Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 11 August 2015

Five-Year Review: Non-signatory Myanmar has acknowledged the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions, but it has not commented publicly on its position on accession to the convention. Myanmar has participated as an observer in a couple of the convention’s meetings, most recently in 2013.

Myanmar states that it does not use, produce, or transfer cluster munitions. It somehow acquired a “cluster adaptor” similar in design to a modern cluster munition that it allegedly used in Kachin state in late 2012 and early 2013.


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[1]

Myanmar has never made a public statement detailing its position on joining the convention, but it has expressed concern at the humanitarian impact of the weapons on several occasions.[2] In October 2013, Myanmar repeated its view that cluster munitions and antipersonnel landmines are “the main causes of maiming, killing and terrorizing innocent civilian populations.”[3] In 2009, a government official informed a regional conference on cluster munitions that Myanmar “criticizes the use of such weapons with indiscriminate area effect and which can cause humanitarian consequences.”[4]

Myanmar attended one regional meeting of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions (Xieng Khouang, Lao PDR in October 2008). It participated in a regional conference on cluster munitions in Bali, Indonesia in November 2009.

Myanmar participated as an observer in the convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010 and the Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo, Norway in September 2012, but did not make any statements. Myanmar attended the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva once, in April 2013.

Myanmar is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty or the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In November 2009, Myanmar stated, “We do not use cluster munitions, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, nor assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited under this Convention.”[5]

Myanmar somehow acquired and reportedly used a “cluster adaptor” in 2012 and 2013, which is similar in design to a modern cluster munition. There are indications that Myanmar government forces used the “cluster adaptor” to mount six fragmentation bombs, which separate from the rack when dropped from the air, similar in function to a modern cluster munition, in the conflict with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin state in the north of the country in late 2012 and early 2013.

The KIA claimed that the Myanmar army units stationed at Gangdau Yang used cluster munitions against KIA forces in a 26 January 2013 attack at Hka Ya Bum, “a hill top of strategic significance” five miles west of the town of Laiza in southern Kachin state.[6] On 19 April 2013, the Deputy Secretary of the Kachin National Council provided photographs to the CMC showing an unknown type of air-dropped bomb that it said “confirmed that the World War-Two era 20 pound fragmentation bombs were used during the airstrikes in the KIA’s strategic outposts between 14 December 2012 and 08 January 2013 by the Myanmar Air Force.” According to the Kachin National Council “this type has never been used in Burma’s civil war before.”[7]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) received a separate set of photos that showed what appear to be the same remnants being carried in a vehicle at a location not known to be the scene of the attack.[8] HRW confirmed airstrikes and shelling on Laiza by Myanmar forces in December 2012 and January 2013.[9] The government of Myanmar later admitted to shelling and bombing Laiza.[10]

The “cluster adapter” and 20-pound fragmentation bombs shown in the photographs appear to meet the definition of a cluster munition in the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[11]

Myanmar possesses 122mm Type-81 and Type-90B and 240mm surface-to-surface rocket launchers, but it is not known if the ammunition for these weapons includes versions with submunition payloads.[12]

[1] The military regime changed the name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989, but many ethnic groups in the country and a number of states still prefer to use the name Burma.

[2] In 2010, a government representative informed the Monitor that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reviewing the convention. Interview with Aye Thidar Myo, Assistant Director, International Organizations and Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Vientiane, 10 November 2010.

[3] Statement of Myanmar, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 30 October 2013; and statement of Myanmar, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 1 November 2012.

[4] Statement by Ye Minn Thein, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Conference on the Promotion and Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Bali, 16 November 2009.

[5] Ibid.

[6]Burma army uses cluster bombs to take key KIO position near Laiza,” Kachin News Group, 26 January 2013.

[7] The photographs were contained in an email sent to the CMC from Hkun Htoi, Deputy Secretary, Kachin National Council, 19 April 2013.

[8] Email from Bertil Linter, 25 March 2013.

[9] HRW also documented the attacks on Laiza on 14 January 2013, which killed three civilians. See HRW Press Statement, “Burma: Halt Indiscriminate Attacks in Kachin State,” 17 January 2013.

[10] According to a January 2013 statement by HRW, “On January 14, government spokesman Ye Thut denied that government shells struck Laiza. The previous week, the Office of the President publicly denied that the army conducted any airstrikes against the KIA with helicopters and fighter jets, but then later backtracked when news reports showed video footage of the attacks.” HRW Press Statement, “Burma: Halt Indiscriminate Attacks in Kachin State,” 17 January 2013.

[11] The photographs show a metal tubular “rack” that appears to be similar in design to the US-produced M1 cluster adapter. The small fragmentation bombs are of a more modern design and marking than World War II-era munitions. A military officer who requested anonymity confirmed that the weapon was manufactured in Myanmar; additionally, a former military ordnance officer confirmed that the markings on the weapons were those used by Myanmar’s armed forces.

[12]Myanmar Defense Weapons,” 20 March 2014. English translation from Hla Oo’s Blog “Burma Army’s MRLS or Multi Rocket Launcher Systems,” 23 March 2014. 

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 27 October 2015


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. [1] In recent years, it has sent mixed messages about its position regarding the treaty.

In July 2012, Minister of Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin stated that Myanmar was considering accession to the Mine Ban Treaty and it was reported that the government was no longer using landmines. [2] But in November 2012, at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit President Thein Sein stated, “I believe that for defence purpose, we need to use landmines in order to safeguard the life and property of people and self-defence.” [3]

In December 2013, Myanmar stated that its participation as an observer in the treaty’s Meetings of States Parties “clearly reflects our keen interest in the present and future work of the convention.” [4]

Despite not joining, Myanmar has participated in several Meetings of States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty as an observer, including in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, and in 2003. It first participated in intersessional meetings of the treaty in Geneva in May 2013 and again in April 2014. However, Myanmar did not participate in the Third Review Conference held in Maputo, Mozambique, in June 2014 or the intersessional meetings held in Geneva in June 2015. [5]

A National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which was negotiated during the previous year and signed by eight ethic armed groups in October 2015, states that the parties to the agreement will “end planting of mines” and “cooperate on the process of clearing all landmines.” [6] (See Use by non-state armed groups, below.)

Myanmar was one of 17 countries that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 69/34 on 2 December 2014, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has on all similar annual resolutions since 1997.

No parliamentary party has introduced legislation to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty, but disability rights legislation introduced in June 2014 references the rights of landmine victims. [7]

In April 2015, the Humanitarian Mine Action Initiative, a cluster of NGOs advocating for a landmine ban, led by Peace Myanmar Aid Foundation, organized an International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in Yangon. At the event, the Yangon Division Chief Minister stated,“Efforts are to be made to end the use of landmines. Special emphasis is being placed on the peacemaking processes as the clearance of landmines can be started after the ceasefire deal.” [8] Equality Myanmar distributed CDs of an anti-landmine music video featuring Burmese musicians at the event.

