Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 30 October 2014

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State not party

Pro-mine ban UN General Assembly (UNGA) voting record

Abstained on Resolution 68/30 in December 2013, as in previous years

Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings

Attended the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2013 and the intersessional meetings in April 2014, both in Geneva, but not the Third Review Conference in June 2014

Key developments

Instances of landmine use by government forces and non-state armed groups (NSAGs)


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.[1]

In December 2013, Myanmar stated that its participation as an observer in the treaty’s Meetings of States Parties “clearly reflects our keen interest in the present and future work of the convention.”[2]

Previously, in July 2012, Minister of Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin stated that Myanmar was considering accession to the Mine Ban Treaty and it was reported that the government was no longer using landmines.[3] But in November 2012 at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit President Thein Sein acknowledged that Myanmar is not a party to the treaty, stating, “I believe that for defence purpose, we need to use landmines in order to safeguard the life and property of people and self-defence.”[4]

No parliamentary party has introduced legislation to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty, but disability rights legislation introduced in June 2014 references the rights of landmine victims.[5]

Despite not joining, Myanmar has participated in several Meetings of States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty as an observer, including in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, and in 2003. It first participated in intersessional meetings of the treaty in Geneva in May 2013 and again in April 2014. Myanmar has not participated in any of the treaty’s review conferences, including the Third Review Conference held in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014.

Myanmar was one of 19 countries that abstained from voting on UNGA Resolution 68/30 on 5 December 2013, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar has consistently abstained on similar annual resolutions since 1997.

In April 2014, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar again called on the government of Myanmar to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and noted that the, “use of landmines has decreased significantly, although there has been limited progress in mine surveying and clearance, marking or fencing.”[6] In April 2013, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that more than 450,000 refugees and internally displaced people can't return home in northern and southeastern states until landmines are cleared.[7] In May 2013, the UN Secretary-General released his third report on children and armed conflict in Myanmar, which documented child casualties from landmines.[8]

At the Third Review Conference, there were several calls for Myanmar to accede to the treaty, including by Belgium and France.[9]

In May 2013, the government for the first time accepted a high-level ICBL delegation that met with President’s Minister U Aung Min, with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with the Myanmar Peace Centre. In November 2013, the Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar campaign held a press conference in Yangon to launch the Landmine Monitor 2013 country report on Myanmar.[10] The campaign distributed 2,000 copies of the Burmese-language translation of the 2013 Myanmar country report. Myanmar Campaign to Ban Landmines held two campaign-building and strategy workshops for its members in January and July 2014.[11] A delegation from the Taiwan Campaign to Ban Landmines/Eden International organized a week of capacity-building activities for Myanmar campaigners in August 2014.[12]


Since the publication of its first report in 1999, Landmine Monitor has documented the use of antipersonnel mines by government forces and by NSAGs in many parts of the country. Information collected by the Monitor indicates that in the second half of 2013 and first half of 2014 there was a continued, but lower level of new mine use by rebel or government forces. There were a few credible allegations of mine use by the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces) in Kachin and Rakhine states. 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.

Government forces

In Kachin state, Tatmadaw units were said to be laying mines in their armed conflict with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).[13] In April 2014, the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), which works in KIA areas, stated that a landmine laid by the Tatmadaw sometime between November 2013 and February 2014 had killed a woman at Tan Tada, Mansi Township.[14]

In June 2013, a Bangladesh news outlet published a report that the Tatmadaw had planted landmines within 70 yards of the border, along pillars 39 and 40, and 100 yards of the border, along  pillars 37 and 38. A Bangladeshi army representative accused Myanmar of violating its border agreement with Bangladesh, reportedly stating, “When we raise the issue [mine use] with the Myanmar authorities, they don’t want to take any note of it.”[15] Previously, the Monitor reported allegations of mine use in February 2013 on a different section of Myanmar’s shared border with Bangladesh.[16] The Monitor has not been able to verify these allegations.

Previously, Border Guard Forces (BGF) were reported to sporadically use antipersonnel mines in their areas of operations. BGF and People’s Militia Force (PMF) are militias under the control of the Army and may be comprised of local conscripts or of various former insurgent organizations.[17] 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. In May 2014, FBR encountered a PMF camp near Nar Yong Village in southern Shan state that it said had a mined perimeter.[18]

Use by non-state armed groups[19]

No armed group has renounced antipersonnel mine use during 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.[20]

Since 2011 when the government announced its intention to seek peace agreements with armed groups, it has held multiple meetings with almost every ethnic armed group in the country and the need to end landmine use and ensure clearance has been mentioned in several meetings.[21] However, a halt on new mine use has not been formally adopted by any side as part of a ceasefire, as of 1 October 2014. An official in the Myanmar Peace Center, the government body responsible for negotiations with all groups, stated that some armed groups believed landmines 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.[22]

At least four NSAGs were reported to have laid mines in Landmine Monitor’s previous reporting period and none of those groups have publicly or privately renounced further use. But since mid-2013, there have been no specific allegations of new mine use by any NSAG within the country.

