+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Email Notification Receive notifications when this Country Profile is updated.


Send us your feedback on this profile

Send the Monitor your feedback by filling out this form. Responses will be channeled to editors, but will not be available online. Click if you would like to send an attachment. If you are using webmail, send attachments to .


Last Updated: 30 October 2011

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

Not a State Party

Pro-mine ban UNGA voting record

Abstained on Resolution 65/48 in December 2010, as in previous years

Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings

Did not attend the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November–December 2010

Key developments

Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi called for a halt in mine use by all combatants in the country


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar[1] has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. On 30 March 2011, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), a military junta that has ruled the country since 1988, dissolved and handed over power to a new government dominated by the military-sponsored Union Solidarity Development Party.[2] Myanmar was one of 17 countries that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 65/48 on 8 December 2010, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. It has abstained on similar annual resolutions since 1997.

Myanmar did not attend the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010. It has not attended an annual Meeting of States Parties or an intersessional Standing Committee meeting since 2003, though it did take part in the Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South East Asia in April 2009.[3]

In March 2011, the chair of the National Democratic Force (NDF) informed the ICBL that his party’s policy was supportive of the mine ban, and that the NDF would raise the issue in parliament.[4] In February 2011 a former commander-in-chief of the army stated to the ICBL that “Mines must be banned according to both humanitarianism and religion in a civilized world,”[5] while Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi called on all combatants to “cease the way of mines” and all groups to “start to ban landmines in their operations without waiting for their opponent to start to do it.”[6]

In September 2010, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (UN Special Rapporteur) urged the ruling authorities in Myanmar to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty, and requested that the government of Myanmar work with the UN country team and humanitarian partners to develop a framework to improve the situation, starting with the granting of permission to local humanitarian agencies to carry out risk education, provide victim assistance, and improve the mapping of mine-affected areas.[7]

In June 2010 the ICBL submitted a stakeholder document to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Myanmar to the Human Rights Commission summarizing Monitor reporting from the past 10 years on the use of forced labor for mine clearance/detonation and recommended that authorities in Myanmar “order an immediate halt to the use of antipersonnel mines by the armed forces and proxies under its control; order an immediate halt to the use of forced labour by the armed forces and proxies under its control, particularly for the purposes of mine clearance and portering in mined areas; and accede to the Mine Ban Treaty.”[8] During the UPR process, Canada recommended that Myanmar accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. In the outcome document the authorities indicated that this recommendation would be examined by Myanmar, which would provide its responses on the recommendation in due course.[9] The Human Rights Council also emphasized that its Special Rapporteur also urged Myanmar to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and repeated concerns of the Special Rapporteur that previously-laid mines remain largely in place and that civilian casualties continue to constitute the majority of reported mine victims, particularly along border zones where displaced people have returned.[10] The Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar campaign, which was launched by the ICBL in 2003, distributed 15,00 copies of the Burmese-language translation of the Myanmar Country Profile for 2010. The Monitor cooperated with the UN Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) in Yangon to produce an updated map of townships with identified mine contamination.[11] In April 2011, the Halt Mine Use in Burma/Myanmar campaign launched a website.[12] During an ICBL mission to Yangon in February and March 2011, General Thura Tin Oo, previously the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, said that the army should forego the use of antipersonnel mines: “I strongly recommend that landmines must be banned by the Tat Ma Daw, as well as those fighting against them. The good example to be followed is that of our neighboring countries, Thailand and Bangladesh [who joined the Treaty].”[13] On 3 March 2011 the Australian Embassy held a diplomatic briefing on the findings of the Monitor report on Myanmar in Yangon for staff from embassies of states that have joined the Mine Ban Treaty. The Canadian Embassy held a diplomatic briefing on the findings of Myanmar Country Profile in Bangkok for a similar audience on 17 March 2011.

Myanmar is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Government use, production, stockpiling, and transfer

Units of Myanmar’s Army (Tatmadaw) have laid mines in numerous parts of the country every year since the Monitor began reporting in 1999.

In February 2010, Tatmadaw Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 363 and 367 allegedly laid mines in Kheh Der village tract, Kyaukkyi township, Nyaunglebin district: militia forces accompanying returning villagers subsequently discovered 11 mines.[14] In March 2010, villagers in Htantabin township blamed Tatmadaw LIB 427 for laying mines that injured two villagers and an animal.[15] Also in March, a former Tatmadaw soldier from LIB 102 in Karenni state noted that he had been given a mine to use while in the military, and that before he deserted in March 2010 he witnessed other soldiers being ordered to lay mines near his unit’s camp in Khaw Daw Koh area, Tantabin township, Bago division.[16] In April 2010, villagers in the Ma No Roh area, Tenasserim division stated that Tatmadaw LIB 561 planted mines near their village.[17]

