+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Multimedia 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Donate now
Stay informed
 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
Myanmar, Landmine Monitor Report 2008

Myanmar/Burma[1]

Mine Ban Treaty status

Not a State Party

Use

Government and NSAG use continued in 2007 and 2008.

Stockpile

Unknown

Contamination

Antipersonnel and antivehicle mines, ERW

Estimated area of contamination

Extensive

Demining progress in 2007

None reported

Mine/ERW casualties in 2007

Total: 438 (2006: 243)

Mines: 409 (2006: 232)

Unknown: 29 (2006: 11)

Casualty analysis

Killed: 47 (2006: 20)

Injured: 338 (2006: 223)

Unknown: 53 (2006: 0)

Estimated mine/ERW survivors

Unknown, but substantial

RE capacity

Unchanged—inadequate

Availability of services in 2007

Inadequate

Funding in 2007

International: $185,000 (2006: none reported)

Key developments since May 2007

2007 saw a very substantial increase in reported casualties, despite government claims of reduced conflict. ICRC support of government rehabilitation centers was suspended.

Mine Ban Policy

The Union of Myanmar has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar participated in the Ottawa Convention Implementation and Universalization Workshop held in Bali, Indonesia, on 25–27 February 2008, where it made the following statement:[2]

“Myanmar, although non-state party so far, [has] been following the progress of the Convention, especially on the international mine action efforts and implementation of the Convention worldwide... We used to have 18 major armed groups conflicting with the Government at one time. Now, 17 armed groups have been returned back to the legal fold... There is only one major armed group left and we are [in] serious negotiation with them now. Since 17 armed groups are now at peace, armed conflict with them [has] ceased already. That means landmine laying in all these areas [is] out of the question... To conclude, peace is spreading in all areas of Myanmar and there will be gradual steps opened for us to proceed on important humanitarian issues.”[3]

The Myanmar representative to that meeting responded positively to a suggestion of more engagement with ICBL on the issue.[4] Also in February 2008, a delegation from the ICBL met with embassies of some Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in Yangon, encouraging them to engage constructively with Myanmar authorities on the humanitarian aspect of the landmine issue. The Halt Mine Use in Burma campaign, which was launched by the ICBL in 2003, distributed 1,200 copies of the Burmese-language translation of the country report in Landmine Monitor Report 2007.

In June 2008, the border security forces of Bangladesh and Myanmar met and proposed the removal of mines along their common border.[5]

Myanmar was one of 18 countries that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 62/41 on 5 December 2007, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Myanmar did not attend as an observer the Eighth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Jordan in November 2007, or the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in June 2008.

Myanmar is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but attended as an observer the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention held in Geneva in November 2007. It did not attend the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions in May 2008.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Myanmar Defense Products Industries, a state enterprise at Ngyaung Chay Dauk in Pegu (Bago) division, produces fragmentation, blast and non-detectable antipersonnel landmines.[6] Authorities in Myanmar have not offered any information about the types and quantities of antipersonnel mines stockpiled. Landmine Monitor has reported that, in addition to domestic production, Myanmar has obtained and used antipersonnel mines of Chinese, Indian, Italian, Soviet, US, and other, unidentified manufacture.[7] Myanmar is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines, but has no formal moratorium or ban in place.

Use

Myanmar’s military forces and non-state armed groups (NSAGs) have used antipersonnel mines consistently throughout the long-running civil war. They continued to use mines in 2007 and 2008 in Karen (Kayin), Karenni (Kayah), Mon, and Shan states, as well as in Pegu and Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) divisions.[8]

The August 2007 report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar to the UN General Assembly raised concern about the impact of the use of landmines in the country: “Among the most worrisome features of operations in the ethnic nationality areas is their disproportionate effect on civilian populations. In addition to the heightened risks posed by…anti-personnel mines, the killing, terrorizing or displacement of civilians are common.”[9]

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), an organization providing medical and other assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in some conflict areas, has reported numerous incidents of antipersonnel mine-laying by the Myanmar Army, including the following. In August 2007, Myanmar Army Division 88 entered Lay Kay village along the border of Toungoo and Muthraw districts and planted antipersonnel mines in and around the village to deter return of the villagers; this resulted in one casualty among the villagers.[10] In October 2007, army units laid mines in Yawkee village, Mone township in Pegu division.[11] In November 2007, army units laid mines in Lerwah village in Kyaukkyi township, Pegu division.[12]

The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) reports the following incidents of antipersonnel mine use attributed to the army. On 4 June 2007, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) soldiers from the 60th Light Infantry Division ordered villagers in Kywe-chan, Thabyegon, Than Bo, Aung Soe Moe villages not to go out of their villages as the soldiers had laid mines around them. On 15 June 2007, SPDC soldiers from the 599th Light Infantry Battalion forcibly relocated villagers in Hsa Leh to Shway Bpaung Kya and prevented their return by laying landmines within the abandoned village. On 17 June 2007, SPDC soldiers from the 599th Light Infantry Battalion planted landmines near S’leh village to deter villagers from going to the forest in search of food, resulting in three casualties. All the above took place in Nyaunglebin district. On 13 August 2007, SPDC soldiers laid mines in Leh Po Der village in Papun district to deter villagers who had fled the village from returning, resulting in one casualty.[13]

