Thailand

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 September 2021

Summary

Non-signatory Thailand has acknowledged the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the convention. It last participated in a meeting of the convention in November 2020. Thailand voted in favor of a key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2020.

Thailand is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions, but has imported them and possesses a stockpile. The only recorded use of cluster munitions by Thailand was in 2011 during a border dispute with Cambodia.

Policy

The Kingdom of Thailand has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Thailand has expressed interest in the convention, but has not taken any steps to accede to it.[1] Thailand’s foreign minister told the UN Security Council in 2011 that the government was “seriously considering joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[2] However, since then military officials have said that Thailand is not in a position to join it.[3]

Thailand participated in diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, it attended the formal negotiations in May 2008 and the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 as an observer only.[4]

Thailand has participated as an observer in meetings of the convention, most recently the first part of the Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020.[5] It did not make any statements at these meetings. Thailand has also attended regional workshops on the convention, such as a virtual meeting for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) military officials convened by the Philippines in July 2020.[6]

In December 2020, Thailand voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[7] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Thailand has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2020.[8]

Thailand is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Thailand is not known to have ever produced or exported cluster munitions.

Thailand possesses a stockpile of cluster munitions, but in December 2008 announced that it did not intend to acquire more cluster munitions.[9] A military official claimed in 2018 that Thailand no longer has cluster munitions in its operational stockpile as they were transferred to a training stockpile years ago, which he said active military units cannot access.[10]

The Monitor will continue to list Thailand as stockpiling cluster munitions until official confirmation is provided, for example in a voluntary Article 7 transparency report as other non-States Parties have done.

Thailand received 500 Rockeye and 200 CBU-71 air-dropped cluster bombs from the United States (US) between 1970 and 1995.[11] Thailand also received 2,806 cluster munitions containing 850,268 submunitions from the US after the US War Reserve Stock in Thailand (WRS-THAI) was dissolved by a 2002 agreement.[12]

Thailand possesses French-made NR-269 ERFB extended-range 155mm artillery projectiles, each containing 56 M42/M46-type[13] dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions.[14] Based on the types of submunitions identified in Cambodia after the February 2011 artillery strikes, Thailand also has a cluster munition capable of delivering M85 DPICM submunitions.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and other technical experts have provided advice and information on possible options for destroying Thailand’s stockpile of cluster munitions.[15]

Use

There has been no evidence or allegations of cluster munition use by Thailand since 2011.

Thai military forces fired cluster munitions into Cambodia in February 2011, during fighting over a disputed part of the border at the Preah Vihear temple, according to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), a government entity.[16] Thailand fired ground-delivered cluster munitions into Cambodian territory, including M42/M46 and M85-type DPICM submunitions.[17]

At first, Thailand denied using cluster munitions, then accepted the evidence, stating that it “fully understands the concerns raised.”[18] Thailand’s use of cluster munitions generated widespread concern and provoked a strong international response.[19]



[1] Statement of Thailand, Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 6 September 2016. Previously, in October 2015, Thailand said it was “in the process of verifying scope and meaning under the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions], with a view to possible accession in the future.” Statement of Thailand, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 26 October 2015.

[2] Statement by Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, UN Security Council, New York, 14 February 2011. Government officials also expressed Thailand’s intent to accede to the convention in “the near future.” Statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.

[3] CMC meeting with Maj. Gen. Thongchai Rodyoi, Director, Office of Operations, Royal Thai Army Headquarters, Bangkok, 9 July 2018.

[4] For details on Thailand’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 245–246.

[5] Thailand participated in the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2010–2017 and 2019, as well as the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in September 2015 and intersessional meetings held in Geneva in 2011–2015.

[6] Philippines Mission to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva press release, “Philippines hosts webinar to promote Convention on Cluster Munitions among ASEAN Member States,” Manila and Geneva, 29 July 2020.

[7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions”, UNGA Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020.

[8]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020. Thailand voted in favor of similar resolutions from 2013–2019.

[9] Interview with Cherdkiat Atthakor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok, 24 February 2010; and statement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[10] CMC meeting with Maj. Gen. Thongchai Rodyoi, Royal Thai Army, Bangkok, 9 July 2018.

[11] US Defense Security Assistance Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by Human Rights Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.

[12] US Department of State, “Memorandum of Agreement between the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and THAILAND Signed at Bangkok November 26, 2002,” 26 November 2002. The stockpile was comprised of 1,000 M483 and 432 M449A1 artillery projectiles, and 200 CBU-58, 200 Mk-20 Rockeye II, 100 CBU-52, 800 CBU-71, and 74 CBU-87 air-dropped bombs. The cluster munitions were stored at the Korat Munitions Storage Area at the time of the 2002 agreement. See, Andrew Haag, “Thailand received cluster munitions from the United States in 2002–2005,” Landmine and Cluster Munition Blog, 19 January 2016.