Previously, mine warfare by the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) and the use of mines in conflicts between different NSAGs in Karen state were reported. In March 2013, two Tatmadaw 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.[23] 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.[24] In January 2013, a villager reportedly stepped on a landmine in Kaukriek township which was allegedly laid by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).[25]

The ongoing conflict in southern Kachin and northern Shan states have caused people to flee and landmine incidents and unexploded ordnance have been reported in Maing Khaung (Mansi township), Lwegel, and Namhkam from fighting in late 2013 and early 2014. Some internally displaced persons (IDPs) reported that paths to their villages are now believed to have been mined during or after clashes in April 2014 and/or late 2013.[26]

On 1 June 2013, a villager in Karen state stepped on a mine at Chauck Kway on a path between two Tatmadaw army camps, Ket Pe army camp and Pa Dah army camp. Due to regular use of the path, the mine was believed to have been recently laid, however since both the KNLA and Tatmadaw are active in the area it was not known who was responsible.[27] Landmine Monitor is not in a position to verify either report.

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.[28] 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 manufacture, as well as some mines whose origin has not been identified.[29] Myanmar is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines.[30]

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.[31] Armed groups in Myanmar have previously acquired mines by removing mines laid by others, seizing Tatmadaw stocks, and obtaining mines from the clandestine arms market.[32] The majority of armed organizations within the country are now involved in negotiations on a nationwide ceasefire. However, they have not disarmed and some still possess antipersonnel mines.[33]


[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). For more information see the MINU website.

[2] Statement of Myanmar, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] New Light of Myanmar, “Rights of land mine victims should be included in bill on rights of disabled people: activists,” 1p6 June 2014, p.1. 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. See Landmine Monitor 2013, Myanmar/Burma Ban Policy profile.

[6] Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paragraph’s 61 and 79, A/HRC/25/64, 2 April 2014.

[7] UN High Commissioner for Refuges (UNHCR) protection office, Maja Lazic quoted in UPI, “Myanmar polluted with land mines,” UPI (Geneva), 3 April 2013.

[8]Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar,” S/2013/258 (paragraphs 21, 31, and 37), 1 May 2013.

[9] Statement of Belgium, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, 23 June 2014; and statement of France, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, 23 June 2014. Notes by the Monitor.

[11] Supported by ICBL/CMC Investing in Action campaign grants. Workshops occurred in January and July in Yangon with 25% of the attendees were landmine disabled.

[13] Monitor interview with humanitarian organization working with conflict-displaced communities in Kachin state, Yangon, 14 November 2012. Informant requested anonymity.

[14] FBR, “Civilian Killed by Landmine, Teenage Girl Raped and Over 3,600 New IDPs in Kachin State,” 24 April 2014; and email from David Eubanks, Director, FBR, 1 August 2014.  Previously FBR 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. See Landmine Monitor 2013, Myanmar/Burma Mine Ban Policy profile.

[15] Deepak Acharjee, “Myanmar army undermines border norms,” The Independent (Bangladesh), 12 June 2013.

[16] See Landmine Mine Monitor 2013, Mine Ban Policy profile for Myanmar/Burma.

[17] Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution requires that the many armed groups within the country’s ethnic areas be placed under national military command. However, Article 340 of the constitution allows for the formation of PMF or BGF under the direction of the Defence Service. 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 PMF (sometimes called 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.

[18] Email correspondence with David Eubanks, FBR, 1 August 2014. It is not known when the PMF laid the mines.

[19] At least 17 NSAGs have used antipersonnel mines since 1999, however, some of these groups have ceased to exist or no longer use mines.

[20] 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.

[21] 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.

[23]Landmine kills Burma army soldiers, villagers threatened,” Shan Herald Agency for News, 3 April 2013.

[24]Fresh tensions with Shan army have implications for Wa,” Shan Herald Agency for News, 15 February 2013

[25] Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), Landmines Briefer, Information Received: August 2012–March 2013, 8 April 2013, p. 8.

[26] Email from UNHCR Protection Sector in Myanmar, 2 October 2014.

[27] KHRG, unpublished submission to the ICBL, 11 July 2014, received by email 14 July 2014.

[28] 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.

[29] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 938. The mines include: Chinese Types-58, -59, -69, -72A; Soviet POMZ-2, POMZ-2M, PMN, PMD-6; US M14, M16A1, M18; and Indian/British LTM-73, LTM-76.

[30] 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.

[31] 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.

[32] 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.

[33] 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.