Mine Action

Last updated: 03 November 2018

Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State not party

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

No functioning mine action program

A Mine Risks Working Group (MRWG), comprised of ministries, international,and national organizations and four state-level coordination agencies, takes the lead on risk education and victim assistance

Mine action strategic plan


Mine Action Standards

None. Operators follow the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS)

Operators in 2017

Tatmadaw engineers

Non-technical survey:
Danish Demining Group (DDG)
Mines Advisory Group (MAG)
The HALO Trust

Risk education

The Committee of Internally Displaced Karen People and the Karen Teachers Working Group
Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association
Karen Development Network
The Karenni Social Welfare and Development Center and the Local Development Network
Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
Myanmar Red Cross Society
Shan State Youth Capacity Building Centre
Never End Tomorrow
Ta'ang Students and Youth Union
Kachin Baptist Convention, Wunpawng Ninghtoi
Karen Department of Health & Welfare

International NGOs:
DanChurchAid (DCA)
HALO Trust
Humanity & Inclusion (HI, formerly Handicap International)
Johanniter International Assistance (JOIN)
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)

Extent of contamination as of end 2017


Extent unknown, includes improvised mines
New mine contamination in 2017

Cluster munition remnants


Other ERW contamination


Land release in 2017


Tatmadaw engineers reported conducted some mine clearance but operations are not systematic or recorded

International NGOs identified 0.43km2 CHA and 0.28kmSHA, as well as 90 spot tasks, through non-technical survey. They were not permitted to mark the areas with standard international marking



No mine clearance is permitted by NGOs. Limited non-technical survey has been permitted since 2016

Notes: ERW = explosive remnants of war; CHA = confirmed hazardous area; SHA = suspected hazardous area.


The Union of the Republic of Myanmar is heavily mine-affected as a result of conflicts between the Tatmadaw (government forces) and numerous non-state armed groups (NSAGs) affiliated with ethnic minorities. The violence started after the country’s independence in 1948. Mined areas are located in areas of Myanmar adjacent to borders with Bangladesh, China, and Thailand, and pose a particular threat in northern and eastern parts of the country.

Some 78 townships (out of a total of 325) in 10 states and regions are believed to suffer from some degree of mine contamination; primarily antipersonnel mines.[1] In the past few years, contamination has increased in the north. Shan state and Kachin state are considered heavily contaminated. Previously, Karen (Kayin) state and Pegu (Bago) division were among those with the heaviest mine contamination and the highest number of recorded victims. Townships on the Indian border of Chin state and in the Sagaing region are also believed to have SHAs.[2]

A United Nations Fact Finding Mission reported in September 2018 that “despite the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in October 2015, which committed all parties to end the use of landmines and cooperate on mine-clearance operations, new landmines continue to be laid.” It cited credible reports that the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed groups had laid landmines and observed that “Tatmadaw soldiers lay landmines in villages they have attacked or after civilians have fled, or on roads frequently used by civilians. Civilians have also laid landmines in order to protect their property.”[3] The new contamination occurred on the Myanmar side of the border with Bangladesh in northern Rakhine state. Other accounts of new contamination due to continuing use by Myanmar military forces and NSAGs in Myanmar were reported throughout 2017 and the first half of 2018. (See Myanmar’s Mine Ban profile for further details.)

No estimate exists of the extent of contamination but SHAs have been reported in the following states and townships:

  • Kayah state: all seven townships;
  • Kayin state: all seven townships;
  • Kachin state: Bhamo, Chipwi, Hpakant, Injangyang, Mansi, Mogaung, Mohnyin, Momauk, Myitkyina, Shwegu, Sumprabum, Tanai, Tsawlaw, and Waingmaw;
  • Mon state: Bilin, Kyaikto, Mawlamyine, Thanbyuzayat, Thaton, and Ye;
  • Bago region: Kyaukkyi, Shwekyin, Tantabin, and Taungoo;
  • Rakhine state: Buthidaung, Maungdaw;
  • Shan state: Hopong, Hsenwi, Hsihseng, Hsipaw, Konkyan, Kutkai, Kyethi, Kyaukme, Langkho, Lashio, Laukkaing, Lawksawk, Loilen, Manton, Mawkmai, Mongmit, Mongshu, Mongpan, Mongton, Monghpyak, Mongyai, Muse, Namhsan Tachileik, Namtu, Nanhkan, Nawnghkio, Pangsang, Tangyan, and Ywangan;
  • Tanintharyi region: Bokpyin, Dawei, Myiek, Tanintharyi, Thayetchaung, and Yebyu;
  • Chin state Paletwa; and
  • Sagaing region: Paletwa.