[13] The DPICM submunition is often called a “grenade.” A certain amount of contradictory information exists publicly about the specific type of DPICM submunition contained in the NR269 projectile. France listed it as an “M42 type” in its initial Article 7 report in January 2011. Other international ammunition reference publications list the type as M46. There is little outward visual difference between the two types: the M46 DPICM is heavier/thicker and has a smooth interior surface. A portion of the interior of the M42 DPICM body is scored for greater fragmentation.

[14] Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Impact Assessment Report: Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia,” undated, but circulated 3 April 2011.

[15] Email from Lee Moroney, Programme Manager, NPA, 17 August 2010.

[17] For full analysis of the 2011 use incident, see CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2011), pp. 319–320. The missions were conducted by the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (on 9 February and 12 February) and NPA (1–2 April). CMC press release, “CMC condemns Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia,” 6 April 2011.

[18] Guy De Launey, “Thailand ‘admits cluster bombs used against Cambodia,’” BBC, 6 April 2011; and tatement of Thailand, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011. Notes by the CMC.

[19] For example, the Beirut Progress Report issued at the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties stated: “Several states have reported actions reacting to the instance of use of cluster munitions by Thailand in 2011. This includes individual and joint demarches, support for fact-finding missions and condemnation of the use in public statements. The President of the Convention has also issued a statement, stating his concern over the use of cluster munitions. States and civil society have reported on how they follow up, in terms of actions to increase the understanding and knowledge of the Convention. States and civil society have had a good dialogue with Thailand.” See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, “Draft Beirut Progress Report: Monitoring progress in implementing the Vientiane Action Plan from the First up to the Second Meeting of States Parties,” CCM/MSP/2011/WP.5, Beirut, 25 August 2011.


Impact

Last updated: 20 April 2021

Jump to a specific section of the chapter:

Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country summary

The Kingdom of Thailand is contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of conflicts on its borders with Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, and Myanmar. Most of the remaining contamination is located in the seven eastern and north-eastern provinces bordering Cambodia, with some remaining contamination along the borders with Myanmar and Lao PDR.

Thailand became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 May 1999 and its Article 5 deadline is 31 October 2023. Thailand has said it would meet its clearance deadline.[1] It has a five-year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan which focuses on non-technical survey (NTS) activities in the first phase from 2019–2020, and on technical clearance and survey from 2021–2023.[2] A potential obstacle to achieving the 2023 deadline is the high proportion of remaining contamination located in border areas that were still pending demarcation due to border disputes with Cambodia. However, improved relations between Thailand and Cambodia have enabled progress on border cooperation.[3]

Thailand’s national mine action structure sits under the Armed Forces Supreme Command and is mostly funded (90%) by the Royal Thai government.[4] The Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) coordinates, monitors, and conducts mine/ERW survey, clearance, risk education, and victim assistance.

Risk education in Thailand is implemented in the contaminated areas bordering Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Most risk education in Thailand is undertaken together with ongoing survey and clearance and victim assistance activities.[5] In 2019, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) also delivered risk education for refugees from Myanmar in nine refugee camps based in Thailand.[6]

Thailand’s victim assistance program is integrated into its national policy frameworks. Victim assistance, services, grants, and allowances are primarily provided by the National Institute of Emergency Medicine, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.[7]

Treaty status

Treaty overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party

Article 5 clearance deadline: 31 October 2023 (second extension)

Convention on Cluster Munitions

Non-signatory

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party

 

Thailand became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 May 1999 and has since requested two extensions to its Article 5 deadline. The second extension request was submitted in August 2017, and it set out a two-phase program for completing clearance, with a deadline of 31 October 2023.

In 2020, Thailand reported to the Monitor that it believed it would be able to meet its 2023 deadline.[8]

Management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action commenced

1999

National mine action management actors

National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action (NMAC)

Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC), since 2000

Other actors

Golden West Humanitarian Foundation

Mine action strategic and operational plans

Five-Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan, 1 November 2018–31 October 2023

Mine action standards

National Mine Action Standards (NMAS)

 

Management and coordination

The National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action (NMAC), chaired by the Thai Prime Minister, has the responsibility for overseeing the national mine action program. The engagement of national leadership in the committee is seen as important in facilitating policy direction and progress on issues affecting the national security, particularly regarding cooperating with neighboring countries on clearing border areas.

The TMAC, was created in 2000, it is under the Armed Forces Supreme Command, and coordinates, monitors, and conducts mine/ERW survey, clearance, risk education, and victim assistance. TMAC is also responsible for establishing a program to meet Thailand’s Mine Ban Treaty obligations.

In 2020, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation was in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with TMAC to provide technical advisory support.[9]

The Royal Thai Government provides over 90% of costs for humanitarian mine action operations through the Ministry of Defence.[10] The remainder of the budget is generated through international support. (See Thailand’s support for mine action profile for more information).