According to the opposition Karen National Union (KNU), the SPDC has continued to use landmines in ethnic Karen areas, including the following incidents. On 30 January 2007, SPDC troops based in Htee-saw-meh military camp planted landmines in the surrounding area and banned villagers from going to work. On 4 June 2007, SPDC troops from Infantry Battalion 60 ordered villagers from Kywe-chan, Thabyegon, Aung Soe Moe and Than Bo not to go outside of the villages, stating that 250 landmines had been planted on their perimeters.[14]

The Network Media Group reported that local villagers in Loi-Kaw township informed them that mines were laid by SPDC 530th Light Infantry Battalion based in Loi Lin Lay village in late July 2007 around water springs two miles (3.2km) northwest of Nam Mahuu village to disrupt insurgent movement.[15] In November 2007, Kaowao News cited KNU sources who stated that SPDC units laid mines along the Kawkareik and Thingan Nyi Naung highways.[16]

Non-state armed groups

Many ethnic rebel organizations exist within the country. Landmine Monitor has identified at least 17 NSAGs that have used antipersonnel mines in Myanmar since 1999. Some of these groups have ceased to exist or no longer use mines.

Six current and former armed opposition groups have unilaterally renounced the use of antipersonnel mines by signing the Deed of Commitment administered by the NGO Geneva Call.[17] These include the Chin National Front/Army (CNF/A), which Landmine Monitor had identified as both a producer and user of antipersonnel mines.

NSAG use

Armed conflict between different ethnic armed groups and the SPDC appeared to decline. However, landmine use continued to be a fact of life for many villagers and IDPs. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the Karenni Army, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Shan State Army-South (SSA), the Monland Restoration Party, the United Wa State Army, and several other NSAGs continued to use antipersonnel mines in 2007 and early 2008.

In addition, evidence has been found of use by one armed group not previously identified as a user of antipersonnel mines. According to an organization working in Shan State, the Southern Shan State Army (SSS) of Wa warlord Maha Ja laid mines near the Doi Taileng SSA camp.[18]

The SPDC stated that it recovered mines from surrendering soldiers from the KNLA, Karenni Army, and SSA during 2007.[19]

The KHRG reported that villagers in Papun, Toungoo, and Pa-an districts confirmed KNLA mine use near their villages. A villager in Thaton district said that the DKBA 1st Battalion laid landmines near his village that caused casualties. A villager in Toungoo district said that the KNLA had laid mines in the mountains and valley nearby.[20]

In October 2007, the Monland Restoration Party admitted that they used mines against SPDC troops but denied responsibility for civilian casualties in the area.[21]

There are unconfirmed reports of mine use by other NSAGs.[22] Various breakaway factions of the KNLA remain armed and are alleged to continue to use mines.[23] Some NSAGs that previously used mines appear to no longer be militarily active, and some have turned to banditry. In December 2007, the KNLA is alleged to have used an antivehicle mine in an inter-factional attack on the DKBA, which caused civilian casualties on a passenger bus.[24]

NSAG production, transfer and stockpiling

Landmine Monitor has previously reported that the KNLA, the DKBA, the United Wa State Army, and the Karenni Army have produced blast and fragmentation mines. Some also make Claymore-type mines, mines with anti-handling fuzes and explosive booby-traps. Armed groups in Myanmar have also acquired mines by lifting SPDC-laid mines from the ground, seizing SPDC stocks, and from the clandestine arms market.[25] Some of the opposition organizations that have non-hostility pacts with the SPDC still possess antipersonnel mines.[26]

The Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), which had previously stated it possessed 40 to 50 antipersonnel mines has now stated that the mines are held by another faction, which has not surrendered them for destruction.[27] The Lahu Democratic Front has informed Geneva Call that it has started to destroy its stockpile of 300–400 antipersonnel mines, as per its pledge under the Deed of Commitment, with an initial destruction of 34 mines.[28]

Landmine/ERW Problem

Landmines in Myanmar are concentrated on its borders with Bangladesh, India and Thailand, and in eastern parts of the country marked by decades-old struggles for autonomy by ethnic minorities. However, 10 of Myanmar’s 14 states and divisions suffer from some degree of mine contamination, primarily from antipersonnel mines. Karen state, Karenni state, Shan state, and Tenasserim division contain the most heavily mine-affected areas. A large minefield in Rakhine state runs the length of the land border with Bangladesh. Some known mined areas exist in Pegu and Mandalay divisions, and Mon, Chin and Kachin states.[29] Myanmar is also affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW).[30]

