Landmines in Myanmar


In February 2020, the Myanmar government began national-level discussions on the much-delayed landmine-clearing programme.


Read the article below and answer the seven questions using NO MORE than TWO WORDS from the reading



  1. What has caused the recent use of landmines?

  2. What type of education programmes are needed for children?

  3. What are carried out to identify the location of landmines?

  4. Why is it difficult to undertake marking and fencing in mine affected areas?

  5. Who have been requesting that the miliary and EAGs stop using landmines?

  6. What may be set up in each state and region?

  7. Who will recieve compensation and prosthetic limbs from the government?

 

Nine out of Myanmar’s 14 States are contaminated with landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) including newly-laid landmines due to the ongoing conflict in Kachin and Shan States.


There is an urgent need to improve mine risk education programmes as three out of four children interviewed in a recent survey had never received any information on mines and even fewer adults have received any form of land mine awareness education.


While the ceasefire signed in October 2015 did include a dedicated article on demining, the ceasefire has not been signed by all Armed Ethnic Groups (EAGs) and no agreement has been reached yet to start surveying operations to identify the location of existing landmines. However, there are a few organizations conducting landmine surveys in Kayah state.


Mine Action agencies in Myanmar continue to advocate with the different parties for the use of “marking and fencing” in affected areas. However, limited access to mine affected areas, especially in non-governmental controlled regions makes this challenging.


U Tun Zaw, deputy director general of the Department of Disaster Management, said the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Tatmadaw (military) attended the talks in February.

While thousands of Myanmar people have been killed and maimed by landmines that litter the conflict-torn countryside, both the military and EAGs remain reluctant to give up the use of landmines despite appeals by international organizations.


“We can’t only do rescue work. If landmines remain, victims will remain,” U Tun Zaw said. “It is better if there are no more landmines. We plan to form a national body for landmine clearing.”

He said the recent discussions focused on the establishment of a National Mine Action Authority, and a mine action centre will be established under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. There was also talk about the Ministry of Defence establishing state and regional level mine-clearing groups. Furthermore, The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement vowed to provide K200,000 (US$137) and prosthetic limbs for each victim of landmine explosions.


U Tun Zaw said the government is aware that it is difficult for internally displaced people (IDPs) to return to their homes as they face dangers from unmarked landmines. According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, nearly 1600 people were wounded by landmines in Myanmar from 2011 to 2018. Ninety townships have landmine dangers or one-third of the country, the report added.


U Tun Zaw said that landmine clearance might take 20 years to complete and that the hope is that the Tatmadaw and EAGs would stop using them.


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