Victim Assistance

Last updated: 29 November 2018

Victim assistance planning and coordination

Government focal point

Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement, department of social welfare and persons with disabilities

Coordination mechanisms

The National Victim Assistance Technical Group, coordinated by Humanity & Inclusion (HI) gathers national and international victim assistance actors under the umbrella of the National Mine Risk Working Group (MRWG) chaired by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement

Disability sector integration

A representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement reported that Myanmar was taking an integrated approach towards victim assistance, based on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in its national disability law and national social protection strategy[1]

Survivor inclusion and participation

No direct representation of mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) victims, but survivors belong to broader disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) that participate in various coordination roles


Mine Ban Treaty


Convention on Cluster Munitions


Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)


In the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in June 2017, a national consultation on disability statistics and Incheon Strategy indicators was organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. The consultation reviewed the national statistical system to assess progress, challenges, and gaps in disability policy and data collection.[2]

In 2015, Danish Deming Group/Danish Refugee Council (DDG/DRC) conducted a “Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Victims Survey” in Kachin and Kayah states that incorporated needs assessment and evaluation of opportunities for possible future activities. Survey results continued to be shared in 2018.[3]

Laws and policies

In July 2018, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Rescue and Resettlement released the publication of the long-awaited rules regulations for the Disability Rights Law that was enacted in June 2015. The rules and regulations were adopted the ministry in December 2017 more than two years after the law was enacted.[4] Legislation prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, hearing, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to healthcare, the judicial system, or in the provision of other state services. It also directs the government to assure that persons with disabilities have easy access to public transportation.[5]

In November 2017, the Myanmar government began disbursing a monthly allowance to people with disabilities in nine townships in four states as a pilot program with a view to eventual nationwide coverage.[6] In December 2014, Myanmar launched a National Social Protection Strategic Plan through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement to provide an allowance to all persons certified with a disability.[7]

Military veterans with disabilities received benefits on a priority basis, usually a civil service job at equivalent pay. Official assistance to non-military persons with disabilities in principle included two-thirds of pay for up to one year for a temporary disability and a tax-free stipend for permanent disability. There are believed to be dozens of army-built community settlements where disabled veterans and their families receive free housing. However, ordinary soldiers with disabilities often located in remote areas lacked job opportunities and ways of finding extra income.[8]

The National Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is the ministerial committee mandated with promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, with responsibilities to protect and promote the lives of the persons with disabilities, implement provisions included in the disability rights law, set national-level policies and guidelines, conduct work with the approval of the national government, cooperate and coordinate with relevant ministries, as well as state and regional governments and municipal committees.[9]

Major Developments in 2017–2018

Medical care and rehabilitation

The Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW), which is the health department of the Karen National Union (KNU), reported that a medic’s training course was provided to health workers, but more trained medics were needed to provide healthcare service in KNU-controlled areas.[10] Since 2017, HI has been leading a partnership with KDHW and provides support both in government- and non-government-controlled areas in Kachin in response to a component of conflict sensitivity in the southeast and in Kachin.[11]

In Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states, the ICRC provided 25 health centers and satellite posts, including facilities in areas controlled by armed groups. The ICRC increased its financial support for the health ministry’s emergency patient transport system and outpatient referral service in Rakhine state; this enabled the members of the various communities to have safe and ready access to the general hospital and other facilities.[12]

Exceed Worldwide opened a new prosthetic-orthotic center at the Mandalay Orthopedic Specialist Hospital in January 2017. Jointly established by the Ministry of Health and Sports, with support from Japan, the center planned to offer prosthetic services to people in need in Mandalay and nearby regions and states.[13]

The Myitkyina Physical Rehabilitation Center in Kachin state opened in October 2016 through a partnership between the ICRC and the Ministry and Health and Sports, and was expected to serve up to 1,500 patients a year with prostheses and physiotherapy once it reached full operational capacity.[14] In early 2017, the ICRC officially opened the first physical rehabilitation center in Shan state, in Kyaing Tong. At full operational capacity it was expected to serve up to 910 patients a year with prostheses, mobility devices, and physiotherapy.[15] The Ministry of Health and Sports approved the construction of the two new physical rehabilitation centers proposed by the ICRC in 2016. The centers are needed to address the high demand for services in those conflict-affected regions, including for landmine survivors.[16] The referral system jointly operated by the National Society and the ICRC helped inform persons with disabilities of the center or service provider nearest them. ICRC mobile workshops stationed near their communities repaired assistive devices

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

Most mine/ERW survivors have had to abandon their traditional professions, making vocational training and other alternative livelihood solutions necessary.[17] DRC/DDG provided livelihood interventions to assist conflict-affected and mine/ERW-impacted communities as well as mine/ERW victims with skills development training in business, and agriculture-oriented support.[18] AAR Japan continued to provide vocational training for persons with disabilities at its center in Yangon.[19] In August 2018, the Myanmar Center for Responsible Business and AAR Japan, held a meeting with the support of Department of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to obtain feedback on a draft handbook on employment of persons with disabilities. Participants included high-level representatives of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport and Communication, and the Ministry of Defense as well as also the ministries responsible for social welfare; labor, immigration and population, health and sport, education, culture, industry, the Union Attorney General’s Office, the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs, the War Veterans Association, and the Working Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[20]

