Mine ban policy overview
Mine Ban Treaty status
State not party
Pro-mine ban UNGA voting record
Abstained on Resolution 67/32 in December 2012, as in previous years.
Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings
Attended the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in December 2012 and the intersessional meetings in May 2013, both in Geneva.
Increased interest in Mine Ban Treaty expressed by the government, but ongoing use by government forces and non-state armed groups (NSAGs), albeit at lower levels than years past. Government accepts to receive a delegation from the ICBL for the first time.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. It has recently made conflicting statements regarding its efforts to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty.
In July 2012, Minister of Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin stated that Myanmar was considering accession to the Mine Ban Treaty as part of its state reforms. It was also reported that the Minister said his government is no longer using landmines and is pursuing a peace pact with NSAGs, which would include banning the weapon.
However, in November 2012, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein stated at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, “Myanmar has not signed Ottawa Convention yet. But, Myanmar always opposes the excessive use of land mines. Meanwhile, I believe that for defence purpose, we need to use landmines in order to safeguard the life and property of people and self-defence.” In December 2012, a representative of Myanmar stated to States Parties that Myanmar is “reviewing its domestic laws that are not in line with international norms and practices. We are also reviewing our current status in connection with the Convention on the Prohibition of [the Use,] Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.”
Myanmar attended the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in December 2012. Myanmar previously attended meetings of States Parties in 2003, 2006, and 2011. Myanmar sent a representative to the intersessional meetings in May 2013, its first attendance at the intersessional meetings of the convention.
Myanmar was one of 19 countries that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 67/32 on 3 December 2012, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. It has abstained on similar annual resolutions since 1997.
In March 2013, an editorial in the government-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar called for a ban on mine use. “From now on, a comprehensive plan should be laid down to end the use of landmines and to start the removal of landmines and rehabilitation of mine survivors in the affected areas. So an agreement is required for all active users to cease the use of mines in unison.”
Also in March 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar again urged Myanmar to develop a comprehensive plan to end the use of landmines, establish accurate data on their location and use, ensure their systematic removal, and rehabilitate victims. He noted that he continues to receive allegations of landmine use in Kachin State. In April 2013, the UNHCR noted that more than 450,000 refugees and internally displaced people can't return home because of landmines in northern and southeastern states, and stated, “There will be no active promotion of return until land mines areas are identified, openly marked and cleared.”
In May 2013, the UN Secretary-General released his third report on children and armed conflict in Myanmar, which documented child casualties from landmines, children involved in laying mines, and a school mined during the past three years. In one case, a 15 year old boy was captured and found guilty of “destroying public property by laying landmines,” allegedly for the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The report states that the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) laid mines in a school in a village in Myitkyina Township in order to prevent its use as a military base by the KIA. 
In February 2013, the chair of the National Democratic Force (NDF), a political party with seats in parliament, informed the Monitor that the NDF had requested that the landmine issue be put on the agenda for discussion in parliament the previous year, but as of mid-2013, the item remained in the parliamentary secretariat and had not been placed on the agenda. NDF members speculated that the issue may be being kept off the parliamentary agenda.
In May 2013, Member of Parliament and Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking to a disability organization in Myanmar, said: “Landmines are the hardcore of the peace and reconciliation process in our country. People with disabilities are constantly increasing in number due to the existence of landmines. To describe disability, or impairment, Myanmar has both people with physical or mental unfitness. It is reasonable to ask if the people who have planted landmines are disabled in their characters, or if it is us, who couldn’t help landmines disappear from the land, who are disabled. Therefore, I truly desire the recovery of the people who are injured, by any means: those who are physically or mentally struggling in life.” In January 2013, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited what is believed to be one of the most heavily mine-impacted communities in the country, Mone in Kyaukkyi Township, to learn about the situation for mine victims.
In May 2013, a high level delegation from the ICBL was accepted into the country for the first time. It met with President’s Minister U Aung Min, with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with the Myanmar Peace Centre. The delegation urged Myanmar to consider an immediate moratorium on new mine use and production and the commencement of mine action activities in areas of government control. It was clear to the delegation that the government of Myanmar was keenly aware of the need for mine clearance, but the delegation was informed by U Aung Min that clearance was unlikely to proceed until the peace process had reached an irreversible stage.