TMAC organizes monthly mine action meetings to discuss all aspects of mine action that involves all the clearance operators.[11]

Strategies and policies

In line with its August 2017 Article 5 deadline extension request, Thailand has a five-year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan, for the period from1 November 2018 to 31 October 2023.[12] The Plan outlines two phases: phase 1, in 2019–2020, for the conduct of NTS in the northeast region and part of the eastern region, projecting a release of 269km²; and phase 2, in 2021–2023, for the conduct of technical survey and clearance in all areas confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs). It projects the release of 90.96km².[13]

Legislation and standards

TMACs standards were updated in 2015 and 2018. The standards on land release were updated and completed by September 2018.[14] No updates to National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) took place in 2019, but some updates were agreed by stakeholders during a seminar at the end of that year. This included revising the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) curriculum from two levels to three levels and ensuring that land release methodology and terminology was fully clarified.[15]

Information management

TMAC does not use Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), but has a central database using Excel and Arc Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping.

Gender and diversity

TMAC does not have a specific strategy or guidelines to ensure the gender and diversity mainstreaming in its mine action program. It stated that as a military unit, men staff and recruits outnumber the number of women staff. In 2019, 40% of TMAC staff were women, although mostly occupying administrative positions. From October 2019, TMAC had three senior women officers serving as the Deputy Chief of Special Affairs, the Deputy Chief of Coordination and Evaluation, and the Budget Officer, with a women Commander serving as Head of Administration and Personnel.[16]

Risk education management and coordination

Risk education management and coordination

Government focal points

TMAC

Coordination mechanisms

Monthly mine action meetings include risk education on the agenda

Risk education standards

Risk education standards included in TMAC NMAS but were undergoing revision

 

Coordination

TMAC is responsible for the coordination of risk education in Thailand, and all operators conduct risk education activities following the policies and NMAS of TMAC.

Risk education planning and implementation is discussed as part of the monthly mine action meetings held by TMAC. The meetings give the opportunity for operators to present progress and challenges and for TMAC to monitor and provide guidance on implementation.[17]

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) acts as a platform for the ASEAN member states to share experiences and best practice, and to conduct seminars, workshops, and trainings to enhance risk education efforts. TMAC has contributed to these ARMAC events.[18]

Strategies

Risk education is included within the five-year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan but with no details about targeting risk behaviors or a plan for the number of people who will be reached.[19]

National standards and guidelines

Risk education is included within the TMAC NMAS but was undergoing major revisions and translation. At the TMAC end-of-year seminar in 2019, stakeholders also agreed that mine signs should be in Thai, English, and the language of the relevant neighboring countries, and that the risk education chapter in the NMAS should be revised and updated. The COVID-19 pandemic also forced TMAC to adjust their risk education strategy and operation.[20]

Victim assistance management and coordination

Victim assistance management and coordination[21]

Government focal points

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEP)

Other focal points

TMAC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Coordination mechanisms

The National Sub-Committee on Victim Assistance, under the National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action, which includes TMAC; ministries of foreign affairs, public health, social development and human security, interior, and labor; DEP; NGOs

Plans/strategies

  • Fourth National Plan on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, 2017–2021
  • First Strategic Plan on Empowerment of Women with Disabilities, 2017–2021

 

Disability sector integration

Victim assistance is integrated into the broader legal framework, national plans, and programs for persons with disabilities, and is implemented under the umbrella of universal health coverage

Survivor inclusion and participation

There are related governmental and non-governmental agencies, including disabled people’s organizations, working to support the full participation of persons with disabilities in society, including mine victims

Note: NGOs=non-governmental organizations.

 

Coordination

The national victim assistance program is integrated into the national policy framework. Healthcare is managed by the Ministry of Public Health and the National Institute of Emergency Medicine, while the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security deals with the needs of persons with disabilities. Thailand seeks to ensure that all persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors, are entitled to the rights specified in its national act for persons with disabilities and updated national plans on the empowerment of persons with disabilities.[22]

Thailand regularly reports an overarching framework of plans and strategies relevant to victim assistance. These include: the National Plan on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the Strategic Plan on Empowerment of Women with Disabilities, the Provincial Plan on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the Disaster Management Plan for Persons with Disabilities, and the Strategic Plan for the Health Care System Development for Persons with Disabilities.[23]

Laws and policies

Under the national legal system, Thai citizens are entitled to receive routine health care and certain other services for persons with disabilities. The legislative measures that guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities include: the National Health security Act; the Emergency Medical Service Act; and The Persons with Disabilities Education Act. Thailand also has a Persons with Disabilities’ Quality of Life Promotion Act, which provides a comprehensive legal and institutional framework regarding rights and entitlements for persons with disabilities. The act was revised to decentralize the coordination of essential services to the local administrative authorities, which are closer to the communities.