In December 2014, the Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar campaign held a press conference in Yangon to launch the Landmine Monitor 2014 country report on Myanmar. [9] The campaign distributed 1,000 copies of the Burmese-language translation of the 2014 Myanmar country report. Previously in May 2013, the government for the first time accepted a high-level ICBL delegation that met with Minister U Aung Min, as well as with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with the Myanmar Peace Centre.


Since the publication of its first report in 1999, Landmine Monitor has documented the use of antipersonnel mines by government forces and by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in many parts of the country. Information collected by the Monitor indicates that in the second half of 2014 and first half of 2015 there were fewer credible allegations of mine use by the Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces). Reports of mine use by opposition NSAGs have also diminished in this period.

In April 2014, UNICEF expressed its concern over new minefields being laid in armed conflict in Kachin State, but did not attribute the use. [10] Other UN reports and statements have expressed concern about landmines in Myanmar, but it is unclear if any are referring to new use in 2014 or 2015. In May 2014, the UN Secretary-General released the fourth report on Children and Armed Conflict, which continued to document child casualties in Myanmar from landmines and risks to children due to unmarked minefields. [11] In September 2014, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar again called on the government of Myanmar to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and noted that it had been three years since armed conflict had recommenced in Kachin and Northern Shan States and that people displaced by the fighting fear to return home as it was “riddled with landmines.” The Special Rapporteur noted that “progress has not been made in the mapping and locating as well as clearance of landmines.” [12] In July 2014, the spokesperson for the UNHCR in Thailand made clear that the existence of landmines and unmarked minefields are an impediment to any return of refugees to Myanmar. [13]

Government forces

In March 2015, villagers from Pyin Soe village in eastern Paletwa township of Chin State, near the border with Bangladesh, reported that they were warned by soldiers from Light Infantry Brigade 289 not to go beyond a stream near their village as the soldiers had laid mines on the other bank. [14] The villagers fled their village late in March due to fear of landmines. In September 2015, Myanmar Army soldiers asked villagers to take them to a front line location in Momauk township at which point the soldiers laid mines and warned the villagers not to come back to the area. [15] Landmines laid by government forces near their outposts in Kachin State continue to cause civilian casualties, however it is not known when the mines werelaid. [16]

Use by non-state armed groups [17]

Since 2011, when the government announced its intention to seek peace agreements with armed groups, it has held multiple meetings with almost every ethnic armed group in the country. The need to end landmine use and ensure clearance has been mentioned in several meetings. [18]

A draft of the text of the NCA provided to the Monitor states that the parties to the agreement will “end planting of mines” and “cooperate on the process of clearing all landmines.” [19] On 15 October 2015, the NCA was signed by eight ethnic armed groups, all of whom had previously engaged in mine warfare, including two factions of the Karen National Union, the Restoration Council for Shan State, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Pao National Liberation Organization, the All Burma Students Democratic Front, the Chin National Front, and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army. [20] Monitoring of the ceasefire has yet to be agreed. There are no clear guidelines for interpretation or implementation of the mine related aspects of the ceasefire text. Several major armed groups remain outside the agreement.

No armed group unilaterally renounced antipersonnel mine use during the discussions with the government on a nationwide ceasefire. [21]

In March 2015, villagers from Pyin Soe village in eastern Paletwa township of Chin State, near the border with Bangladesh, reported that they saw the Arakan Army (AA) lay mines near the edges of their village during conflict between the AA and the Myanmar Army. The villagers fled their village late in March due to fear of landmines. [22] Since the resumption of armed conflict in Kachin State in 2013, mine warfare by the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) has been reported in the Monitor. In May 2015, the KIA sent a letter to several villages in Mogaung township notifying them that new mines were being laid there. [23] Although UNICEF expressed concern at new minefields being laid in the conflict in Kachin State it did not attribute the use (see above). In December 2014, the government published allegations of landmine use by the KIA, and stated that 10 people had died and 37 were injured due to KIA-laid mines between October 2013 and November 2014. [24] In July 2015, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) allegedly laid mines during armed conflict with the army and border guard forces on the Asian Highway in Kawkareik Township, Karen State. [25]

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

Backpack Health Worker Teams stated that armed conflict in Shan and Pao areas, including the presence of landmines, prohibited delivery of medical assistance, but did not make clear if the mines were newly laid or not. [27]

Production, stockpiling, and transfer

Myanmar Defense Products Industries (Ka Pa Sa), a state enterprise at Ngyaung Chay Dauk in western Pegu (Bago) division, has produced fragmentation and blast antipersonnel mines, including ones with low metal content. [28] Authorities in Myanmar have not provided any information on the types of mines it produces or the quantities of stockpiled antipersonnel mines it possesses. The Monitor has previously reported that, in addition to domestic production, Myanmar has obtained and used antipersonnel mines of Chinese, Indian, Italian, Soviet, and United States manufacture, as well as some mines whose origin has not been identified. [29] Myanmar is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines. [30]

Non-state armed group production, transfer, and stockpiling

The KIO, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), DKBA, Karenni Army, and the United Wa State Army have produced blast and fragmentation mines. Some also make Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines, mines with anti-handling fuzes, and explosive booby-traps. All units of the KNLA are reportedly able to manufacture and deploy bounding mines after training by a foreign technician. [31] Armed groups in Myanmar have previously acquired mines by removing mines laid by others, seizing Tatmadaw stocks, and obtaining mines from the clandestine arms market. [32]

In February and March 2015, government forces claimed to have recovered landmines on multiple occasions from Kokang insurgents. [33] In February 2015, police forces claim to have recovered a landmine among other weapons turned in during a surrender by KNU/KNLA (PC) combatants. [34] In July 2015, government and border guard forces claim to have recovered 50 landmines in two incidents, among other weapons, from the Karen Klo-Htoo-Baw Organisation, formerly DKBA Brigade 5. [35]

[1] Formerly called the Union of Myanmar. The military junta ruling the country changed the name from Burma to Myanmar. Many ethnic groups in the country, and a number of states, still refer to the country as Burma. Internal state and division names are given in their common form, or with the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) designation in parentheses, for example, Karenni (Kayah) state. Since 2009, the Monitor has used township names according to the UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU). For more information see the MINU website .

[2] U Wunna Maung Lwin made these statements to the President of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Prak Sokhonn of Cambodia, on the margins of the Association of South-East Asian States (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh in July 2012. Press Release, “Myanmar seriously considering landmine treaty as part of its state reforms,” Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, 12 July 2012.

[3] The speech of the President was republished in the government newspaper. “Establishment of ASEAN Community is not ultimate goal of ASEAN but a milestone towards stable, peaceful and prosperous region,” New Light of Myanmar , 19 November 2012 .

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

[5] In June 2014 at the Third Review Conference, there were several calls for Myanmar to accede to the treaty, including by Belgium and France. Statement of Belgium, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, 23 June 2014; and statement of France, Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, 23 June 2014. Notes by the Monitor.