In November 2012, the Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar campaign, for the first time, held a press conference in Yangon to disseminate the Landmine Monitor 2012 country report in Myanmar. Over 60 members of the national press and broadcast media attended the event. In the past, press censorship laws, abolished in August 2012, prohibited independent reporting on the mine issue in the country. Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar also distributed 2,500 copies of the Burmese-language translation of the Myanmar country report for 2012. The Monitor cooperated with the UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) in Yangon to produce an updated map of townships that have mine victims and that are identified to have mine contamination. In February 2013, the Monitor provided information for parliamentary action on the landmine ban at a meeting in Naypyitaw for parliamentarians from the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party, the Karen ethnic Plong Sawae Democratic Party, and the National League for Democracy. The meeting was organized by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since the publication of its first report in 1999, the Monitor has documented the extensive use of antipersonnel mines by government forces and by NSAGs in many areas of Burma/Myanmar through 2013. Landmine Monitor 2012 could not verify a specific instance of new use of antipersonnel mines by government forces and observed a lowered level of new use by NSAGs. During this reporting period (from mid-2012 to mid-2013), information available to the Monitor indicates a continued lower level of new mine use by rebel forces and a return to small amounts of new use by government forces. There were a few credible allegations of mine use by the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces) in Kachin and Rakhine States. There was also continued use of mines into mid-2013 by government-controlled Border Guard Forces (BGF), which consist of former opposition combatants. There were also credible reports of mine use by Nasaka, the Burmese Border Forces (BBF). Reports of mine use by opposition NSAGs have diminished in the reporting period, with the only incidents of new use emerging from Kachin and Karen states. There were no further reports of use of, or fabrication of, improvised mines by civilians (see previous reports).
There were credible allegations (from several sources requiring anonymity) of use of antipersonnel mines by the Tatmadaw in 2012 and 2013 in Kachin State, where Tatmadaw units were said to be laying mines in their armed conflict with the Kachin Independence Army KIA. The Free Burma Rangers, working in KIA areas, also alleged new use of antipersonnel mines by the Tatmadaw, in November 2012 in Pa Yeh village, which resulted in the injury of a KIA medic. In 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that the KIA encountered mines laid by the Tatmadaw in Momauk Township in October 2011.
There were also allegations of mine use by other state forces in Rakhine State in early 2013. In February 2013, cross-border traders informed the Monitor that Nasaka, the Burmese Border Forces (BBF), officers had warned them that an operation to lay landmines along the land border between Myanmar and Bangladesh would begin soon. A trader from Kha Maung Seik stated to the Monitor, “I cannot return to my village directly from here because the paths we have been using are now mined. When I arrived still there was no mine; army planted landmines within last two day and Nasaka officer, who gives me permission, told me this over phone; so that I don’t return by using same path.” On 12 February 2013, residents of Naikongchari, in Bangladesh, stated to the Monitor that a Bangladeshi national saw an object which he alleged looked like landmine near a border pillar, specifically pillar 51. He immediately informed the local Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) outpost. Some BGB personnel went to pillar 51 and removed the object and reportedly sent it to their battalion office at Naikongchari. Another news report noted that mines had been planted in the areas near border pillars 37 to 40. Later in February, the BGB issued a warning to locals to avoid the border area and increased their surveillance to prevent people from getting near the border.
Border Guard Forces (BGF) are militias under the control of the regional Tatmadaw commander but comprised of various former insurgent organizations. BGF maintain the force structures and areas of operation they had previously as an armed group. It is not clear how often, or to what extent, BGF units are operating under Tatmadaw instructions or are acting independently. BGF have used antipersonnel mines sporadically since that time, but no specifically-attributed instance of use could be identified since mid-2012. However, a member of a BGF unit in Kachin State, which was fighting the KIA alongside government forces, stated to the Monitor that, if necessary, they could engage in mine warfare.
Use by non-state armed groups
No armed group has renounced antipersonnel mine use so far in the peace dialogues, which have taken place since late 2011. In the past, a few armed groups and former armed groups unilaterally renounced the use of antipersonnel mines by signing the Deed of Commitment administered by the Swiss NGO Geneva Call.
