Humanitarian Disarmament in Myanmar
The landmine problem in Myanmar is the result of decades of post-independence struggles for autonomy by ethnic minorities.
All parties to the conflict, including the Myanmar armed forces and various non-state actors, have used landmines. The extent of contamination is not fully known, however it is assumed to be heavy and the total casualty numbers are likely to be in the hundreds every year. According to the Landmine Monitor in 2017, landmines and other explosive remnants of war caused 202 reported casualties throughout the country. Recent casualties are being reported mainly in the northern part of the country in Kachin and Northern Shan connected to the ongoing conflict there.
Norwegian People’s Aid began its Humanitarian Disarmament engagement in Myanmar in 2012. NPA was heavily involved in assisting national stakeholders in the drafting of IMAS-compliant national standards and facilitating national capacity and trust-building during the peace process through mine action activities. NPA believes that humanitarian demining can be used as a peace-building tool and also bring about peace-dividend by ensuring safer lives and livelihoods to the most vulnerable people affected by conflict.
Currently, NPA works with national stakeholders and partner organisations to provide risk education in landmine and ERW affected communities, survey minefields and other hazardous areas, and build national capacity in order for key stakeholders in Myanmar to develop humanitarian clearance capacity to international standards. NPA’s HD activities have been focused on the Southeast of the country where ceasefires have enabled more humanitarian space for NPA carry out its activities.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Myanmar is one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world, on par with Iraq and Colombia.
In total there have been 4,193 casualties reported by Landmine Monitor since 1999
Approximately 500,000 people are internally displaced due to conflict in Northeast and eastern Myanmar, with an additional 140,000 refugees in camps in Thailand.
An additional 700,000 people have recently been displaced across the border in Bangladesh due to the ongoing situation in Rakhine.
In addition to landmines, there is also extensive contamination of other explosive remnants of war (ERW) such as mortars, grenades, artillery shells and aircraft bombs dating back to World War II.
NPA’s support to civil society in Myanmar focuses on two pillars: Democratisation and Peace. Throughout out all our work, we strive to support partners’ capacity to implement programmes that they have designed, according to their own political agenda, while strengthening their capacities and organizational development.