Thai authorities were establishing more service centers for persons with disabilities in mine affected areas to ensure that mine victims in rural areas have equal access to government services as those living in towns and cities. Thailand established two types of Service Centers for persons with disabilities: Provincial Service Centers, operated by the central government, and General Service Centers, operated by the government and non-governmental agencies. In 2019, there were 77 Provincial Social Development and Human Security Offices nationwide providing services for persons with disabilities and referring them for further services as required.[24]

Impact

Contamination

Contamination overview (as of December 2019)[25]

Landmines

218.19km² (CHA: 14.55km² and SHA: 203.64km²)

Extent of contamination: Massive

Cluster munition remnants

None

Other ERW contamination

Unknown

Note: CHA=confirmed hazardous area; and SHA=suspected hazardous area.

 

Landmine contamination

At the end of 2019, Thailand had a total of 218.19km² of contaminated land in 9 provinces, of which 14.55km² are CHA and 203.64km² are SHA.[26] This is a significant reduction of 142km² from the estimated 2018 figure of 360km² and is the result of the ongoing survey process by TMAC to reach a realistic baseline of contamination.[27]

Casualties

Casualties overview

Casualties

 

All known mine/ ERW casualties (between 1978 and 2019)

3,882

 

Casualties in 2019

 

Annual total

 

10 (increase from 9 casualties in 2018)

 

 

Survival outcome

9 injured; 1 killed

 

Device type causing casualties

10 antipersonnel mines

 

Civilian status

5 civilians; 4 deminers; 1 military

 

Age and gender

10 adults (1 woman, 9 men)

 

 

Casualties in 2019: details

In 2019, 10 casualties were recorded by TMAC, with all the accidents caused by antipersonnel mines.[28] The casualties comprised five civilians, four deminers and one soldier on patrol. All were adults, with only one woman. Nine casualties were recorded in 2018, including six improvised mine casualties in southern Thailand. No improvised mine casualties were identified in 2019.

In response to accidents continuing to occur in the border areas, TMAC has revised its mine risk education approach to better reach those most at risk.[29]

The most comprehensive casualty data collection for Thailand remains the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS), which identified at least 3,468 casualties as of May 2001 (1,497 killed and 1,971 injured).[30] A survey completed in the beginning of 2009 identified 1,252 survivors in Thailand.[31] These figures are thought to differ from the higher number of injured persons reported in the LIS, in part as they include only Thai national residents in Thailand. TMAC has improved its data collection of casualties since 2014. Previous information was lost due to poor information management systems and staff rotation.[32] No cluster munition casualties were reported.

Addressing the impact

Mine action

Operators and service providers

Clearance operators

National

TMAC’s Humanitarian Mine Action Units (HMAU 1-4)

Thai Civilian Deminer Association (TDA)

International

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) since 2011

 

Clearance

Land release overview[33]

Landmine clearance in 2019

0.1km² cleared

Ordnance destroyed in 2019

2,677 antipersonnel mines

6 antivehicle mines

152 ERW

Landmine clearance in 2015–2019

2015: 2.04km²

2016: 0.39km²

2017: 0.42km²*

2018: 0.52km²

2019: 0.10km²

Total land cleared: 3.47km²

Progress

Landmine

On target. A total of 142.13km² of land was released during 2019, more than the projected 120.84km² in the five-year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan

* Figure for 2017 only includes TMAC operating results as recorded in Thailand’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report for calendar year 2018.

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war; and NTS = non-technical survey.

 

Land release: landmines

The Thailand LIS was conducted from September 2000 to May 2001 and identified 2,557km² of SHAs. In January 2016 TMAC and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) began a pilot project to re-survey suspected contaminated areas. Analysis of the findings showed that only between 0.22% to 13.5% of suspected areas were contaminated. Thailand has applied the 13.5% to all remaining SHAs to estimate that through NTS around 86.5% of SHAs could be cancelled.[34] This forms the basis for the five-year Article 5 deadline extension request from 2019 to 2023. TMAC has noted that the introduction of the land release methodology both increased its progress and was also less expensive than the traditional method of full clearance of all SHAs.[35]

In 2019 the amount of clearance was relatively small, at 0.1km², although 128.44km² of land were cancelled through NTS.[36] A further 13.59km² was released through technical survey. Thailand found and destroyed 2,677 landmines. In 2019 the provinces of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son were declared mine-free. Survey was conducted in 16 districts of 11 provinces.

