warring parties agreed to a ceasefire in April 1991 and ratified the Paris Peace Accords on 30 October 1991.

Accords and mine clearance

To support the implementation of these accords, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) on 28 February 1992. The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) was established as an umbrella organisation on 10 June 1992. This centre performed all activities associated with mine clearance in Cambodia.