The Tatmadaw uses antipersonnel mines, most of which are produced in state-owned factories. These locally manufactured mines include copies of Russian PMNs (locally designated MM-2), POMZ fragmentation mines (designated MM-1), and United States’ M14s. LTM-76 bounding fragmentation mines based on British or Indian designs have been found around electrical pylons. Ethnic armed groups acknowledge use of improvised antipersonnel mines as well as a number of antivehicle mines, but unconfirmed reports have suggested groups in the north have also obtained Chinese factory-made Type-72 antivehicle mines.[4]

Landmine contamination in Myanmar is frequently cited as a barrier to the return of refugees and internally displaced people. In September 2018, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar considered landmine contamination in Rakhine state to be part of a deliberate and planned strategy to enforce displacement.[5] In June 2018, UNICEF reported the presence of landmines has blocked return in some areas of Kachin state.[6] In September 2016, a situation analysis for humanitarian response in Myanmar noted that, “Landmine contamination is a significant barrier to refugee return. It also continues to pose barriers to livelihoods, economic development, land ownership, and access to health and education services, all of which have gendered dimensions and implications.”[7]

In June 2018, Landmine Monitor and the UN produced an infographic on the impact of landmine use in Myanmar.[8]

Explosive remnants of war

Myanmar is also affected by ERW, including mortars, grenades, artillery, and ordnance dating back to World War II, but the location or extent of contamination is not known.[9] New ERW contamination has been reported related to armed conflict in late 2015 and early 2016 in Kachin state.[10]

Program Management

The government had not, as of September 2018, formulated a clear direction for mine action or established a center to coordinate it.[11] In January 2018, Union Joint Monitoring Committee (JMU-C) Secretary, Colonel Wunna Aung, stated that mine clearance could not begin prior to the building of mutual trust between the government and ethnic armed groups.[12] In May 2017, Colonel Aung stated that the Tatmadaw would take the lead on landmine clearance and that international technological and material support would be accepted. He noted that clearance would begin in Kayin state as a joint activity with the Karen National Union.[13] In August 2017, Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, held talks with New Zealand’s ambassador regarding assistance between the two countries militaries and mine clearance operations.[14]

Myanmar’s previous administration had agreed to set up a Myanmar Mine Action Center (MMAC) under the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) in 2013, but it was never fully staffed and the government said concluding a National Ceasefire Agreement with non-state actors was a precondition for proceeding to survey and clearance.[15]

The new administration dissolved the MPC at the end of March 2016 and replaced it with the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC), which reports to the state counsellor, who said negotiations over the National Ceasefire Agreement would be her administration’s priority.At its first meeting, several participants emphasized the threat of mines and the need for mine clearance.[16] Previously, in May 2016, a national youth conference held in the capital Naypyitaw called on the army and ethnic armed groups to remove landmines.[17] Several civil society groups also called for mine clearance during the year (see Myanmar’s Mine Ban Policy profile).

The Department of Social Work (DSW) leads the Mine Risks Working Group (MRWG), co-chaired with UNICEF, which comprises of 10 ministries, 41 international and national organizations, and four state-level coordination agencies (in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, and Shahn states).[18] The group meets quarterly in the capital, Naypyidaw, and focuses on risk education and victim assistance. In the process, it has overseen the first steps to systematic survey of mine contamination.

The Ministry of Social Welfare established a new Department of Rehabilitation in 2018, and operators were informed it would take the lead on mine action from the Department of Social Work, but as of August 2018, the Department of Rehabilitation had no presence in the capital and stakeholders had received no guidance on how the change would be conducted.[19]

Operators have conducted risk education and community liaison activities, which, in recent years, included limited community mapping of hazardous areas in some locations. In 2017, for the first time, operators were permitted to conduct non-technical survey in Kayin state and southern Shan state.