[6] According to the draft NCA, agreed by a drafting team from both sides in March 2015, under Chapter 3: Ceasefire related matters, point 5 (a) it states that, “Both parties agree to end the following activities: …. planting of landmines…”

Section 5 (e) states, “In line with progress on the peace process, both parties agree to cooperate on the process of clearing all landmines planted by both sides’ armies. Joint efforts on landmine clearing projects shall be carried out in close consultation with different levels of the government.” For more analysis see: Mine Free Myanmar, “The Mine Ban and the National ceasefire process,” 11 August 2015.

[7] “Rights of land mine victims should be included in bill on rights of disabled people: activists,” New Light of Myanmar , 16 June 2014, p. 1. In February 2013, the chair of the National Democratic Force (NDF), a political party with seats in parliament, informed the Monitor that the NDF had requested that the landmine issue be put on the agenda for discussion in parliament the previous year, but as of mid-2013, the item remained in the parliamentary secretariat and had not been placed on the agenda. NDF members speculated that the issue may be being kept off the parliamentary agenda. See ICBL, “Country Profile: Myanmar/Burma: Mine Ban Policy,” 30 October 2014.

[8] Press Release, “UN International Mine Awareness Day,” Equality Myanmar, 7 April 2015; also “5m in landmine peril, groups warns,” Eleven Myanmar , 5 April 2015.

[9] “Press Conference and release of Landmine Monitor 2014 Myanmar/Burma Country Report,” 29 December, Yangon. Audio recording of press conference and questions available with the link.

[11]Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar,” A/68/878–S/2014/339 (paragraph 110), 15 May 2014.

[12] UNGA, “Situation of human rights in Myanmar,” para’s 35–36, A/69/398 , 23 September 2014.

[14] Chin Human Rights Organization, “Thematic Briefing: Armed conflict in Paletwa, southern Chin State,” 15 June 2015, p. 7.

[15] Monitor interview with humanitarian organizations working with conflict-displaced communities in Kachin state, Yangon, 9 & 13 October 2015. Informants requested anonymity.

[16] See, for example, “Landmine Kills Elderly Woman in Hsenwi Township,” Burma News International , 8 July 2015.

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

[18] U Wunna Maung Lwin made these statements to the President of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Prak Sokhonn, on the margins of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh, in July 2012. Press Release, “Myanmar seriously considering landmine treaty as part of its state reforms,” Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, 12 July 2012.

[19] According to the draft NCA, agreed by a drafting team from both sides in March 2015, under Chapter 3: Ceasefire related matters, point 5 (a) it states that, “Both parties agree to end the following activities:…planting of landmines…” Section 5 (e) states, “In line with progress on the peace process, both parties agree to cooperate on the process of clearing all landmines planted by both sides’ armies. Joint efforts on landmine clearing projects shall be carried out in close consultation with different levels of the government.” For more analysis see: Mine Free Myanmar, “The Mine Ban and the National ceasefire process,” 11 August 2015.

[20] “Peace Deal Signed,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 16 October 2015, p. 1. Each of the political organizations that signed the ceasefire agreement has an armed wing. The armed wing of the KNU factions is the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the RCSS is the political organization of the Shan State Army South, the ALP has its Arakan Liberation Army, the PNLO has its Pao National Liberation Army, and the CNF has the Chin National Army. The other two groups have the same name for their armed organizations.

[21] In the past, a few armed groups, and former armed groups, unilaterally renounced the use of antipersonnel mines by signing the Deed of Commitment administered by the Swiss NGO Geneva Call. The Chin National Front/Chin National Army renounced use in July 2006. The Arakan Rohingya National Organization and the National United Party of Arakan, both now militarily defunct, renounced use in October 2003. The Lahu Democratic Front (LDF), Palaung State Liberation Army, and PPLO/Pa’O Peoples Liberation Army (PPLA) renounced use in April 2007. In a June 2010 report, Geneva Call noted that LDF and the PPLA had disbanded.

[22] Chin Human Rights Organization, “Thematic Briefing: Armed conflict in Paletwa, southern Chin State,” 15 June 2015, p. 7.

[23] Casualty statistics supplied to the Monitor by UNHCR, Yangon, 12 October 2015.

[24] “Locals speak of KIA’s acts,” Global New Light of Myanmar , 8 December 2014, p. 9.

[25] “Karen Rebels Plan Attack of Myanmar Military For Highway Opening Ceremony, ” Radio Free Asia, 16 July 2015; “Karen Villagers –“We Lost Everything In Asia Highway Conflict… .,” Karen News, 27 September 2015; and interview with humanitarian organization that requested anonymity, Yangon 9 October 2015.

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

[27] Backpack Health Worker Teams, “BPHWT 2014 Annual Report,” undated, p. 10. Incidents involved inter-NSAG conflicts as well as conflict between NSAG and the government.

[28] Myanmar produces the MM1, which is modeled on the Chinese Type-59 stake-mounted fragmentation mine; the MM2, which is similar to the Chinese Type-58 blast mine; a Claymore-type directional fragmentation mine; and a copy of the US M14 plastic mine.

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

[30] In 1999, Myanmar’s representative to the UN stated that the country was supportive of banning exports of antipersonnel mines, however, no formal moratorium or export ban has been proclaimed. See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 469.

[31] According to a United States (US) cable released by Wikileaks in August 2011, in December 2006 during an interview with US Embassy officials a Karen politician indicated that “in 2005 a foreign expert trained the KNLA on how to manufacture ‘Bouncing Betty’ anti-personnel mines, packed with ball bearings. The KNLA claims all of its brigades now know how to produce this ‘new’ landmine. KNLA officers claim they use them only in forward areas to slow the Burmese Army’s advance into traditional KNU territory. The source said the new mines are much more lethal than earlier KNLA mines that tended to maim rather than kill.”“06RANGOON1767, BURMA REGIME AND KAREN MISTRUST CONTINUES,” US Department of State cable dated 4 December 2006, released by Wikileaks on 30 August 2011.

[32] Landmine Monitor Report 2009 identified the presence of US-made M26 bounding antipersonnel mines in Myanmar but could not identify the source or the user. In 2010, a confidential source indicated that the KNLA had received many M26 mines from the Royal Thai Army in the past, before Thailand joined the Mine Ban Treaty. See Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1013.

[33] “Urns of bone ash from fallen officers and other ranks buried at Memorial for Fallen Heroes,” Global New Light of Myanmar , 24 February 2015, p. 1; “Military column seize arms and ammunition, stimulant tablets from Kokang insurgents,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 25 February 2015, p. 9; “Tatmadaw never tolerates attempts to encroach upon Myanmar’s sovereignty: Army holds press conference,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 22 February 2015, pp. 1–3; “Kokang insurgents commit unlawful acts in laukkai,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 20 February 2015, p. 9; “Drugs, weapons and ammunition seized from Kokang renegade groups,” Global New Light of Myanmar, 17 February 2015, p. 3; and “Tatmadaw columns reopen Laukkai-Kongyan road for secure transport after occupying hills,” Global New Light of Myanmar , 2 March 2015, p. 2.

[34] “KNU/KNLA (PC) members return to the legal fold,” Global New Light of Myanmar , 1 February 2015, p. 3.