In partnership with the Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (MPHA), HI ran the United States-funded, Humanitarian Mine Action in Burma: Inclusive Socio-economic Development and Human Security for All project in three townships in Kayin state and East Bago regions in southeast Myanmar. In each township, victim assistance is in operation, run by two managers and supported by teams of volunteers for each thematic, including mental health and psychosocial support, livelihoods, functional rehabilitation, and repair.[21]

World Education supported the establishment ten self-help groups across Bago region and Kayah state, comprised of over 60 members. In 2017–2018, World Education compiled, translated, printed, and distributed 2,500 service provider directories in Kayah and Mon states. Directories were distributed to government, civil society organizations, and persons with disabilities. Since 2012, 157 mine/ERW survivors and other persons with disabilities received livelihood training.[22]

Victim assistance providers and activities

Name of organization

Type of activity


Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement

Socio-economic and rehabilitation services; vocational training school for adults with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors

Ministry of Health and Sports

Prosthetic centers and two orthopedic hospitals

Ministry of Defense

Prosthetics provided through three centers


Peace Myanmar Aid Foundation

Mobile prosthetic delivery

Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People

Prosthetic production at the Kho Kay Prosthetic Clinic, Mutraw, Karen (Kayin) state

Karen Health and Welfare Department (KDHW)

Medical first-aid assistance and amputative surgeries

Karenni Health Workers Organization

Prosthetics in Loikaw, Kayah (Karenni) state

Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS Network)

First aid and immediate assistance

Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (MPHA)

Disability rights advocacy, production of assistive devices; encouraging economic inclusion through employment


Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan)

Vocational training; community-based rehabilitation; referral system; survivor rights/advocacy

Exceed Worldwide

Operates the prosthetic workshop at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Yangon; financially supports Myanmar School of Prosthetics & Orthotics; opened new prosthetic workshop in Mandalay

Leprosy Mission–Myanmar

Rehabilitation and prosthetics


Direct assistance in the form of medical and rehabilitative care and referrals for mine/ERW survivors in Kachin state


Community-level data collection, mapping of services and barriers, assessment, referral, psychosocial support, socio-economic inclusion, repairs of mobility devices; coordination of assistance and advocacy on survivors/victims’ needs; capacity-building of the MPHA, supporting Victim Assistance Centers

World Education

Physical rehabilitation; economic inclusion; access to medical and vocational funds; coordination of assistance and advocacy on survivors/victims’ needs

ICRC/Myanmar Red Cross Society

Support to four rehabilitation centers: one under the MRCS in Hpa-An and three centers under the Ministry of Health and Sports in Mandalay, Myitkyina and Kyaing Tong; prosthetic outreach for remote areas

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Discretionary funds for financial assistance to cover medical costs of war victims/landmine survivors and rehabilitation, including transport; economic inclusion through livelihood program


[1] Presentation by Dr San San Aye, Deputy Director General of the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement, Meeting of National Mine Action Programme Directors, Geneva, 17 February 2015.

[3] Roger Fasth and Pascal Simon, DDG, “Mine Action in Myanmar,” The Journal of Mine and ERW Action, Issue 19.2, July 2015; DDG, “DDG study aims to counter rise in victims from mines in Myanmar,” 16 January 2018; and DDG, “Epidemiological Study of Landmine/ERW Victims in Kachin, Kayah and Shan States, Myanmar,” 31 July 2017

[5] US Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, March 2017.

[6] Monthly assistance payments of K16,000 to K30,000 depending on. A disabled child will get K16,000 per month and K30,000 for a disabled adult up to 64 years old. The project pilot areas are the East Dagon township of Yangon region, Pathein and Kangyi Taung townships of Ayeyarwaddy region, Monywa, Ayardaw and Chaung Oo townships of Sagaing region and Thaton and Paung townships of Mon state. Htoo Thant, “Government to start disability payments,” Myanmar Times, 16 November 2017.

[7] Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, “Myanmar National Social Protection Strategic Plan,” December 2014, p. 53. The allowance will not be available until the rights of the persons with disabilities law is enacted and a certification process is established by the government.

[8] Htet Khaung Linn, “On society’s fringes, disabled Tatmadaw veterans languish in poverty,” Myanmar Now, 11 October 2016.

[9] President’s Office, “Gov’t to speed up work for rights for disabled,” 29 December 2017

[11] HI, “Federal Information – Country Card: Myanmar,” September 2018.

[12] ICRC, “Annual Report 2017,” Geneva 2018, p. 327.

[13]PO Center officially launched in Mandalay,” Yadanabon News, 18 January 2017.

[16] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 58.

[18] DRC/DDG, “Factsheet Kayah State, 2018,” 2018.

[19] AAR Japan, “Annual Report 2017: April 2017-March 2018,” undated but 2018.

 [22] Email from Khin Mar Aung, Director, World Education Myanmar, 25 October 2018.