The government announced its intention to seek peace agreements with armed groups during 2011. Since that time, multiple meetings with almost every ethnic armed group in the country have been held. The need for mine clearance has been mentioned in some of these meetings. In July 2012, the Foreign Minister said that the government is pursuing peace agreements with all ethnic armed groups, which he stated would include banning mine use. However, a halt on new mine use has not been formally adopted by any side as part of a ceasefire, as of 1 August 2013. An official in the Myanmar Peace Center, the government body responsible for negotiations with all groups, stated that some armed groups believed land mines provided them with protection from government forces. He said as long as both parties lack confidence in each other, mine clearance would be difficult to carry out.
Mine warfare by the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) and the use of mines in conflicts between different NSAGs in Karen State has continued in the reporting period, according to testimony collected by local groups and media reports. In March 2013, two Tatamadaw soldiers were killed and four injured when one reportedly stepped on a landmine while patrolling a pipeline in Namtu Township in northern Shan State. It is not known which group laid the mine. In February 2013, four Tatmadaw soldiers were injured, reportedly by a mine laid by the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North in Tangyan Township in northern Shan state. In January 2013, a villager reportedly stepped on a landmine in Kaukriek Township which was allegedly laid by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). In Mone Township, villagers stated that some incidents in their area were from newly laid mines, but they were unsure who was responsible. In November 2012, a villager in Mone Township stated that the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) was still using landmines, and they had to be careful whenever they walked near their bases.
In May 2012, state media reported that the army had recovered mines from a captured KIA outpost. The KIA had previously issued a public warning that it was laying mine defenses at the start of the conflict.
Some incidents of landmine injuries since July 2012 were attributed to mines laid by BGF and KNLA, but the precise time period when the mines were laid could not be determined from available reports.
In October 2012, KNLA forces informed villagers in Thandaung Township that they could not remember precisely where landmines were laid, but stated that the KNLA had issued a verbal warning to villagers not to enter areas, and stated if they entered an area after being warned and were injured, it was the villagers’ problem.
One antivehicle mine incident reportedly caused five civilian deaths in Papun Township in February 2013. Another report said the KNLA stated that it was unable to remove an antivehicle mine it laid in Kyauk Kyi Township due to an antihandling device, so it marked the location of the mine.
Production, stockpiling, and transfer
Myanmar Defense Products Industries (Ka Pa Sa), a state enterprise at Ngyaung Chay Dauk in western Pegu (Bago) division, has produced fragmentation and blast antipersonnel mines, including ones with low metal content. Authorities in Myanmar have not provided any information on the types of mines it produces or the quantities of stockpiled antipersonnel mines it possesses. The Monitor has previously reported that, in addition to domestic production, Myanmar has obtained and used antipersonnel mines of Chinese, Indian, Italian, Soviet, and United States (US) manufacture, as well as some mines whose origin has not been identified. Myanmar is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines.
Non-state armed group production, transfer, and stockpiling
The KIO, KNLA, DKBA, Karenni Army, and the United Wa State Army have produced blast and fragmentation mines. Some also make Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines, mines with antihandling fuzes, and explosive booby-traps. All units of the KNLA are reportedly able to manufacture and deploy bounding mines after training by a foreign technician. Armed groups in Myanmar have also acquired mines by removing mines laid by others, seizing Tatmadaw stocks, and obtaining mines from the clandestine arms market. Although some former combatants have non-hostility pacts with the ruling authorities, they have not disarmed and some still possess antipersonnel mines. In October 2011, the authorities announced that they had recovered landmines, among other weapons, in operations against the KIA.
1 Formerly called the Union of Myanmar. The military junta ruling the country changed the name from Burma to Myanmar. Many ethnic groups in the country, and a number of states, still refer to the country as Burma. Internal state and division names are given in their common form, or with the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) designation in parentheses, for example, Karenni (Kayah) state. Since 2009, the Monitor has used township names according to the UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU). See, www.themimu.info.
 U Wunna Maung Lwin made these statements to the President of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Prak Sokhonn of Cambodia, on the margins of the Association of South-East Asian States (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh in July 2012. “Myanmar seriously considering landmine treaty as part of its state reforms,” Press Release, Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, 12 July 2012, www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/pdf/mbc/press-releases/PressRelease-Myanmar-12July-En.pdf.