[35] “Tatmadaw, BGF combs KKO of Kawkariek area,” Global New Light of Myanmar , 20 July 2015, p. 9.

Mine Action

Last updated: 03 November 2015


Mined areas are located in areas of Myanmar adjacent to its borders with Bangladesh, China, and Thailand, but are a particular threat in northern and eastern parts of the country as a result of decades of post-independence struggles for autonomy by ethnic minorities. Fifty-six townships in Chin, Kachin, Kayin (Karen), Kayah (Karenni), Mon, Rakhine, and Shan states, as well as in Bago (Pegu) and Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) regions, suffer from some degree of mine contamination, primarily from antipersonnel mines. [1] Karen (Kayin) state, Kachin state and eastern Pegu (Bago) division are suspected to contain the heaviest mine contamination. The Monitor has also received reports of previously unknown suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) in townships on the Indian border in the Sagaing region. [2]

No estimate exists of the extent of contamination, but the Monitor and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) identified SHAs in the following divisions and townships:

  • Kayah state: all seven townships;
  • Kayin state: all seven townships;
  • Kachin state: Chipwi, Hpakant, Mansi, Mogaung, Momauk, Myitkyina, Tsawlaw, and Waingmaw;
  • Mon state: Bilin, Kyaikto, Mawlamyine, Thanbyuzayat, Thaton, and Ye;
  • Bago region: Kyaukkyi, Shwekyin, Tantabin, and Taungoo;
  • Rakhine state: Maungdaw;
  • Chin state: Paletwa;
  • Shan state: Hopong, Hsenwi, Hsihseng, Konkyan, Kyaukme, Langkho, Loilen, Mawkmai, Mongpan, Mongton, Monghpyak, Namhsan Tachileik, Namtu, Nanhkan, Yaksawk, and Ywangan;
  • Tanintharyi region: Bokpyin, Dawei, Tanintharyi, Thayetchaung, and Yebyu;
  • Sagaing region.

A survey of security concerns in 222 villages in southeastern Myanmar, conducted in 2014 by The Border Consortium with the assistance of 11 community-based organizations, found 53% affected by mines. The questionnaire-based survey covered villages in southern Shan, Mon, Kayin, and Kayah states, and the eastern Bago and Tanintharyi regions. [3]

In 2013, humanitarian mine action teams of the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP) documented 67 dangerous areas in eastern Bago region and Kayin and Mon states. Some 74% of the dangerous areas were contaminated by antipersonnel mines, 18% by unexploded ordnance (UXO), and the balance by antivehicle mines. [4]

NPA conducted a three-day assessment of Kuyak Kyi in Bago Division in 2012 to support the resettlement of communities displaced by conflict. The assessment confirmed that areas considered for resettlement were mine affected but NPA did not receive authorization to conduct a more detailed survey of the area. [5]

Explosive remnants of war

Myanmar is also affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW), including mortars, grenades, artillery, and ordnance dating back to World War II, but the location or extent of contamination is not known. [6]

Program Management

In 2011, Myanmar agreed in principle to the creation of a Myanmar Mine Action Centre (MMAC) under the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), which is led by the Minister of the Office of the President, U Aung Min, and is responsible for coordinating negotiation and implementing peace agreements with Myanmar’s ethnic minorities. It was agreed to hire five staff to work on mine action. However, as of 1 November 2015, no further action to establish it had been made.

Minister U Aung Min told the Monitor in May 2012 that mine clearance is a government priority, but said the peace negotiations and agreements between the government and ethnic minorities need to be firmly established before mine clearance can begin. [7] The MPC repeatedly stated that the mine action centre will not be functional prior to the signing of the National Ceasefire Agreement. [8] A partial signing occurred in October 2015. [9] The draft text of the National Ceasefire Agreement mentions a clearance obligation, but it is not time bound and does not mention coordination through the MMAC or standards to be applied [10] ( see the Ban Policy profile ).


In 2013, a technical working group comprised of government representatives from the MPC and humanitarian actors completed work on a draft national mine action strategy and on national mine action standards. As of September 2015, the strategy and standards had not received government approval and reportedly remained under consideration by the MPC. [11]


International demining organizations, including APOPO, DanChurchAid (DCA), Danish Demining Group (DDG), Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and NPA, have had offices in Yangon since 2011, but as of 1 November 2015 none had received authorization to conduct humanitarian mine clearance. [12]

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Thailand Mine Action Centre conducted a training course for Myanmar officials in September 2014, covering use of mine detectors and land release. [13] 

Land Release

No mine clearance by government-accredited humanitarian demining organizations has occurred in Myanmar.

Survey in 2014

NPA, in agreement with the government and the New Mon State Party, conducted three non-technical surveys (NTS) covering a total of 70 villages in Mon and Kayin states in 2014, but did not find any mine contamination. NPA was informed there were mined areas close to some of the surveyed villages, but was not allowed access to them. The survey team recorded seven mine incidents that occurred at least 10 years earlier. [14]

The first two surveys covered eight villages in Ye township, Mon state (7 January–5 February); nine villages in Mudon and Thanbyuzayat townships, Mon state; and 10 villages in Kawkareit township, Kayin state (24 April–21 May). A third survey, was conducted in July 2014, in 43 villages in Ye township, Mon state. The surveys did not identify any mined areas.

NPA conducted further NTS at the request of the Karen National Union in four villages in April 2015. The surveys, one in Kyaukkyi township, Bago region, and three in Thandaunggi township, Kayin state, also did not identify any mine contamination but recorded 24 mine accidents in these areas in the previous two years. [15]

Clearance in 2015

Sporadic and unregulated mine removal has been reported in recent years by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s army), villagers, and ethnic minority organizations.

In 2014, the Karen Mine Action Center (KMAC) conducted a test, clearing mines and UXO from two areas designated by the Karen National Defense Organization using a KMAC manual clearance team and a locally produced machine, and reportedly operating to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) standards. [16]

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) include a course on mine identification and emergency clearance procedures in annual training programs for new relief teams. [17] Mines encountered on their missions have either been removed by FBR personnel, who turn them over to anti-government militias, or are removed by militia members.

The UN Secretary General expressed concern over reports that in Mansi township the KIA allegedly used civilians and internally displaced persons to clear areas of landmines in 2014. [18]

Risk education 

As of April 2015, at least nine organizations conducted 11 risk education projects in 26 townships, primarily in Kachin, Kayah and Kayin states, and to a lesser extent in Shan and Mon states, and Bago and Tanintharyi regions. [19]

In 2015, UNICEF developed a two-year national risk education strategy based on findings from a Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) survey conducted by DCA in February 2013, with technical advice from UNICEF. The survey was conducted in 30 randomly selected villages in Kayah, Kayin, and Mon states, and the Bago and Thanintharyi regions. As of September 2015, the survey’s final report had not been released. According to preliminary findings provided in June 2014, the survey found that 53% of respondents knew of areas near their village or ward with explosive devices and 47% stated that these devices are a problem in everyday life. [20]

A national technical working group on mine risk education was established in 2012 under the Ministry of Social Welfare. It is coordinated by UNICEF. Approximately 30 ministries, UN agencies, and NGOs attend the quarterly meetings.