Ethnic minority communities in eastern states bordering Thailand reported that government troops continued to use mines in 2007 and 2008 as part of an offensive against minority anti-government armies, adding to the problem in what was already the most mine-affected part of the country.[31] Human rights organizations allege that the army and allied armed groups laid large numbers of mines in order to separate armed groups from their civilian populations and as part of a “concerted policy denying people their livelihoods and food.”[32] Military wings of ethnic groups and ordinary villagers also emplaced mines to hinder the movement of government troops.[33]

Mine contamination was reported in eastern Shan state around Kalaw, the area from Mong-Pan to Mongton, and east of Lashio. In northern and central Karen state, the roadsides of new roads built into areas of ethnic minority insurgency are frequently mined to prevent unauthorized population movements.[34]

Mine warning signs and fencing indicate the presence of mines underneath power pylons in both Karenni and Karen states carrying electricity from the Baluchaung (Lawpita) hydroelectric power station. Signs and fencing have also been placed along the Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline, which runs from the Total Pipeline Center in Yebyu township of Tenasserim division through the lower part of Mon state to Myaingkalay village, Pa-an township, in Karen state. Mines were allegedly laid along this pipeline after attacks on it by the KNLA in 2002 and 2003. Mined areas are sometimes fenced using bamboo or brush.[35]

Mine contamination has prevented proposed development projects in some border areas, including near gem mining sites and on land earmarked for infrastructure projects such as the Baluchaung hydroelectric power station in central Karenni state.[36]

Demining

No humanitarian mine clearance programs are known to exist in Myanmar. Some sporadic military clearance and village demining have been reported in previous years.[37]

The FBR include a course on mine identification and emergency clearance procedures for their relief teams, but state that mines encountered on their missions are not removed by FBR personnel but by anti-junta militia. FBR teams encountered mines at least 20 times during 2007.[38]

‘Atrocity’ demining[39]

The International Labour Organization has expressed concern over allegations of civilians in Myanmar being forced to carry or remove mines against their will, some of whom suffered “mutilations and violent deaths occurring during mine-clearing operations.”[40] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported in 2007 that “under the prison system set up by the government, every year thousands of detainees have been forced to support the armed forces by serving as porters. This institutionalized and widespread practice has frequently led to the abuse of detainees and exposed them to the dangers of armed conflict.”[41]

As in previous years, Landmine Monitor received credible reports of civilians being forced by the military to clear brush in suspected mined areas, or to carry provisions (known as portering) for the military in areas where there is a mine hazard, or to remove mines without training or protective equipment.[42] The FBR reported that the 66th Light Infantry Division forced 274 people from 13 villages to cut back vegetation and clear mines along the Kler La-Buh Hsa Kee road in Karen state.[43] In June 2007, a Myanmar Army unit allegedly forced people from a village near where a KNLA attack took place to guide them as they laid mines.[44] In July 2007, a villager forced to serve as a guide for an army unit escaped after a soldier stepped on a landmine.[45] Also in July, two people were injured by landmines in the Kler La area of Toungoo district while being forced to carry rations for the army. They were reported to be part of a contingent of 100 villagers from Kaw Thay Der and Klay Soe Kee villages who were forced to walk in front of soldiers from the army’s 566th Light Infantry Brigade while carrying rations to a new army camp at Po Baw Soe.[46] In December 2007, eight people were injured while repairing a fence around what appears to have been a minefield laid by the military at the base of an electrical transmission pylon.[47]

The KNU states that forced labor for mine clearance is widespread and has alleged the following incidents: On 5 January 2007, government troops forced villagers to clear landmines between Thapanchaung and Htee-lo in Toungoo district with bullock carts. One of the carts was destroyed and two people on it killed when it struck a landmine.[48] On 16 January 2007, also in Toungoo, the army’s 68th and 69th Infantry Battalions forced villagers from Play-hsa-lo, Yeh-lo and Plaw-baw-doe to go in front as landmine sweepers.[49] On 15 February 2007, two Kaw-thay-doe villagers were injured when their truck detonated a mine while clearing the road.[50] In March 2008, villagers from Mawko village were forced to walk in front of army road building equipment. One villager was injured after stepping on a mine and was sent to Tantabin Hospital.[51] On 13 March 2007, in Mergui district, a Kaungmon villager was injured by a landmine while on forced labor for the Koethehlu army camp.[52] On 16 April 2007, in Nyaunglaybin district, three villagers were injured when a porter stepped on a mine near the army camp in Kweedeko.[53] It has not been possible for Landmine Monitor to verify these reports.