The first phase of TMAC’s Five-Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan, projects 269km² to be released between 2019 and 2020, with the focus on NTS as part of the re-survey process. In 2020, TMAC will continue with NTS with the aim to release a further 154.3km².[37] The second phase of the plan, from November 2020 to October 2023, will focus on technical survey and clearance in the CHAs identified during the first phase.[38]

Border cooperation

The majority of Thailand’s remaining contaminated areas are along the Thailand-Cambodia border. In the past, the border areas have been difficult to access for clearance due to ongoing border disputes delaying border demarcation.[39]

The establishment of the ASEAN Humanitarian Mine Action Group in 2016 helped to promote cooperation in dealing with the landmine and ERW contamination in the region.[40] In addition, the Thailand-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) platform was established, co-chaired by the Thai Minister of Defence and the Cambodian Minister of Defence. The GBC agreed for TMAC and the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to undertake a pilot project to clear border land in the Thai province of Sa Kaeo and the Cambodian province of Banteay Meanchey. By the end of April 2020, TMAC had cleared 95,000m² and CMAC had cleared 192,069m². TMAC and CMAC operators maintain close coordination as clearance continues, and it was anticipated that this model of cooperation would continue to be used to enable demining on the border.[41]

Residual risk

TMAC plans to maintain the local risk education network to ensure reporting of suspicious items to the local authorities, community leaders, and related government agencies. The military combat engineers of the police EOD teams will undertake clearance of any residual contaminated areas.[42]

Deminer safety

The environment for deminers is relatively safe in Thailand with the main threats being armed illegal loggers, wild animals and extreme weather conditions including flash floods and lightning strikes in soils with high metal content.[43]

Risk education

Operators and service providers

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Government

TMAC

Risk education integrated with clearance and survey operations

National

Thai Civilian Deminer Associations

Risk education integrated with clearance and survey operations

International

NPA

Risk education integrated with clearance and survey operations

 

Beneficiary numbers

Beneficiary numbers

Operator

Men

Boys

Women

Girls

TMAC

8,463

10,528

8,317

9,684

HI

8,328

5,773

10,873

7,082

 

Implementation

Risk education in Thailand is implemented by TMAC in the contaminated areas bordering Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Most risk education in Thailand is undertaken together with ongoing survey, clearance and victim assistance activities.[44]

HI delivers risk education for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) from Myanmar in nine refugee camps based in Thailand.[45] HI risk education activities are combined with physical rehabilitation and social inclusion projects involving mine/ERW survivors. The focus of the risk education is on contamination in Myanmar, including improvised mines.

Target groups

TMAC targets three main groups of people they consider to be vulnerable to the threat of landmines. These are deminers, security forces, and people who access the forest areas.

Deminers are seen to be at risk because of operating in challenging areas with dense undergrowth which hampers the removal of mines. The security forces include border patrol police, rangers, forest rangers, and other security forces operating near or in mine affected areas. New recruits and staff recently posted to the area are seen to be the most at risk. People accessing the forest areas include those collecting forest products such as mushrooms, and those transiting the areas such as cross-border migrant workers.[46]

In the camps on the Thai border, refugees receive risk education about the landmine contamination in Myanmar. All the refugee populations are considered at risk as they often travel across the border either as part of the voluntary repatriation process or independently. Some refugees were born in the camps and are unaware of the mine threat in Myanmar.[47]

Delivery methods

TMAC provides risk education through certified risk education teams who conduct periodic school visits and village visits. Risk education messages are also disseminated in the local press and community radio broadcasts.[48]

TMAC also supports local risk education networks from mine affected areas who are trained by the Mine Risk Education Training Center. The trained representatives disseminate risk education messages and inform the local authorities if landmines or unexploded ordnance are found. Social media applications are used to deliver messages to the network and to coordinate activities.[49] TMAC follows up with the community networks through occasional village meetings to ensure people understand the landmine situation and safety measures.[50] As of 2019 there were eight active risk education networks, of which four were set up in 2018 and four in 2019.[51] The networks coordinate with TMAC’s Humanitarian Mine Action Units.

In January 2019 TMAC held an awareness campaign on Thai Children’s day to deliver risk education messages to children, with events held in Bangkok and in mine affected areas.[52]

During holidays, such as Thai New Year, when people are on the move, TMAC dispatched mobile risk education teams to the mine-affected areas along the commuting routes, especially near the border areas to ensure people used the safe paths.[53]

In 2020, TMAC partnered with the Village Health Volunteers passing on COVID-19 related messages in order to integrate risk education messages in affected areas.[54]

As part of its risk education campaign in the Thai border camps, HI produced a drama film in 2019, based on the true story of a landmine survivor and promoting risk education and social inclusion messages.[55]

Marking

TMAC has improved the posting of mine hazard warning signs in contaminated areas with tri-lingual warning messages in Thai, English, and the languages of the neighboring countries.[56]

Victim assistance

Victim assistance providers and activities

Providers and activities

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Government

Ministry of Public Health

Health care facilities in mine-affected areas and a network of emergency response teams

Ministry of Development and Human Security

Community-based program providing social support for persons with disabilities

National Health Security Office

Funds the provision of prosthetic and other mobility devices and manages individual rehabilitation programs for persons with disabilities

Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center

Free prostheses, assistive devices, wheelchairs, and other aids for persons with disabilities through hospitals

Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics

International bachelor of prosthetic and orthotics program

TMAC

Visits to mine survivors and care packages

National

Prostheses Foundation of HRH the Princess Mother

Prostheses and assistive devices provided free-of-charge

 

Major developments in 2019–2020

Needs assessment

In 2020, Thailand reported that figures for landmine victims have not yet been disaggregated and are still pending research.[57]

Medical care and rehabilitation

The remoteness of the mine contaminated areas in Thailand have created challenges to providing rapid and timely on-site emergency medical services to mine victims. The National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) and TMAC collaborate to provide on-site emergency medical service to mine victims, including deminers. The NIEM local emergency medical units, hospitals, and local emergency responder networks are on standby during mine clearance operations so that they can respond rapidly in the event of an accident. The NIEM also coordinates with the hospitals, which are professionally trained and equipped to deal with explosive injuries.[58] In 2009 the Monitor first identified that no system was in place for securing safe access of emergency personnel to casualties in mined areas.[59] In August 2009 the NIEM conducted the first landmine assistance emergency training in Chanthaburi province.[60] Training and coordination for emergency access to casualties has been ongoing for over a decade.

Since 1996, the Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health, has organized and promoted community-based rehabilitation (CBR) for persons with disabilities including mine victims. This has included research, support to CBR activities in 15 hospitals in four regions and helping reintegration of persons with disabilities through Disability Service Centers.[61]

Thailand also promotes peer-to-peer assistance for mine victims and persons with disabilities through provision of physical rehabilitation services with the participation of the local communities. Caregivers and volunteers in communities are provided with primary health care training.[62]

In 2020 the Prostheses Foundation provided training for personnel while establishing royal prostheses factories at Ban Klam Hospital, Ban Kruat Hospital, Phang Nga Hospital and Suvarnabhumi Hospital.[63]

The Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics is part of the Mahidol University and operates under the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital. It provides domestic and international degree programs. It also has two on-site rehabilitation clinics, a standard care clinic at the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center, and high-end prosthetic devices available at the private advanced care clinic of the Center of Excellence of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CEPO). The latter is a collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine and the Scandinavian Orthopaedic Laboratory.[64]

Human Study e.V and the ISPO signed a partnership and cooperation agreement with the Medical Faculty of the Mahidol University in Bangkok in 2013. Together with the Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics are implementing a Blended Distance Learning Bachelor Program.[65] Among other international students participation, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in cooperation with Human Study, Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics and Mahidol University, produced the first blended (including online) distance bachelor for Afghan students through the program.[66]

HI was the only organization providing victim assistance in the nine refugees camps on the Thai-Myanmar border.[67]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

In 2019 there were 2,414 disability service centers providing psychological and physical rehabilitation, supporting social inclusion, and raising awareness about disability rights and vocational training.

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security utilizes a volunteer community-based network to help identify persons with disabilities and their needs, to support registration for disability identification cards, and to assist with communication and planning. Annually, two teams of professionals and volunteers at each community learning center provide a service to at least 500 persons with disabilities.[68] The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security volunteers, used their experience in assisting in communities to visit and collect the data from persons with disabilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.[69]

All persons with disabilities registered with the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security receive an allowance of approximately US$33 per month. They can also apply for an interest-free loan from the disability fund to start up their career or business. Tax exemption is applicable to persons with disabilities, caregivers, and employers who hire persons with disabilities and provide an accessible workplace. There were over 1.7 million registered persons with disabilities in Thailand. In the 27 mine-contaminated provinces (historical and current), there are 357,705 registered persons with disabilities. Thailand also funds a personal assistance service for persons with disabilities for a period of one year.[70]

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Thailand provided all registered persons with disabilities with a THB1,000 (approximately US$33) cash transfer as initial financial assistance. The Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities offered a 12-month debt moratorium for persons with disabilities or caregivers to relieve the economic impact caused by COVID-19 restriction measures. In addition, a financial aid of THB2,000 (approximately $66) for crisis-affected vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, children and older persons on a case-by-case basis.[71]

The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security have worked to raise awareness among government agencies and private sectors to increase the rate of employment of persons with disabilities, as required by the legal quota.[72]



[1] Wassana Nanaum, “Landmine Clearance to finish 'by 2023': Pornpipat”, Bangkok Post, 26 December 2019, and response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[2] TMAC, “5 Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan 2018–2023,” 15 March 2019, p. 13.

[3] Khouth Sophak Chakrya, “CMAC, Thais join forces to clear mines at border provinces,” Phnom Penh Post, 24 September 2020.

[4] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[5] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 9.

[6] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hser Htee Praikammasit, Coordinator, HI Thailand, 22 May 2020.

[7] Statement of Thailand, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[8] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] TMAC, “5 Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan 2018–2023,” 15 March 2019.