The UN Myanmar Information Management Unit lists 13 organizations that are implementing programs in Mine Action, of which nine are providing risk education. [21] Four of those organizations provided responses to a questionnaire from the Monitor. Catholic Relief Services conducted risk education in Kayin state. DCA conducted risk education in Karen in 1,000 schools through a mobile teacher training program in 2014, reaching more than 72,000 people. DDG/Danish Refugee Council undertook risk education activities in six townships each in Kachin and Kayah states. MAG conducted risk education in 48 communities in five townships in Kayah State. All operators combined risk education with victim assistance and other services (victim assistance in MAG’s program is implemented through a partner organization). [22]

There is no risk education quality control or accreditation process for risk education. [23] Risk education operators have not been given permission to conduct non-technical surveys to determine explosives hazards in order to inform their risk education messages. As there are no clearance activities in Myanmar, requests for clearance made by local communities to risk education actors cannot be met. [24]

Article 5 Compliance

Myanmar is not a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

[1] Myanmar is divided into states and regions. States are the “home area” of ethnic groups. Other areas, which are not identified with a specific ethnic group, are administrative regions. The former military junta changed the name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 and also changed the names of some states. Many ethnic groups within the country still prefer to use the name Burma. Internal state and region names are as per used by the current government, unless quoting a source which uses common/previous names.

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

[3] The Border Consortium is the main provider of food, shelter, and other forms of support to approximately 120,000 refugees from Burma/Myanmar living in nine camps in western Thailand, and provides support to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others affected by conflict in South East Burma/Myanmar. The Border Consortium, “Protection and Security Concerns in Southeast Burma/Myanmar,” November 2014.

[4] Meeting with Programme Manager, DanChurchAid (DCA), Chiang Mai, 9 October 2014. DCA provides technical assistance and support to CIDKP humanitarian mine action teams that conduct survey and mine risk education in affected communities.

[5] Interview with Andreas Indregard, NPA, Bangkok, 12 April 2012; and telephone interview with Aksel Steen-Nilsen, Mine Action Programme Manager, NPA, 21 June 2012.

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

[7] Monitor interview with President’s Minister Aung Min, Naypidaw, May 2013.

[8] See, for example, Dinmore, G., “Three years, zero landmines cleared,” Myanmar Times, 14 July 2014; and“Landmine clearing to begin after NCA signed,” Eleven Myanmar, 19 September 2015.

[9] A. Slowdowski, “Myanmar signs ceasefire with eight armed groups,” Reuters, 15 October 2015.

[10] Mine Free Myanmar, “The Mine Ban and the National ceasefire process,” 11 August 2015.

[11] Email from international mine action agency staff member, Yangon, 27 October 2014.

[12] Email from Aksel Steen-Nilsen, NPA, Yangon, 23 September 2014.

[13] “Ministry of Foreign Affairs trains Thai and Myanmar officials on landmines,” National News Bureau of Thailand , 8 September 2014..

[14] Email from Aksel Steen-Nilsen, NPA, Yangon, 23 September 2014.

[15] Interview with Aksel Steen-Nilsen, NPA, Yangon, 3 April 2015; and email, 25 May 2015.

[17] “New Teams Graduate, Go on Missions,” Free Burma Rangers, Karen state, Myanmar, 15 December 2014; and email from David Eubank, Founder, Free Burma Rangers, 26 October 2015.

[18] UNGA,“Children and armed conflict Report of the Secretary-General,” A/69/926–S/2015/409, 5 June 2015, para. 140.

[19] “MIMU 3W - April 2015, Countrywide Overview,” UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), April 2015.

[20] “Knowledge Attitude & Practice Survey: Impact of landmines and other Explosive Remnants of War In South East Myanmar, First Findings, February 2013 – June 2014,” provided by DCA Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) team, 4 July 2014.

[21] “MIMU 3W - April 2015, Countrywide Overview,” UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), April 2015.

[22] Responses to a Monitor 2015 Risk Education Questionnaire by Roger Fasth, Operations Manager, DRC/DDG, 14 August 2015; by Nay Myo Linn, Project Officer, CRS, 16 August 2015; by Kelly Tsanova, Project Manager, MAG, 22 August 2015; and by Bjarne Ussing, Country Director, DCA, 12 October 2015.

[23] Accreditation standards exist within the Myanmar Mine Action Standards, but have not been approved by the authorities.

[24] Some risk education providers noted when responding to the Monitor Risk Education Questionnaire that they received clearance requests from some communities while delivering risk education.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 03 November 2015

In 2014, six donors contributed US$5.7 million to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for mine action, a 27% decrease from 2013.[1] Switzerland and the United States (US) provided the largest contributions with a combined total of $5.2 million for risk education and victim assistance (91% of all funding).

Of the total international contribution, the majority (94%) went to risk education or victim assistance activities through the ICRC and other NGOs.[2]

International contributions: 2014[3]




(national currency)




Risk education and victim assistance




Risk education and victim assistance




Clearance and advocacy




Victim assistance




Clearance and risk education



European Union

Risk education







Since 2010, international assistance to Myanmar has considerably fluctuated, ranging from a low of $36,393 in 2010 to a high of $8.5 million in 2012.

Summary of international contributions: 2010–2014[4]


International contributions ($)














[1] Email from Jérôme Legrand, Policy Officer, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Conventional Weapons and Space Division (K1), European External Action Service (EEAS), 11 June 2015; Germany Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 16 March 2015; Ireland Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, June 2015; and email from Owen Blackburn, Humanitarian Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irish Aid, 5 June 2015; response to Monitor questionnaire by Ingrid Schoyen, Senior Adviser, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 May 2015; Switzerland Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 29 April 2015; and US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety – 2015,” 2 November 2015.

[2] The Catholic Relief Services, DanChurchAid (DCA) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) also reported using some of their own funds (totaling some $240,000) to support risk education projects in 2014. UNICEF also provided support to mine risk education and victim assistance projects but the exact amount of its contribution was not available. Responses by Catholic Relief Services, DCA and MAG to Landmine Monitor 2015 mine risk education Questionnaire.

[3] Average exchange rate for 2014: €1=US$1.3297; NOK6.2969=US$1; CHF0.9147=US$1. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2015.

[4] See previous Monitor reports.