Marking and fencing

Marking and fencing of mined areas has reportedly increased but does not occur consistently. Areas known to be fenced and marked have been observed near major roads in Tenasserim division, along the Kanbauk-Myaingkalay gas pipeline in both Karen and Mon states, and along electrical transmission pylons in both Karenni and Karen states which originate at the Baluchaung hydroelectric power plant.[54]

As previously reported, the Myanmar Army frequently constructs a woven bamboo fence painted white, which can denote the boundary of military camps or mined areas near military camps, as well as other strategic mined areas such as bridge approaches. In some instances, army units have issued verbal and written warnings to villagers living near areas where they have laid mines. Most armed groups claim to issue verbal warnings of the areas they mine.[55]

Landmine/ERW Casualties[56]

In 2007, at least 438 new mine/ERW casualties were reported in Myanmar (47 killed, 338 injured, and 53 unknown), based on media reports and information provided by NGOs and other organizations. All but nine were civilians; two were Thai nationals. For most of the casualties gender and age details were unknown (298). However, among casualties with such details most were males (124) including nine soldiers and five boys; 16 were females (three girls). Antipersonnel mines caused 407 casualties, antivehicle mines caused two, and unknown or unconfirmed devices caused 29. For 147, the activity at the time of the incident was known. Most common were: foraging for forest and jungle produce or collecting wood (46), traveling (22), agriculture (19), portering (18), and forced labor (16). At least five people were injured during “atrocity” demining. The greatest number of casualties were reported in Pegu division (95), Karen state (59) and Karenni state (11).[57] The contested district of Toungoo (Pegu division) accounted for 59% of all casualties where details about the district location were known
(68 of 116).

This represents a significant increase from the 243 casualties reported in 2006 (20 killed and 223 injured) and the 231 casualties reported in 2005 (five killed, 225 injured, one unknown).[58] However, due to the lack of any systematic data collection system within the country, the reluctance of all combatant groups to share information for security reasons, and restrictions placed on international organizations, under-reporting is certain. The government has not released any information on military casualties due to mine incidents.

Media articles appearing in the government-run “New Light of Myanmar” provided details for 105 casualties in 2007. The Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007 provided 67 detailed casualty accounts. The Back Pack Health Workers Team operating inside armed group-controlled areas in Mon, Karen, Karenni and Shan states reported 51 new landmine casualties. The KHRG reported 10 new mine casualties from May to December 2007 in areas they monitored. The ICRC’s War Wounded Program reported 118 mine survivors.[59] Landmine Monitor identified 17 casualties and other anonymous sources reported 23 more casualties.

Casualties continued to be reported in 2008, with 25 casualties (four killed and 21 injured) as of 28 April. The casualties occurred in Karen and Mon states, and in Tenasserim and Pegu divisions. The majority of casualties occurred in Pegu (20) and 16 of these were recorded in Toungoo district.[60]

Data collection

There is no official data on the total number of mine/ERW casualties or incidents. Myanmar has a national health management information system which compiles health and hospital data from all states and divisions,[61] but the ministry does not separate mine/ERW injuries from other traumatic injuries.[62] Systematic collection of casualty data has become more difficult since the announcement of new rules on the scope and activities of international NGOs within the country. These rules prohibit international organizations in the country from participating in surveys not authorized within their original contract with the SPDC.[63]

The Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP) and the Karen Department for Health and Welfare (KDHW) conducted a survey of dangerous areas and casualties, and collected information on 666 mine casualties as of November 2007.[64] No further details were available.

Several organizations working in border areas or neighboring countries collect data on mine casualties in Myanmar, but they lack common data collection standards or a unified database for verification and elimination of duplications. However, many casualties remain unreported due to the limited scope of data collection and a lack of access to conflict-affected areas of the country.

Landmine/ERW Risk Education

Despite a large mine problem and significant mine/ERW casualties, mine/ERW risk education (RE) is either non-existent or inadequate in areas with reported casualties. Activities are carried out on an ad hoc basis by NGOs and local community-based organizations (CBOs).[65] Local activities appear to have slightly increased compared to previous years. However, no information was available about the methods and materials used, or the geographic extent of these activities.

There are no state-run RE activities although there is sporadic evidence that the SPDC put up “Beware mines” signs near military camps.[66] Previously unreleased data from a Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) survey among IDPs living in mined areas revealed that few people were informed of the presence of mines by warning signs placed by the authorities or opposition armed groups. Knowledge passed primarily by word of mouth among villagers or due to casualties occurring. In some areas, verbal warnings from combatants were a source of knowledge. In Karenni state, more IDPs stated they knew of a mined area due to verbal warnings by the SPDC. However, in Pegu division IDPs reported being informed through verbal warnings from NSAGs.[67]

In 2006, the CIDKP and the KDHW RE office started an RE program in rebel-controlled and contested sections of Karen state in parallel with the dangerous area and casualty survey.[68] The Kawthoolei Department of Health and Welfare runs an RE program in KNU-accessed areas of Karen state and has placed some warning signs to identify mined areas.[69] The NGO Shanti Sena also continued RE in 2007.[70]

RE activities are not conducted by international organizations or the UN.

