The director of
Jesuit Service Cambodia, Sr Denise Coghlan, has been made a Member of
the Order of Australia
in Monday's Queen's Birthday Honours List, for her service to international
A Sister of Mercy from
Coghlan has spent more than a
decade working with Cambodians, both in refugee camps and inside the country
The director of JRS Australia, David Holdcroft SJ, has welcomed the award.
'I was very happy to hear
Denise's name in the honours list in what I call the extra-well deserved
category', he says. 'I think Denise's work has always had a breadth where she's
linking both direct work with refugees and also some of the causes of
displacement like cluster munitions and landmines that she'd campaigned so
‘Her work has
been so effective within the country and she's much-loved.'
A longtime campaigner against landmines and cluster munitions, Sr Coghlan recently
took part in the Dublin
conference aimed at banning the manufacture of cluster bombs.
'This is a totally immoral form of behaviour to me', she said in an interview at the time with
the National Catholic Reporter.
The Thai Cambodian border, she said, 'was very, very heavily infested with
landmines. [But] cluster bombs were dropped much earlier-26 million cluster
bombs were dropped on Cambodia
in the 1970s during the Ho Chi Minh Trail.'
These unexploded ordinances continue to destroy lives in Cambodia and neighbouring Laos.
Anecdotal evidence shows that cluster bombs stay active for at least 38 years,
'and probably longer in some places', said Sr Coghlan. 'Millions and millions
of bomblets are left [in Laos].'