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 10 November 2015


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

3,745 (396 killed; 3,145 injured; 204 unknown) since 1999

Casualties in 2014

251 (2013: 145)

2014 casualties by outcome

45 killed; 206 injured (2013: 32 killed, 110 injured, 3 unknown)

2014 casualties by device type

100 antipersonnel mines/improvised explosive devices (IEDs); 4 antivehicle mines; 147 unknown devices

In 2014, there were at least 251 new mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, based on information provided by NGOs and other organizations, as well as by state and independent media reports. [1] The majority of casualties were men, but at least 10 casualties were boys, 17 were women, and two were girls. [2]

The actual total number of casualties is expected to be incomparably higher. Although the presence of a number of mine action actors and coverage of victim assistance programs increased, no systematic collection of casualty data occurred in 2014. Due to the lack of an official data collection mechanism, the absence of any basic reporting format or means of sharing data, and the varying sources of annual data available to the Monitor, reporting is believed not to reflect the full extent of mine/ERW incidents and casualties in the country. [3]

Danish Demining Group/Danish Refugee Council (DDG/DRC) has noted that in Kachin state, where increases in casualties have been recorded in recent years, fighting was more intense in 2011–2012 than in 2013–2014, however, more landmine incidents were recorded during this later period. The reason for the increase was not certain. However, data collected by DDG/DRC from a small and unstable area that indicated that half of all casualties were internally displaced persons (IDPs), who may have returned to contaminated land. [4]

As in all past years, the available data contained insufficient details to distinguish trends or to ensure that the details for all casualties were correctly recorded by the source. The actual number of casualties is likely to be much higher. The number of casualties recorded by the Monitor in 2014 was higher than the totals for 2013 and 2012 combined, but was lower than the 381 recorded in 2011. Monitor casualty data for Myanmar represents an aggregation of available sources. [5] Regarding the low casualty total for 2013, DDG noted that “it is perceived that the number of landmine victims far exceed the figure of 101 landmine victims in 2013.” [6] By September 2015, an additional 44 (three killed; 41 injured) casualties for 2013 had been reported, bringing the total of known casualties for that year to 145. This is still believed to be far fewer than actually occurred.

Past reporting by the Monitor has indicated that there are a significant number of military casualties, but such records remain unavailable to the public. [7]

In 2014, mines/ERW remained a source of concern in an estimated 10 out of 14 regions/states. [8] Most mines causing casualties were recorded as antipersonnel mines. It has been reported by local risk education providers that victim-activated IEDs or “craft” antipersonnel mines are among the mine types causing casualties. People involved in mine and victim-activated IED incidents are often not able to distinguish between these types of victim-activated explosive items, so the type is not recorded. [9]

The total number of casualties in Myanmar is unknown. The Monitor reported annual casualty data of 3,745 (396 killed; 3,145 injured; 204 unknown) 1999 and the end of 2014.

In addition to human casualties, village livestock, elephants, and wildlife are also affected by landmines in Myanmar. Most elephants killed and injured by mines are those used in the illegal cross-border timber trade. In December 2014, an elephant was injured by a mine laid near the border with Thailand. [10]

Victim Assistance

At least 3,145 survivors have been identified by the Monitor since 1999. However, this is believed to be only a small fraction of the actual figure, which was estimated by the group Mine Free Myanmar to exceed 40,000. [11]

Victim Assistance in 2014

In 2014, there was an increase in rehabilitation and economic inclusion services available to survivors within Myanmar.

Under an agreement with the government of Myanmar, the ICRC supported government-run rehabilitation centers. The Ministry of Health and the ICRC agreed to build two new physical rehabilitation centres in Kyaing Tong, Shan State, and Myitkyina, Kachin State. [12]

More actors were involved in delivering, planning, and organizing all aspects of victim assistance.

Assessing victim assistance needs

In January and February 2015, DDG/DRC conducted a “Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Victims Survey” in the Kachin and Kayah states that incorporated needs assessment and evaluation of opportunities for possible future activities. The DDG/DRC found through survey interviews with survivors and victim assistance organizations that the greatest needs included psychosocial support, livelihood assistance, and socio-economic reintegration. They also found that victim assistance needed to be integrated into the larger disability and rehabilitation sector, which also needed to be made sustainable. Recommendations from DDG included the following: [13]

  • Create a simple and ad hoc victim information system for sharing and planning purposes;
  • Provide emergency victim assistance;
  • Facilitate access to physical rehabilitation services;
  • Increase psychosocial support initiatives via self-help groups, peer-to-peer services, and disability resource centers;
  • Work with these networks to support socio-economic reintegration activities;
  • Implement and integrate sustainable socio-economic reintegration support to landmine survivors and persons with disabilities in the community through communities and disability organizations’ networks;
  • Provide vocational training and longer-term socio-economic assistance;
  • Provide systematic business service assistance and support for the educational needs of the children of survivors.

Victim assistance coordination

A Technical Group on Victim Assistance, facilitated by Handicap International was established in September 2014. The 17-member group held monthly meetings in Yangon. The Technical Group on Victim Assistance is a sub-working group of the national Mine Risk Education Working Group, and was tasked to define the victim assistance component of the 2015–2016 Mine Risk Strategic National Plan. Since its establishment, it also monitors implementation of victim assistance and shares information on victim assistance issues. It also creates a bridge between the Mine Risk Education Working Group and disability-rights actors. Members of the Technical Group on Victim Assistance include international NGOs, national NGOs, the UN, the ICRC, and the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS), as well as international cooperation agencies. [14]

There was no government victim assistance coordination mechanism in 2014. However, in February 2015 a representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement reported that Myanmar was taking an integrated approach victim assistance, based on the CRPD, in its national disability law and national social protection strategy.[15]

In December 2014, the formation of the Myanmar Council of People with Disabilities was announced. A council member stated that the group would “work to adopt a law to protect disabled people and to implement the CRPD [Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities].” [16] The Department of Social Welfare, within the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, is responsible for community-based rehabilitation and for carrying out social welfare services through preventive, protective, and rehabilitative measures. [17]

Several institutions were involved in the coordination of physical rehabilitation; the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense, and the MRCS played roles in the provision of mobility aids, especially prosthetics and orthotics. [18] The ICRC had bilateral meetings with the Department of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in 2013 and 2014 to discuss the creation of an official coordination body in follow-up to a round-table seminar on prosthetics and orthotics organized in 2012. [19] In 2015, the ICRC led an initiative to define prosthetics and orthotics national standards to be managed within the Victim Assistance Technical Group. [20]

No inclusion of survivors in victim assistance planning or activities was reported in 2014.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities [21]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2014

Ministry of Health


Prosthetic centers and two orthopedic hospitals

Increased the number of beneficiaries due to ICRC and Exceed Worldwide support

Ministry of Defense


Prosthetics provided through three centers

Increased the number of beneficiaries due to ICRC support

Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement


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

Unknown: statistics not publicly available

Shwe Min Tha Foundation

Local NGO

Covered incidental medical care costs, transportation to medical centers, and food distribution


The Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT)

Local NGO

Mobile emergency medical service in eastern Myanmar

Ongoing; no landmine survivors treated in 2014

Peace Myanmar Aid Foundation

Local NGO

Mobile Prosthetic delivery

Low-level delivery

Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People

Community-based organization

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


Karen Health and Welfare Department (KDHW)

Community-based organization

Provided medical first-aid assistance and amputative surgeries

Decrease in the number of services provided due to loss of donor support

Karenni Health Workers Organization

Community-based organization

Provided prosthetics in Loikaw, Kayah (Karenni) state


Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (MPHA)

National DPO

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


Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan)