Victim Assistance

The government-owned newspaper “The New Light of Myanmar” carried several reports of assistance to new mine casualties in 2007, but the kind of assistance was not mentioned.[71] Assistance to civilian mine/ERW survivors and persons with disabilities continued to be marginal in Myanmar due to many years of neglect, and very few services existed. Government services were often limited to the military elite. CBOs and NGOs working on a voluntary, charitable basis had limited funds, capacity and freedom to operate. Most persons with disabilities were cared for within the family network.[72] Severe restrictions or prohibitions impeded the ability of many international organizations to provide assistance and protection to populations within conflict areas during 2007.[73]

Myanmar’s health sector suffered from inadequate funding, corruption, a lack of skilled staff and medicine, and ranked one of the worst in Asia.[74] Health facilities were lacking in many parts of the country, and the existing ones were rudimentary, especially in the mine-affected border states. The only assistance provided in these areas was by NGOs and CBOs working across the Thai-Myanmar border, which have insufficient resources to meet the demand. The high cost of healthcare was the biggest obstacle to receiving treatment; ongoing conflict and travel limitations further hampered access to services.[75]

In November 2007, the Myanmar Army’s 599th Light Infantry Brigade allegedly ordered five villages to pay in total 50,000 Kyat (about US$40) each to provide medical care for a villager who stepped on a landmine while building the Myanmar Army camp at Plaw Pa Taw.[76] The military had its own facilities which were believed to be better equipped and better funded than the civilian system. Restrictions on the possession of medication have also been imposed in conflict areas for fear of passing medication on to NSAGs.[77] Reportedly, the military engaged in destroying medical supplies intended for civilian populations and arrested, detained and killed medical workers in rural areas of the country.[78]

In May 2008, destruction caused by cyclone Nargis further devastated existing services (50% of health centers were damaged or destroyed in affected areas) and very few international organizations were allowed access to the country for several weeks after the cyclone to provide assistance.[79]

Physical rehabilitation and prosthetics were available to mine survivors through national rehabilitation centers, some of which were supported by the ICRC and the Myanmar Red Cross. However, ICRC support of Ministry of Health and Ministry of Defense centers was suspended. The Myanmar Red Cross has also stopped referring patients to government-run medical facilities.[80] Following the reduction in assistance provided by the ICRC, access to services became difficult for persons with disabilities due to the cost of transportation to the centers, food, and treatment.[81]

There are no known psychosocial support programs in Myanmar. The Ministry of Social Welfare is responsible for vocational training and operated four faculties for persons with disabilities. However, the government provided inadequate funds for these schools and disability programs.[82]

Disabled military personnel were employed in civil service with a salary equivalent to their former military positions, but there were no employment provisions for civilians with disabilities. Officially, government assistance to civilians with disabilities included a tax-free stipend for permanent disability and two-thirds salary for up to one year for a temporary disability, but it is unknown if these entitlements were granted.[83]

In 2003, a draft disability law was submitted to the Ministry of Social Welfare, but no known action has been taken on it. The government did not actively discriminate against persons with disabilities, but they continued to face “societal” discrimination.[84] As of 31 July 2008, Myanmar had not signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or its Optional Protocol.

Myanmar does not have a victim assistance program or strategy. The Ministry of Social Welfare is responsible for disability issues and facilitates some socio-economic and rehabilitation services. The Ministry of Health is responsible for medical rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and runs several rehabilitation centers in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense.[85] Myanmar’s fifth National Health Plan (2007–2011) includes activities which should benefit persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors. However, previous plans have not been monitored and evaluated.[86]

At least 6,245 persons with disabilities in Myanmar received some form of service during 2007, including 1,711 mine/ERW survivors. At least 270 survivors received emergency medical care, 1,438 received physical rehabilitation and at least three received support for socio-economic reintegration. ICRC-supported centers assisted 5,945 persons with disabilities: 165 mine/ERW casualties received emergency or continuing medical care, and 4,507 persons with disabilities received prostheses and/or other mobility devices (1,438 mine/ERW survivors). The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan provided vocational training for 87 people in 2007 (including 11 mine/ERW survivors).[87]

In June 2007, the ICRC suspended its assistance to three centers managed by the Ministry of Health and three others managed by the Ministry of Defense. This was the result of government restrictions imposed on the ICRC that prevented “the organization from discharging its mandate in accordance with its standard working procedures, which are internationally recognized and which the Myanmar authorities had accepted in previous years.”[88] The ICRC provided enough materials to both ministries to ensure that activities in the six centers could continue for approximately one year.[89] As of mid-2007, the only center still supported by the ICRC, in cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross, was Hpa-an Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Centre.[90] Survivors from Pegu and Tenasserim divisions, as well as Karen and Mon states, benefited from services provided by the center. As of June 2007, the outreach program conducted through the Myanmar Red Cross confined its activities to areas close to the Hpa-an center.[91]

In 2007, the ICRC also ceased payment of the medical costs of people injured by weapons in Myanmar because it could not monitor the activity. The ICRC continued to cover the costs of war-injured people from Myanmar receiving treatment in Thailand.[92]