Legislation and standards

Myanmar does not have national mine action legislation or standards and therefore operators have followed IMAS and their own standard operating procedures.

Information management

Operators also retain their own survey results in the absence of a neutral national entity to store hazardous area data, which remains sensitive in view of continuing conflict.


Seven international demining organizations had offices in Yangon and some provincial locations: DCA, DDG, HALO Trust, HI, MAG, and NPA.

Tatmadaw engineers have reportedly conducted some mine clearance but operations are not systematic or recorded.

Land Release

No land release has occurred in Myanmar as humanitarian mine action operators are not permitted to conduct clearance by either the government or ethnic minority authorities.

Operators were authorized to conduct non-technical survey in some locations for the first time in 2016 and that activity continued in 2017, but they have not been permitted to mark SHAs or CHAs with standard international marking. They have so far been unable to carry out surveys across an entire state (province), which would enable them to determine a baseline level of contamination.

MAG, which worked with 18 community liaison teams, received authorization from the DSW in December 2016 to conduct non-technical survey in 74 villages across six townships of Kayah state, and in 2017 was allowed to start non-technical survey in southern areas of Shan state. In 2017, it mapped 114 hazardous areas, including 86 CHAs covering 214,276m2. It also identified and recorded 23 spot EOD tasks.[20]

DDG conducted non-technical survey in Kayah state’s Demoso township in 2017, finding 51 of its 169 villages affected by mines and ERW. It confirmed 95 hazardous areas covering 127,720m2 and identified 33 SHAs covering 233,898m2 as well as 67 EOD spot tasks. DDG passed on information about the location of UXO to military engineers who reportedly cleared some items. After completing non-technical survey in Demoso township in March 2018, DDG shifted its teams to survey Hpruso and Hpasawng townships.[21]

The HALO Trust also received authorization to carry out non-technical survey in 2017. Operating with a total of 47 staff, including three non-technical survey teams and seven risk education teams, HALO worked in northern Shan state and Kayin state, identifying CHAs covering 85,315m2and SHAs over an estimated total of 46,058m2.[22]

NPA did not conduct survey in 2017 as it awaited amendment of its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to allow non-technical survey but it collaborated with HALO Trust and MAG on a joint initiative discussed with authorities at national and state level for the survey and clearance of 37 villages, in the Kyone Htaw waterfalls area close to Hpa-An in Kayin state. The aim of the project is to facilitate tourism and the return of internally displaced persons. The project received support from the DSW in Naypyidaw but was put on hold by regional military authorities due to security considerations.[23]

Mine/ERW risk education

As of August 2018, at least nine organizations implemented 13 risk education projects, primarily in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, and Shan states, and eastern Bago region, Mon state, and Tanintharyi region.

Mine/ERW Risk Education actors[24]


National actor

International actor

Eastern Bago region

The Committee of Internally Displaced Karen People and the Karen Teachers Working Group, Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association, Karen Development Network

DCA, HI, Johanniter International Assistance (JOIN)

Kachin state



Kayah state

The Karenni Social Welfare and Development Center and the Local Development Network

DCA-Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), and MAG

Kayin state

Committee of Internally Displaced Karen People, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, Karen Teachers Working Group, Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association


Mon state

Committee of Internally Displaced Karen People, Karen Teachers Working Group, Myanmar Red Cross Society


Northern Shan state

Shan State Youth Capacity Building Center, Never End Tomorrow, Ta'ang Students and Youth Union, Kachin Baptist Convention, Wunpawng Ninghtoi


Southern Shan state



Tanintharyi region

The Karen Teachers Working Group, Karen Department of Health & Welfare



In addition, UNICEF and UNHCR supported risk education in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon & Shan states and Eastern Bago region,[25] and the National Society, trained by the ICRC, is also conducting risk education.[26]



The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from“Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Myanmar is divided into states and regions. States are the “home area” of ethnic groups. Other areas, which are not identified with a specific ethnic group, are administrative regions. The former military junta changed the name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 and also changed the names of some states. Many ethnic groups within the country still prefer to use the name Burma. Internal state and division names are given in their common form or with the name adopted by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in parentheses.