International NGO

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

Ongoing; new accessibility project in Karen State completed in 2014

Exceed Worldwide

International NGO

Providing rehabilitation care and capacity-building

Assists the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Yangon; financially supports the Myanmar School of Prosthetics & Orthotics

Leprosy Mission –Myanmar

International NGO


Increased victim assistance-oriented services in joint program with DanChurchAid (DCA) through a mobile workshop


International NGO

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

Identified new survivors and provided in more direct assistance


International NGO

Community-level data collection, mapping of services and barriers, assessment, referral, psychosocial support, socio-economic inclusion, repairs of mobility devices; coordination of assistance and advocacy on survivors/victims’ needs; capacity-building of the Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (MPHA)

Creation of a pilot victim assistance center with outreach teams (designed in 2014, effective early 2015)

ICRC/Myanmar Red Cross Society

International/national organization

Support to Hpa-an Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centre; prosthetic outreach for remote areas

Increased production and increased assistance through a mobile repair unit

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


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

Provided services to some areas in Kayin and Mon states and Thannintharyi division

Emergency and continuing medical care

In rural Myanmar, most villages lack basic healthcare. Patients travel hours, and in some hilly regions nearly an entire day, to reach hospitals or clinics. Due to a lack of healthcare services, people in rural areas may rely on treatment from untrained health workers, or rely on local, traditional remedies. [22]

Most health workers employed by ethnic and community-based health organizations attend initial training and periodic professional development seminars, with additional clinical supervision at the Mae Tao Clinic or other ethnic health clinics. Medics working in areas with landmines receive more intensive training in trauma management. [23]

The Health Convergence Core Group (HCCG) continued to work to improve health systems. It is composed of four ethnic health organizations and four community-based health organizations: Burma Medical Association, Back Pack Health Worker Teams , Karen Department of Health and Welfare, Karenni Mobile Health Committee, Mae Tao Clinic, Mon National Health Committee, National Health and Education Committee, and the Shan Health Committee. [24]

Physical rehabilitation, including prosthetics

As most rehabilitation centers are located in major cities and travel costs are high, persons with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas, often face tremendous difficulties in order to access services. [25]

The Ministry of Health approved the construction of two new physical rehabilitation centers proposed by the ICRC, one for Myitkyina (Kachin State) in 2015 and another for Kyaing (Tong Eastern Shan State) in 2016. The centers were needed to address the high demand for services in those conflict-affected regions. Project agreements for both centers were signed by the Ministry of Health and the ICRC in November 2014. [26]

In 2014, the ICRC continued to support the Hpa-an Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Centre (HORC), run jointly by the Myanmar Red Cross Society and the ICRC, and to support three centers managed by the Ministry of Health, located in Mandalay and Yenanthar, enabling people living in remote areas to have access to services.

The ICRC increased support to the Myanmar Red Cross Society’s Outreach Prosthetic Programme for areas covered by the HORC, as well as for Upper and Central Myanmar covered by Yenanthar Leprosy Hospital . This program enabled persons living in remote areas to have access to services free of charge, including prosthetic and orthopedic devices, lodging, transport, and medical assistance if necessary. [27] In July, HORC, supported by the ICRC, launched a mobile repair workshop. Outreach programs were essential to enabling people living in remote areas to have access to the closest service providers. [28] In 2014, 49% of prostheses delivered in ICRC-supported workshops were for mine/ERW survivors (502 of 1,027). [29]

In agreement with the Ministry of Health, the ICRC handed over its role in supporting the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Yangon to the NGO Exceed Worldwide, in December 2013 . Exceed Worldwide also financially supported the Myanmar School of Prosthetics & Orthotics at the University of Medical Technology in Yangon. The I CRC remained a key partner and had an active role in forming a Myanmar branch of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO). [30]

The Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (MPHA) produces prosthetics at a small workshop in its office in Yangon. Recipients must pay for their prosthetic or find a donor; however, MPHA provides a few prosthetics at no charge to the very poor. [31] DCA operates a mobile prosthetic limb clinic that assists landmine survivors who have little or no access to similar services offered elsewhere in the country. [32]

In July 2014, Peace Myanmar Aid Foundation ran a mobile prosthetics workshop that provided prosthetics to mine survivors from 22 villages in Shwegyin, in eastern Bago Region. [33]

Psychosocial support

In March 2015, a psychosocial program combined with a community-based prosthetics service was launched by Handicap International, MPHA, and the ICRC for survivors. This joint activity created the first Victim Assistance Centre in Myanmar, in Kyaukkyi township, eastern Bago Region. [34]

Economic and social inclusion

A lack of understanding about persons with disabilities as well as poor infrastructural accessibility make it difficult for persons with disabilities to attend school or find employment. The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan Vocational Training Center for Persons with Disabilities provides training in tailoring, hairstyling, and computers free of charge in Yangon . Most trainees are persons with disabilities as landmine survivors or due to polio. The center supports graduates to achieve economic independence, gain employment, open their own shops, or become teachers at the center. [35]

In 2014, AAR Japan completed physical accessibility and water resources assistance activities in Thit Sar Aye Myaing village, in Karen state, where there are 94 landmine survivors among a population of 1,500 people. [36]

Disabled veterans can apply for housing in specially built settlements. A settlement of disabled former soldiers, visited by the Monitor in May 2013, was located on an all-weather road outside Taungoo and had water and electricity. Transport to schools for children was provided. From the settlement, former military personnel could contact a local military officer and request transport to the local hospital, if needed. Former soldiers also could obtain free intercity transport on public buses and were provided with replacement prosthetics as needed at no cost. Those disabled military personnel who did not apply for housing in the special settlement were eligible for a one-time grant of 500,000 kyat (US$590). All disabled military personnel are eligible for a small pension. [37]

Laws and policies

Until recently, there were no laws specifically prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to healthcare, or in the provision of other state services; the government does not provide ample protections for these persons. There were few official resources to assist persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities reported societal stigma and discrimination, as well as abuse from civilian and government officials. [38]

In June 2014, activists requested that landmine victims be included within the draft disability law being discussed in parliament. [39] It was reported that the draft law gave preferential treatment to military disabled veterans over civilians with disabilities, including giving priority to providing employment to military personnel. [40] In June 2015, the bill on the rights of persons with disabilities was sent to the National Assembly with amendments from the President’s office. [41] The National Assembly passed the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 5 June 2015. The process of drafting by-laws for the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also started on that date. [42] In October 2015, the first meeting for the creation of by-laws took place, with the participation of the Myanmar Council of Persons with Disabilities, ensuring that persons with disabilities participate in the process, in accordance with the CRPD. [43]

Military veterans with disabilities received benefits on a priority basis, usually a civil service job at equivalent pay. Official assistance to non-military persons with disabilities in principle included two-thirds of pay for up to one year for a temporary disability and a tax-free stipend for permanent disability; however, the government did not provide job protection for private sector workers who became disabled. In March 2013, the government enacted a law designed to assist the families of deceased and injured military personnel. [44] In December 2014, Myanmar adopted and launched a National Social Protection Strategic Plan. Beginning in 2016, the program will provide a disability allowance to all persons certified with a disability. The disability allowance will be 16,000 kyat (US$13) per child per month, and 30,000 kyat (US$25) per month per adult until age 64. The program will be implemented nationwide by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. [45]

On 7 December 2011, Myanmar acceded to the CRPD. The convention entered into force on 6 January 2012. Myanmar is yet to submit its initial report to the convention, which was due by January 2014.