The KNU hospital at Gho Kay in Karen state also provides prostheses, but no other information was available.[93] The Kawthoolei Department of Health and Welfare maintains 33 mobile clinics for a target population of 106,000 non-displaced Karen in Karen state and Karen ethnic areas to which the KNU has access elsewhere in Myanmar.[94] The Myanmar Council of Churches, Back Pack Health Worker Teams, and the FBR also provided limited physical rehabilitation, socio-economic assistance, or emergency medical services.[95] The Back Pack Health Worker Teams received training from the International Rescue Committee and the Global Health Access Program.[96] AAR Japan provided vocational training for persons with disabilities, including survivors.[97]

Since 2006, there were no new reports of landmine survivors from Myanmar receiving medical care at Indian or Bangladeshi facilities.[98] In Thailand, survivors receive medical care at clinics in refugee camps and public district hospitals in the Thai-Myanmar border provinces. The Mae Tao Clinic, Médecins Sans Frontières, International Rescue Committee, Malteser International-Germany, and other aid organizations provide emergency medical referral in Thailand to conflict casualties from Myanmar who arrive across the border. Prosthetics and rehabilitation are also available at the Mae Tao Clinic, and within refugee camps at prosthetics workshops run by Handicap International.[99]

Support for Mine Action

Denmark reported contributing DKK1 million ($183,800) to an NGO for integrated mine action in Myanmar in 2007.[100] No funding to Myanmar was reported for 2006.


[1] The military junta ruling the country changed the name from Burma to Myanmar, which is the country’s official name. Many ethnic groups within the country and a number of states still prefer to use the name Burma. Internal state and division names are given in their common form, or with the ruling SPDC designation in parentheses, for example, Karenni (Kayah) state.

[2] Presentation by Thant Kyaw, Deputy Director, International Organizations and Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa Convention Implementation and Universalization Workshop, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, 25–27 February 2008. Landmine Monitor has a handwritten copy of the presentation given at the workshop, as provided to the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining by Thant Kyaw.

[3] Despite this statement, in March 2008, the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Chin National Front stated that no talks with the SPDC were taking place, and in May 2008 the Karen National Union (KNU) stated that they had not been able to engage the SPDC in talks since May 2005. Emails from Khu Oo Reh, Foreign Minister, Karenni National Progressive Party, 14 March 2008; and from Dr. Suikhar, Joint General Secretary, Chin National Front, 18 March 2008; and telephone interview with Saw David Taw, Foreign Affairs, KNU, 27 May 2008.

[4] ICBL meeting notes, Ottawa Convention Implementation and Universalization Workshop, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, 25–27 February 2008; and subsequent email communication between ICBL and Thant Kyaw, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[5] M. Shajahan and Ramjan Uddin Patal, “BDR-Nasaka Sector Commander Level Meeting Held,” Daily Ajker Deshbidesh (Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh), 30 June 2008; and “BDR, Nasaka Hold Flag Meet in Cox’s Bazar,” New Age (Cox’s Bazar), 30 June 2008.

[6] 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 US M14 plastic mine.

[7] 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.

[8] Burma has states and divisions, which are virtually identical sub-state level administrative districts. States are the ‘home area’ of ethnic groups, and are always named after one; other areas which are not seen as the home area of a specific ethnic group are called divisions.

[9] UN General Assembly, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro,” A/62/223, 13 August 2007, para. 51.

[10] FBR, “13-year-old Boy Blinded by Burma Army Landmine,” 5 December 2007, freeburmarangers.org.

[11] FBR, “Burma Army Shoots Two Women, Burns Down Homes, and Forces More Than 130 People into Hiding,” 17 October 2007, www.freeburmarangers.org.

[12] FBR, “Burma Army Troops Kill Villagers and IDPs as they Mass Troops with Over 90 Battalions Now in Northern Karen State, Burma,” 10 January 2008, www.freeburmarangers.org.

[13] Email from KHRG, 4 March 2008. The documentation provided by email includes published and unpublished sources assembled by KHRG at Landmine Monitor’s request, based on testimonies in various locations from May 2007 to February 2008.

[14] KNU, Press releases 5/07 and 22/07, provided by email, 5 June 2008.

[15] Aung Moe Myint, “Landmines Prevent Villagers from Working in Farms,” Network Media Group, 7 August 2007, www.nmg-news.com.

[16] “Over 1000 SPDC landmines on Karen State Highway,” Kaowao News, 5 November 2007, www.bnionline.net.

[17] The Lahu Democratic Front (LDF), the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), and the Pa-O People’s Liberation Organization (PPLO) renounced use in April 2007. The CNF/A renounced use in July 2006. The Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and the National United Party of Arakan, both now militarily defunct, renounced use in December 2003.

[18] The SSS is not to be confused with the SSA. An FBR Relief Team was warned by the SSS to avoid mines which they had laid to the front of the SSA defensive positions in the Loi Tai Leng area of Southern Shan State, during 15 to 28 September 2007. Interview with David Eubanks, Founder, FBR, Bangkok, 14 March 2008.