[13] Ibid., p.13.

[14] Ibid., p. 22.

[15] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] TMAC, “5 Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan 2018–2023,” 15 March 2019, p. 17.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[21] Statement of Thailand, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 19 December 2017.

[22] Statement of Thailand, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 27 November 2019.

[23] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 18.

[24] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 18.

[25] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2018), Form D, p. 3.

[28] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 14.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Survey Action Center and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Landmine Impact Survey: Kingdom of Thailand,” 2001, p. 18.

[31] Handicap International (HI), “Mine Victim Survey and Situation Analysis: Findings, Analyses and Recommendations,” Bangkok, June 2009, p. 3.

[32] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[33] Ibid.; TMAC, “5 Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan 2018–2023,” 15 March 2019, p. 13; and Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 3.

[34] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, March 2017, p. 8.

[35] Ibid., p. 7.

[36] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 3.

[37] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[38] TMAC, “5 Year Humanitarian Mine Action Plan 2018–2023,” 15 March 2019, p. 13.

[39] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, March 2017, p. 7.

[40] Ibid., p. 12.

[41] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 9.

[45] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hser Htee Praikammasit, Coordinator, HI Thailand, 22 May 2020.

[46] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[47] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hser Htee Praikammasit, Coordinator, HI Thailand, 22 May 2020.

[48] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 9.

[49] Ibid., p. 11.

[50] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Flt. Lt. Chotibon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Sittipol Nimnuan, Director general, TMAC, 2 June 2020.

[51] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 10.

[52] Ibid., p. 9.

[53] Ibid., p. 10.

[54] ARMAC, “Key Discussions from a Regional Webinar on Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in ASEAN in a Time of Pandemic,” 19 May 2020.

[55] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hser Htee Praikammasit, Coordinator, HI Thailand, 22 May 2020.

[56] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), pp. 9 and 10, and ARMAC, “Exploring Mine/ERW Risk Education in ASEAN,” February 2020, p. 26.

[57] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 13.

[58] Ibid., p. 14.

[59] Interview with Tripop Trimanka, Field Operations Manager, PRO, Sa Kaeo province, 7 April 2009; and interview with Dr. Prachaksvich Lebnak, Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, in Geneva, 27 May 2009.

[60] Email from Dr. Prachaksvich Lebnak, Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, 11 April 2010; and Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, “Training plans help mine victims: a new dimension of medical emergency.”

[61] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 15.

[62] Ibid.

[64] Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, “One Mission, Two Clinics,” online reference no longer available; Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, “Welcome to Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics;”.and CEPO, “About CEPO,” 2020.

[65] Human Study e.V, “Who We Help: Thailand,” undated.

[66] ICRC, “Bangkok, Mahidol University,” 17 July 2018.

[67] Email from Fabrice Vandeputte, Regional Programme Director, HI, 15 May 2020.

[68] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 15.

[69] Woranut On-ubol, Government of Thailand, Foreign Affairs Division of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security “Good practices from the Government of Thailand,” Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Outcomes of the ESCAP webinar: “Protecting and Empowering Persons with Disabilities in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” 15 May 2020.

[70] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), pp. 13 and 16–17.

[71] Woranut On-ubol, Government of Thailand, Foreign Affairs Division of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security “Good practices from the Government of Thailand,” ESCAP, Outcomes of the ESCAP webinar: “Protecting and Empowering Persons with Disabilities in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” 15 May 2020. Average exchange rate for December 2020: THB30.03=US$1, Oanda Historical Exchange Rates.

[72] Thailand Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 17.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Kingdom of Thailand signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 27 November 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 May 1999.

Thailand has not enacted domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty.[1]

Thailand submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report in April 2020, covering calendar year 2019.[2]

Thailand has attended all of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Review Conferences, held in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019. It has also attended most of the treaty’s meetings of States Parties and many of the intersessional meetings. Thailand was present at the Fourth Review Conference in Oslo, Norway in November 2019, and at the intersessional meetings held online in June–July 2020 as part of the Committee on Victim Assistance. Thailand has regularly co-chaired committees of the treaty.

In 2019, Thailand undertook two universalization activities alongside Myanmar, and undertook international cooperation and assistance activities with South Korea, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United States (US), Norway, and Japan.[3]

Production, transfer, stockpile destruction, and retention

Thailand states that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Thailand previously imported antipersonnel mines from China, Italy, the US, and the former Yugoslavia. It completed destruction of 337,725 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 24 April 2003.