[2] Research by Landmine Monitor. Data sources included casualty information, sightings of mine warnings, and reports by NGOs and other organizations of use, as well as interviews with field staff and armed forces personnel. The survey included casualty data from January 2007 through September 2015 and data from other informants from January 2008 through October 2017.

[3] United Nations, “Report of the Detailed Findings of the Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar,” A/HRC/39/CRP.2, 17 September 2017, p. 95.

[4] Information provided by mine action stakeholders on condition of anonymity, 2018.

[5] Human Rights Council, “Report of the detailed findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar,” A/HRC/39/CRP.2, 17 September 2018, p. 288.

[6] UNICEF, “Myanmar Humanitarian Mid-Year Situation Report,” 30 June 2018, p. 2.

[7]Situation Analysis of Southeastern Myanmar,” United Nations Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), Peace Support Fund, September 2016. MIMU is a service to the UN Country Team and Humanitarian Country Team, under the management of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

[8]Townships with Known Landmine Contamination (2017) and Casualties in Myanmar (as of Dec 2016),” MIMU, 30 May 2018. Infographic provides a 11-year overview of data from the Landmine Monitor (2007–2017). In 2018, the infographic was also available in Burmese languagefor the first time. MIMU reported to the Landmine Monitor that the landmine infographic has been one of their most requested products.

[9] See, for example, N. Thwin, “World War II ordnance kills three,” Democratic Voice of Burma, 20 March 2012; “WWII bomb kills 7 in Arakan,” Irrawaddy, 1 September 2011; and M. Thar Lay, “Mandalay workers uncover WWII bomb,” Myanmar Times, Vol. 23, No. 455, 26 January–1 February 2009.

[10] See, for example, unexploded aerial bomb allegedly from armed conflict in Kachin state in Waingmaw township in October 2016. Free Burma Rangers, “UPDATE REPORT: Gidon Post Bombarded by Burma Airforce,” 7 October 2016.

[11] Interview with Aksel Steen-Nilsen, Country Director, NPA, and Greg Crowther, Regional Director, South and South East Asia, MAG, in Phnom Penh, 1 May 2017; and email from Melissa Andersson, Programme Manager, NPA, Yangon, 27 September 2017.

[12]Standard operating procedures for commanders drafted at JMC-U,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 20 January 2018. “Both sides are still discussing conducting workshops on mines. The NCA includes mine clearance work. But mutual trust needs to be created first so it is still under discussion and mine clearance cannot be implemented yet,” said Col. Aung.

[13] Ye Khaung Nyunt, “Second day of 10th Union Joint Monitoring Committee meeting in Yangon,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 5 May 2017.

[14] MNA, “Senior General meets New Zealand Ambassador,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 27 August 2017.

[15] Roger Fasth and Pascal Simon, “Mine Action in Myanmar,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 19.2, July 2015.

[16] See, for example: At the Union Peace Conference 21st Century Panglong, Daw Wint Wah Tun of the National League for Democracy said of her Shardaw township, Kayah state, “local people do not feel secure as landmine fields pose a threat to their way of life.” “Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong continues,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 2 September 2016.

[17] “Youth Empowerment: Myanmar’s young people want an active role in the running of their country,” Mizzima Weekly, 9 June 2016, p. 22.

[18] UNICEF, “Landmines and explosive remnants of war threaten children and communities across Myanmar,” 4 April 2018.

[19] Emails from mine action operators, July–August 2018.

[20] Email from Greg Crowther, Regional Director, South and South East Asia, MAG, 3 August 2018.

[21] Email from Pascal Simon, Programme Manager, DDG, 8 August 2018.

[22] Email from Samuel Fricker, Programme Manager, HALO Trust, 9 July 2018.

[23] Email from Kyaw Lin Htut, Programme Manager, NPA, 17 August 2018.

[24] MIMU, “Myanmar, Who/What/Where, Mine Action,” 27 August 2018.

[25] Ibid.

[26] ICRC, “Annual Report 2016,” p. 328.