[19] “25 Members of Armed Group Exchange Arms for Peace,” New Light of Myanmar, 23 January 2007; and “Altogether 27 Armed Group Members Exchange Arms for Peace,” New Light of Myanmar, 30 December 2007.

[20] Email from KHRG, 4 March 2008.

[21] “Exploded Mines Not Laid by Us: MRP,” Independent Mon News Agency, 10 October 2007. The Monland Restoration Party was formerly known as the Hongsawatoi Restoration Party. See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 938–939.

[22] Landmine Monitor has previously noted allegations of use by the Karenni State Nationalities People’s Liberation Front, Karenni National Solidarity Front, Kayin New Land Party, National Democratic Alliance Army, and Mong Tai Army. None of these groups have publicly renounced mine use, but it is not certain if they used mines in this reporting period.

[23] KNU/KNLA Peace Council was formed from a breakaway section of KNLA Brigade 7 in February 2007. Haungthayaw Special Region Group was formed from a breakaway section of KNLA Brigade 6 in 1997. Phayagon Special Region Group broke away in 1998.

[24] “Ethnic Karen Die in Myanmar Ambush,” Al Jazeera, 20 December 2007, www.english.aljazeera.net.

[25] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 939–940.

[26] About a dozen armed organizations have agreed verbally to cease hostilities with the SPDC. 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 landmines.

[27] Email from Katherine Kramer, Programme Director for Asia, Geneva Call, 10 June 2008.

[28] Ibid.

[29] For more details of mine/ERW contamination in Myanmar, see reports on Myanmar in previous editions of Landmine Monitor.

[30] Information provided by the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People, 7 and 9 March 2007.

[31] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 795–799.

[32] Documentation from published and unpublished sources from May 2007 to February 2008, assembled for the Landmine Monitor by KHRG.

[33] KHRG, “Without Respite: Renewed Attacks on Villages and Internal Displacement in Toungoo District,” 13 June 2006, www.khrg.org.

[34] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 861. In addition to those reported previously, sources in 2007 stated that mined roadsides were found in southern Mon state, between Thanphyuzayat and Ye and in eastern Pegu (Bago) division near Mone.

[35] Photographs obtained by Landmine Monitor in February 2008.

[36] Interview with Thailand-based journalist requesting anonymity, 12 January 2006; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 861.

[37] Some NSAGs and the Myanmar Army have previously reported conducting military demining. In some cases NSAGs remove mines laid by government forces and re-use them.

[38] Interview with David Eubanks, Founder, FBR, Bangkok, 13 March 2008.

[39] The term ‘atrocity’ demining is used by Landmine Monitor to describe forced passage of civilians over confirmed or suspected mined areas or the forced use of civilians as mine clearers without appropriate training or equipment. ‘Atrocity’ demining is sometimes referred to in various human rights reports as human mine sweeping, local people refer to the practice euphemistically by stating they were “required to clear the road.”

[40] ILO, “Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations: Observation Concerning Forced Labour Convention,” Myanmar, March 2007, Section II, point 6; and see also Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 862.

[41] ICRC, “Myanmar: ICRC denounces major and repeated violations of international humanitarian law,” Press release, 29 June 2007.

[42] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 801–802; Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 862–863; Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 683–684; Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 942–943; and see also earlier editions of Landmine Monitor.

[43] KHRG, “Report from the Field: Bullets and Bulldozers: The SPDC offensive continues in Toungoo District,” 19 February 2007, p. 8.

[44] FBR, “Families Killed, Girls Raped: Burma Army Brutality in Karen State,” 13 July 2007.

[45] FBR, “Burma Army Kills 5 Villagers and Forces 223 More into Hiding,” 9 August 2007.

[46] FBR “Four Villagers Shot and Killed, Villagers Burned and People Forced to Act as Human Minesweepers as the Burma Army Attacks Villagers in Toungoo District,” 1 November 2007.

[47] Two conflicting reports of this incident are contained in: “Eight Villagers Injured in Mine Blast in Loikaw Tsp,” New Light of Myanmar, 13 December 2007; and FBR “Villagers Injured by Landmine in Karenni State,” 12 January 2008.

[48] “Press Release 1/07,” KNU, 30 April 2007.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] FBR “As Thousands Suffer the Effects of Cyclone Nargis, Villagers Suffer Continued Brutality by the Burma Army in Karen State,” 9 May 2008.

[52] “Press Releases 14/07,” KNU, 5 May 2007.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Photographs provided to the Landmine Monitor and interviews with confidential sources in early 2008.

[55] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 863; and Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 941.

[56] Unless noted otherwise, Landmine Monitor analysis of 55 media reports published by the New Light of Myanmar between 1 January and 31 December 2007; National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007,” Thailand, undated but presented at the Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, 2–6 June 2008, pp. 11–18; interview with staff from the Back Pack Health Workers Team, Mae Sot, 26 March 2008; information from published and unpublished sources provided by KHRG, provided by email, 4 March 2008; information provided by the War Wounded program of the ICRC; and anonymous organizations. See also Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 803.