In its Article 7 report submitted in 2020, Thailand stated that on the 6 August 2019 it destroyed all 3,133 antipersonnel mines that it had previously retained for training purposes in a public event, with witnesses from the diplomatic community and civil society.[4] Previously, in its Article 7 report submitted in 2019, Thailand stated that as of the end of 2018 it retained 3,133 antipersonnel mines for training purposes.[5]

Thailand is not known to have undertaken physical modifications of its Claymore mine stockpile to ensure use only in command-detonated mode. Officials have previously stated that all units have received orders that Claymore mines are to be used only in command-detonated mode.[6]

Use

The use of command-detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been a feature of the insurgency in southern Thailand.[7] On 2 July 2018, Suthin Haewkhuntod, an ethnic Thai Buddhist latex tapper in Yala province’s Krong Penang district, lost his foot after he stepped on a landmine emplaced by insurgents on the rubber plantation where he worked. Two other ethnic Thai Buddhist latex tappers, Wipawan Plodkaenthong and Chutipon Namwong, were seriously wounded by landmines, in Yala’s Yaha district on 28 June and in Muang district on 2 July.[8]

There have been no allegations of new use of antipersonnel mines on the Cambodian border with Thailand since March 2013.[9]



[1] In April 2018, Thailand reported under national implementation that it had “re-established the National Committee for Mine Action under the Order of the Office of the Prime Minister with the Prime Minister as its Chairperson.” For further national implementation measures, the report directs readers to Thailand’s 2015 Article 7 report, which states, “Thailand continues to consider regulations that will streamline and improve national implementation of the AP Mine Ban Convention.” Thailand provided the same update in its Article 7 report covering calendar year 2018.

[2] Thailand has provided updated Article 7 reports every year since its initial transparency report was submitted in November 1999, except for its annual report in 2003.

[3] During the Fourth Review Conference in November 2019, representatives of the Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) briefed the Myanmar delegation on the overall mine action situation in Thailand as well as the positive impacts of becoming a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. This is considered part of Thailand’s universalization effort, which is in line with the Oslo Action Plan #11. Earlier in 2019, Thailand hosted a briefing and site visit for senior Myanmar representatives from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs to discuss organization for mine action. Thailand also received requests from South Korea to share its experiences on the establishment of a humanitarian mine action organization, resulting in the Director General of TMAC giving a briefing on mine action to South Korean and US delegates to the International Meeting of Mine Action National Directors in February 2019. For details, see Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, 30 April 2020.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2019.

[6] Interview with Lt.-Gen. Deemongkol, TMAC, Bangkok, 19 March 2009. TMAC stated this in 2007 as well as in 2008. In its Article 7 report for 1999, Thailand reported that it had 6,117 M18 and M18A1 Claymore mines in stock.

[7] Improvised landmines are explosive devices made out of locally available materials that are designed to detonate due to the proximity or activity of a human being. Such devices are banned under the Mine Ban Treaty.

[8] Teeranai Charuvastra, “Landmine Wounds Deep South Farmer,” Khaosod, 2 July 2018; and Mariyam Ahmad, “Thailand: Landmine Injures Fifth Rubber Farm Worker in a Week,” Benar News, 5 July 2018. See also, Human Rights Watch, “Insurgents Use Landmines in South,” 4 July 2018.

[9] Previously, in March 2013, three Thai soldiers were injured by what the Thai military described as newly planted mines near the Ta Kwai Temple in Phanom Dong Rak district. Cambodia investigated, and in its report to States Parties stated that it had found the mines to be old, dating from the Cambodian civil war. Other allegations made by Thailand of Cambodian use of antipersonnel mines on the Cambodian-Thai border in 2008 and 2009 were never resolved. In October 2008, two Thai soldiers stepped on antipersonnel mines while on patrol in disputed territory between Thailand and Cambodia, near the World Heritage Site of Preah Vihear. Thai authorities maintained that the area was previously clear of mines and that the mines had been newly placed by Cambodian forces. Cambodia denied the charges and stated that the Thai soldiers had entered Cambodian territory in an area known to contain antipersonnel mines and were injured by mines laid during previous armed conflicts. In April 2009, another Thai soldier was reportedly wounded by an antipersonnel mine at the same location during further armed conflict between the two countries. In September 2009, then-Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen. Anupong Paochinda, stated that Cambodian troops were laying fresh mines along the disputed areas and close to routes where Thai soldiers make regular patrols. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2009, pp. 243–244 and 719–720; and also ICBL, “Country Profile: Cambodia: Mine Ban Policy,” 6 August 2010.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 16 November 2020

The Kingdom of Thailand has not reported any national contributions to its mine action program since 2008, when it provided US$3.2 million.

In 2019, Norway and Japan contributed nearly $600,000 toward non-technical survey, clearance, and risk education activities.[1]

Summary of international contributions: 2015–2019[2]

Year

International contributions

(US$)

2019

595,870

2018

808,698

2017

331,160

2016

1,116,036

2015

720,946

Total

3,572,710

 


[1] Japan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 March 2020; and email from Ingrid Schøyen, Senior Advisor, Humanitarian Affairs, Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 5 June 2020. Average exchange rates for 2019: NOK8.8001=US$1; and ¥109.02=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2020.

[2] See previous Monitor reports.