 The speech of the President was republished in the government newspaper. “Establishment of ASEAN Community is not ultimate goal of ASEAN but a milestone towards stable, peaceful and prosperous region,” New Light of Myanmar, 19 November 2012, www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/NLM2012-11-19.pdf.
 Statement of Myanmar, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 6 December 2012, www.apminebanconvention.org/meetings-of-the-states-parties/12msp/what-happened-at-the-12msp/day-4-thursday-6-december/.
 “Safety of innocent civilians,” Editorial, New Light of Myanmar, 10 March 2013, p. 8.
 OHCHR, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Advanced Unedited Version, Paragraph 37, 6 March 2013, A/HRC/22/58, www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/A-HRC-22-58.pdf.
 UNHCR protection office, Maja Lazic quoted in UPI, “Myanmar polluted with land mines,” UPI (Geneva), 3 April 2013, www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2013/04/03/Myanmar-polluted-with-land-mines/UPI-60071364996910/.
 “Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar,” S/2013/258 (paragraphs 21, 31, and 37), 1 May 2013, www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2013/258.
 Monitor meeting with Dr. Than Nyein, Chairman, NDF, and other central committee members of the NDF, Yangon, 13 February 2013. The NDF obtained some seats in Myanmar’s new parliament, elected in October 2010, and told the Monitor in March 2011 that a ban on landmines was their party policy.
 Thet Htoo, “Aung San Suu Kyi meets land mine victims in Kyaukkyi, Myanmar,” Photo essay, Demotix, 20 January 2013, www.demotix.com/news/1740271/aung-san-suu-kyi-meets-land-mine-victims-kyaukkyi-myanmar - media-1740107.
 ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Myanmar/Burma: Mine Ban Policy,” www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/2870, 17 December 2012.
 ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Myanmar/Burma: Mine Ban Policy,” www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/1195, 30 October 2011.
 Monitor interview with humanitarian organization working with conflict-displaced communities in Kachin State, Yangon, 14 November 2012. Informant requested anonymity.
 Free Burma Rangers (FBR), “FBR Report: Burma Army Opens New Offensive in Pang Wa and Laiza Areas, Using Helicopters and Landmines in Attacks in Kachin State,” Free Burma Rangers, 26 December 2012, www.freeburmarangers.org/2013/01/07/burma-army-opens-new-offensive-in-pang-wa-and-laiza-areas-using-helicopters-and-landmines-in-attacks-in-kachin-state/.
 Kha Maung Seik is in north Maungdaw, under Nasaka Sector 2.
 Above information was provided to the Monitor by Bangladeshi nationals living near the border with Myanmar or who regularly cross it for business purposes. All requested anonymity, Naikongchari, February 2013.
 Deepak Acharjee, “Myanmar army undermines border norms,” The Independent (Bangladesh), 12 June 2013, www.theindependentbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173474:myanmar-army-undermines-border-norms&catid=129:frontpage&Itemid=121.
 Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution requires that the many armed groups within the country’s ethnic areas be placed under national military command. To fulfill this obligation, the former State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) regime demanded in April 2010 that all of the armed groups which had non-hostility pacts with the Tatmadaw be transformed into BGF or Home Guard Forces in areas where there was no border. The process of transformation required initial disarmament followed by the issuance of government weapons and organization of their troops to be subordinate to regional Tatmadaw military commanders. The requirement led to an increase in tensions across the country and armed conflict, particularly in Kachin State.
 Interview with a member of a Kachin BGF, Yangon, February 2013.
 At least 17 NSAGs have used antipersonnel mines since 1999, however, some of these groups have ceased to exist or no longer use mines.
 The Chin National Front/Chin National Army renounced use in July 2006. The Arakan Rohingya National Organization and the National United Party of Arakan, both now militarily defunct, renounced use in October 2003. The Lahu Democratic Front (LDF), Palaung State Liberation Army, and PPLO/Pa’O Peoples Liberation Army (PPLA) renounced use in April 2007. In a June 2010 report, Geneva Call noted that LDF and the PPLA had disbanded.
 U Wunna Maung Lwin made these statements to the President of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Prak Sokhonn, on the margins of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh, in July 2012. “Myanmar seriously considering landmine treaty as part of its state reforms,” Press Release, Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, 12 July 2012,
 “Politics and peace process obstacle to Myanmar land mine elimination procedure,” Eleven Magazine, 23 March 2013, www.elevenmyanmar.com/national/2886-politics-and-peace-process-obstacle-to-myanmar-land-mine-elimination-procedure.