[57] In addition, two casualties occurred in Shan state and one in Mon state; location details for the other casualties were unknown.

[58] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 803; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 864.

[59] Email from Godofredo Torreblanca Cardenas, Staff Member, Arms Unit, Legal Division, ICRC, 13 August 2008.

[60] Landmine Monitor analysis of 18 media reports published by the New Light of Myanmar between 1 January and 30 April 2008.

[61] Presentation on Myanmar’s Health Management Information System (HMIS) by Dr. Soe Tun, Department of Health Planning, Ministry of Health, “Regional Workshop on Health Statistics Reporting Report of an Intercountry Workshop,” Kathmandu, Nepal, 25–27 September 2007.

[62] Ministry of Health, “Health in Myanmar 2007,” Yangon, undated, p. 80.

[63] Government of Myanmar, “Guidelines for Systematic and Smooth Implementation of Socio-Economic, Development Activities in Cooperation with UN Agencies, International Organizations and NGOs/INGOs, Myanmar Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development,” Yangon, February 2006.

[64] DanChurchAid, “HMA Burma January Report 2008,” undated, p. 2.

[65] National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007,” Thailand, undated but presented at the Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, 2–6 June 2008, p. 10.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Data collected during a 2005 survey among IDPs by the TBBC, but unpublished in their 2005 Survey of Internal Displacement. Data was compiled from original survey responses and provided to Landmine Monitor by Duncan McArthur, TBBC, 14 March 2008.

[68] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 802.

[69] Interview with Kawthoolei Department of Health and Welfare representative Mae Sot, 25 March 2008.

[70] National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007,” Thailand, undated but presented at the Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, 2–6 June 2008, p. 10.

[71] Landmine Monitor analysis of 55 media reports published by the New Light of Myanmar between 1 January and 31 December 2007.

[72] National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006,” Thailand, 25 June 2007, p. 511, www.ncgub.net; and US Department of State, “2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 11 March 2007.

[73] US Government Accountability Office, “International Organizations Assistance Programs Constrained in Burma,” 6 April 2007, GAO-07-457; and Eric Stover et al., “The Gathering Storm: Infectious Disease and Human Rights in Burma,” Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley/Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, July 2007, pp. 1, 7.

[74] National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006,” Thailand, 25 June 2007, p. 497, www.ncgub.net.

[75] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 803–805; and National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006,” Thailand, 25 June 2007, p. 497, www.ncgub.net.

[76] FBR, “Burma Army Shoots and Kills Two People, Villager Steps on Mine, Hundreds Remain in Hiding,” 24 November 2007.

[77] National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006,” Thailand, 25 June 2007, pp. 497–498, www.ncgub.net.

[78] Eric Stover et al., “The Gathering Storm: Infectious Disease and Human Rights in Burma,” Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley/Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, July 2007, p. 7.

[79] World Health Organization, “Health Cluster Situation Report No. 8,” 14 May 2008, pp. 1–2; and “International Access ‘Inadequate’,” IRIN (Bangkok), 20 May 2008.

[80] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 37.

[81] Ibid.

[82] US Department of State, “2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 11 March 2007.

[83] Ibid; and National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, “Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006,” Thailand, 25 June 2007, p. 511, www.ncgub.net.

[84] US Department of State, “2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 11 March 2008.

[85] Ibid.

[86] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 806.

[87] ICRC, “Special Report: Mine Action 2007,” May 2008, p. 27; email from Gauthier Lefèvre, Delegate, ICRC, 28 March 2008; ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 37; interview with Yuko Yokotobi, Country Representative, AAR Japan, Yangon, 5 February 2008; email from Godofredo Torreblanca Cardenas, ICRC, 13 August 2008; email from Fred Ferrariz Lubang, Regional Representative, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia, 12 August 2008; and Landmine Monitor analysis of 55 New Light of Myanmar media reports between 1 January and 31 December 2007.

[88] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 37.

[89] Ibid.

[90] ICRC, “Special Report: Mine Action 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 27.

[91] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 37.

[92] ICRC, “Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, 27 May 2008, p. 189.

[93] Interview with Saw Hla Henry, Secretary-General, CIDKP, Mae Sot, 9 March 2007.

[94] Interview with Kawthoolei Department of Health and Welfare representative, Mae Sot, 25 March 2008.

[95] For information on these organizations, see Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 866–867.

[96] Interview with staff of the Back Pack Health Workers Team, Mae Sot, 26 March 2008.

[97] Interview with Yuko Yokotobi, Country Representative, AAR Japan, Yangon, 5 February 2008.

[98] Landmine Monitor researchers in Bangladesh and India monitor for reports of Burmese citizens seeking services for landmine injuries: none have been reported since 2006.

[99] See report on Thailand in this edition of Landmine Monitor.

[100] Email from Hanne B. Elmelund Gam, Head of Humanitarian Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 May 2008.