Victim assistance for Myanmar citizens in Thailand

Landmine survivors from Myanmar who go to Thailand to seek asylum can receive medical care and rehabilitation in refugee camps as well as in public district hospitals in the Thai-Myanmar border provinces. [46]

However, throughout 2014 and into 2015, the availability of this assistance in the Thai border camps was becoming increasingly uncertain. There is a continued reduction in financial assistance by some donors to NGOs in order to focus on activities within Myanmar. [47] In July 2014, Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was reported to have “reached an agreement with the commander-in-chief of Burma’s military to repatriate the 120,000 refugees accommodated in the nine refugee camps on the Thai Burma border.” [48]

However, subsequently in early 2015, a Thai army spokesperson said he was not aware of any set timeline for the refugees’ return, but that the government was eager to close the camps. The spokesperson was quoted as saying, “It would be better for Thailand if the process and repatriation can be done as soon as possible but at the same time, we understand the limitations and we respect the Myanmar authorities.” [49]

Previously, in 2014, the UNHCR had reported that conditions in southeastern Myanmar are not yet fully conducive to the organized returns of refugees. The barriers to return included the absence of permanent ceasefire, the presence of mine fields, and lack of critical infrastructure in some areas. [50]



[1] Unless noted otherwise, Monitor casualty data for 2014 is from published and unpublished sources. Unpublished information provided by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), “Landmine Information Received July 2014–July 2015, Compiled for the Landmine Monitor, August 2015,” and“KHRG Submission to the Landmine Monitor Report, September 2014;” email from Nuengruethai Plaenglakkhana, Field Officer, ICRC Chiang Mai, 12 January 2015; and statistics supplied by UNHCR, Yangon, 16 June 2015, and by the Danish Demining Group, Yangon 16 August 2015. Published sources include, Back Pack Health Worker Teams,“Annual Report 2014,” 16 May 2015, p. 11, and Norwegian People’s Aid“Landmine Victim Data in 2014” map. Also annual scanning of media reports by Kachinland News .

[2] There were 13 casualties for which the sex remained unknown.

[3] See also, Roger Fasth and Pascal Simon (Danish Demining Group), “Mine Action in Myanmar,” The Journal of Mine and ERW Action, Issue 19.2, July 2015.

[4] Ibid.

[5] It is possible that available data contains duplicate casualties, but this could not be verified in all cases given the limited amount of information provided.

[6] DDG, “Where We Work: Myanmar,” undated.

[7] See the 2009 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar available on the Monitor website. Unprecedented levels of information on military casualties were received in 2008 from the State Peace and Development Council; 508 military casualties were identified. Information from this source has not been made available any other year .

[8] ICRC, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, p. 291.

[9] “Deadly Soil: Burma’s Enduring Landmine Tragedy,” Burma News International , 11 June 2011. Non-state armed groups reportedly also use captured factory-made mines. See, “The world’s longest ongoing war,” Aljazeera , 10 August 2011.

[10] “Elephant Injured By Land Mine on Thai-Myanmar Border,” Kao Sod, 14 December 2014.

[11] Email from Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Mine Free Myanmar, 26 September 2014.

[12] ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 288.

[13] Roger Fasth and Pascal Simon (Danish Demining Group), “Mine Action in Myanmar,” The Journal of Mine and ERW Action , Issue 19.2, July 2015.

[14] Email from Yann Faivre, Country Director, Handicap International (HI), 27 October 2015; and “HI Victim Assistance Initiative in Myanmar,” presentation by Yann Faivre, Bangkok, 15 June 2015.

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

[16] “Disabled Rights Council to be formed in Myanmar,” Myanmar Matters, 14 December 2014.

[17] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2014, p. 52; and Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, “Rehabilitation of the Persons with Disabilities,” 2012.

[18] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 58.

[19] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2014, p. 52; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 291.

[20] Email from Yann Faivre, HI, 27 October 2015.

[21] The Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT), “Annual Report 2014,” 16 May 2015, p. 11; ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 291; DDG/DCA, “Danish Demining Group provides direct assistance to landmine victims in Myanmar,” September 2014; ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 58; email from Yann Faivre, HI, 27 October 2015; and “HI Victim Assistance Initiative in Myanmar,” presentation by Yann Faivre, Bangkok, 15 June 2015.

[22] “Burma’s Healthcare System in Critical Condition,” Karen News, 28 June 2013.

[24] HISGW, “About Us : Health Convergence Core Group,” undated; Burma Health Association, “The 5th Health Convergence Core Group Meeting,” 21 August 2014; Bill Davies, Tara Russell, and Saw Win Kyaw, “Ceasefires and health: challenges and opportunities for health equity in eastern Burma/Myanmar,” 25 July 2015; and presentation of a paper at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges, Chiang Mai, 24–26 July 2015.

[25] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2014, p. 52.

[26] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, p. 58.

[28] ICRC,“Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015 , p. 291.

[29], Ibid. p. 293; and ICRC PRP,“Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, 2014, p. 52.

[31] Below-the-knee prosthetics cost 150,000 kyat (US$177) and above-the-knee cost 900,000 kyat ($1050). MDPO also manufactures its own replacement foot for prosthetics, which are sold to anyone at 5000 kyat ($6). Monitor interview with Aye Ko Ko, Associate Secretary, MDPO, Yangon, 19 November 2013. MDPO is a member of the newly-formed Myanmar Campaign to Ban Landmines.

[33] Email from Col. Thant Zin, Director, Peace Myanmar Aid Foundation, 25 September 2014.

[34] Email from Yann Faivre, HI, 29 October 2015.

[37] Monitor field mission notes, May 2013.

[38] United States (US) Department of State, “2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 25 June 2015.

[39] Aye Min Soe,“Rights of land mine victims should be included in bill on rights of disabled people: activists,” New Light of Myanmar, 16 June 2014, p. 1.

[40] Media statement by the Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association,“Draft Law for Disabled Favors Military: MPHA,” The Irrawaddy, 3 October 2012.

[41] “MPs discuss plan to borrow K400 billion as agricultural loan from CBM,” The Global New Light of Myanmar, 5 June 2015.

[42] The Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2015, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (National Assembly) Law N.30, 4th Waning Day of Nayon 1377 ME, 5 June 2015.

[43] Email from Yann Faivre, HI, 29 October 2015.

[44] US Department of State, “2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 25 June 2015.

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

[46] For more information, see ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Thailand,” 9 October 2013.

[47] The Border Consortium, “Programme Report, July-December 2014,” p. 7.

[49] Dene-Hern Chen, “Repatriation fears mar Refugee Day in Thai border camps, ” Al Jazeera , 20 June 2015.