 “Landmine kills Burma army soldiers, villagers threatened,” Shan Herald Agency for News, 3 April 2013, www.bnionline.net/index.php/news/shan/15055-landmine-kills-burma-army-soldiers-villagers-threatened.html.
 “Fresh tensions with Shan army have implications for Wa,” Shan Herald Agency for News, 15 February 2013, www.shanland.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5254:fresh-tensions-with-shan-army-have-implications-for-wa&catid=86:war&Itemid=284.
 Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), Landmines Briefer, Information Received: August 2012–March 2013, 8 April 2013, p. 8.
 Villagers stated that the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Burma Army were active in the area. KHRG, “Landmine injuries in Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District since January 2013,” News Bulletin, KHRG #2013-B44, 8 July2013, www.khrg.org/2013/07/13-61-d1/landmine-injuries-mone-township-nyaunglebin-district-january-2013.
 KHRG, Landmines Briefer, Information Received: August 2012–March 2013, 8 April 2013. p. 9.
 “KIA (Kachin) armed group withdraws from battle with No. 1002 BGF (Headquarters) suffering heavy loss,” New Light of Myanmar, 4 May 2012.
 ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Myanmar/Burma: Mine Ban Policy,” www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/1195, 30 October 2011.
 In September 2012, three casualties in Myawaddy were reported due to mines, attributed to both the BGF and the KNLA, however, the reports do not state when they believe the mines were placed there. See, for example, KHRG, Landmines Briefer, Information Received: August 2012–March 2013, 8 April 2013. p. 12.
 KHRG, “Landmines Briefer, Information Received: August 2012–March 2013,” Report, 8 April 2013, p. 14.
 KHRG, “Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho Township, January to March 2013,” News Bulletin, 18 June2013, www.khrg.org/2013/07/13-37-s1/papun-situation-update-bu-tho-township-january-march-2013.
 KHRG, “Nyaunglebin Situation Update: Kyauk Kyi Township, July to September 2012,” News Bulletin, 20 June2013, www.khrg.org/2013/06/12-134-s1/nyaunglebin-situation-update-kyauk-kyi-township-july-september-2012.
 Myanmar produces the MM1, which is modeled on the Chinese Type-59 stake-mounted fragmentation mine; the MM2, which is similar to the Chinese Type-58 blast mine; a Claymore-type directional fragmentation mine; and a copy of the United States (US) M14 plastic mine.
 In 1999 Myanmar’s representative to the UN stated that the country was supportive of banning exports of antipersonnel mines, however, no formal moratorium or export ban has been proclaimed. See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 469.
 According to a US cable released by Wikileaks in August 2011, in December 2006 during an interview with US Embassy officials a Karen politician indicated that “in 2005 a foreign expert trained the KNLA on how to manufacture ‘Bouncing Betty’ anti-personnel mines, packed with ball bearings. The KNLA claims all of its brigades now know how to produce this ‘new’ landmine. KNLA officers claim they use them only in forward areas to slow the Burmese Army's advance into traditional KNU territory. The source said the new mines are much more lethal than earlier KNLA mines that tended to maim rather than kill.” “06RANGOON1767, BURMA REGIME AND KAREN MISTRUST CONTINUES,” US Department of State cable dated 4 December 2006, released by Wikileaks on 30 August 2011, wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06RANGOON1767.html.
 Landmine Monitor Report 2009 identified the presence of US-made M26 bounding antipersonnel mines in Myanmar but could not identify the source or the user. In 2010, a confidential source indicated that the KNLA had received many M26 mines from the Royal Thai Army in the past, before Thailand joined the Mine Ban Treaty. See Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1013.
 About a dozen armed organizations have agreed verbally to cease hostilities with the SPDC and the Tatmadaw. Although frequently referred to as “ceasefire groups,” none have signed a formal ceasefire protocol leading to a negotiated settlement. All maintain their arms, including any stockpile of antipersonnel mines.
 “Military columns seize arms and ammunition, narcotic drugs, machinery for production of narcotic drugs in Muse District, Shan State,” New Light of Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw), 11 October 2011.