In October 2010, the Tatmadaw laid mines around four bridges between Thaton and Bilin townships. The mined area was marked with a “Caution Mines” sign at each bridge. The Tatmadaw stated that the mines were laid to prevent the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) from using the bridges.[18] In December 2010 in Bilin township of Thaton district, Border Guard Force Battalion 1016, led by Par Ke Re, and Tatmadaw IB 3, led by Major Zaw Lwin Moe, placed mines in Kyaw Blaw Khi Blo and Htee Nyar Khar Blo. These mines subsequently injured villagers and killed cattle.[19] Another Tatmadaw unit is alleged by the Free Burma Rangers (FBR) to have laid mines for the first time in many years in Chin state. The FBR claims that Battalion 232 laid new mines in the vicinity of Nygeletwa, Pomnyamwa, Aumthiwa, Mariwa, Setalumwa, and Putuwa villages in Paletwa township of Chin state.[20] On 25 December 2010, Tatmadaw soldiers placed mines on trails and village land, in Mone township. A rebel soldier was sent to remove the mines, and found four M-14 mines before being injured by a fifth mine.[21]

Myanmar Defense Products Industries (Ka Pa Sa), a state enterprise at Ngyaung Chay Dauk in western Pegu (Bago) division, produces fragmentation and blast antipersonnel mines, including a non-detectable variety.[22] Authorities in Myanmar have not provided any information on the types and quantities of stockpiled antipersonnel mines. The Monitor has previously reported that, in addition to domestic production, Myanmar has obtained and used antipersonnel mines of Chinese, Indian, Italian, Soviet, and American manufacture, as well as some mines whose origin has not been unidentified.[23] Myanmar is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines.[24]

Non-state armed groups 

Many ethnic rebel organizations exist in Myanmar. At least 17 non-state armed groups have used antipersonnel mines since 1999. However, some of these groups have ceased to exist or no longer use mines. Some armed groups have unilaterally renounced the use of antipersonnel mines by signing the Deed of Commitment administered by the Swiss NGO Geneva Call.[25]

Non-state armed group use

Conflict—especially mine warfare—between two Karen rebel groups, the KNLA, and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), has increased since mid-2009. The Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) was accused by the junta of laying antipersonnel mines resulting in civilian casualties.[26]

The KIO/KIA dispatched representatives to offer compensation to the victims’ families while claiming they had marked the area. In October 2010 the KIO/KIA released a statement that warned the public of more mines in the area. The KIO/KIA stated that they had planted more mines as a result of increased tensions with the junta over the KIO/KIA’s refusal to bring its troops under Tatmadaw command.[27] On 21 May 2011, state media reported the seizure of 30 craft produced antipersonnel mines in the possession of a member of the KIO/KIA in Myitkyina township.[28] State media also reported the recovery of mines during the surrender of members of the Shan State Army (SSA) and the KNLA.[29]

In September 2010, the KNLA informed local inhabitants that they have planted mines beside the road between Phapun township and Kamamaung sub-township in Karen state.[30]

DKBA soldiers who defected to the KNU in 2010 stated to the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) that the DKBA uses mines, but fewer than at previous times. They claimed that they receive few mines from the Tatmadaw and mostly manufactured their own, both pressure- and tripwire- activated types, but were able to purchase some United States mines in Thailand. None of the defectors said they marked their mined areas, but they were instructed to issue verbal warnings to nearby villages. In August and September 2010 the KHRG interviewed three DKBA child soldiers, one who had been ordered to lay mines near his camp and another who had been ordered to clear a mine. The third was aware of mine use by his unit, but did not lay mines.[31] In June 2010 the DKBA planted about 150 mines around their camps in the villages of Me Lan and Me Lakhaung in Bilin township, Mon State.[32] Also in January 2010 villagers in Waw Muh village tract, Dweh Loh township, Papun district stated that they were prohibited from going to some of their agricultural fields due to mines laid by the DKBA.[33] Also in January 2010, villagers from Meh Nyoo, Meh Gkoo, Meh Mweh, and Meh Gklaw village tracts in Bu Tho township stated that soldiers from DKBA battalion 666 placed mines in areas near the villages and gave verbal warnings of dangerous areas.[34] Villagers in Ma Lay Ler village tract, Dweh Loh township, Papun district allege that on 26 March 2010 DKBA Battalion 333 laid mines to prevent attacks by the KNLA in the area, leading to the loss of several cattle.[35] In April 2010 in Lu Thaw township, Papun district, a Gher Der village guard stepped on a mine laid by the KNLA because he could not remember where it had been laid. On the same day another person from the same village stepped on a mine he alleged had been recently planted by the Tatmadaw on the road.[36] Villagers in Meh Mweh village tract, Dweh Loh Township, Papun District state that on 9 April a DKBA unit came to the area and planted some mines.[37] In May 2010 Gk’Law Lu village, Dta Greh township, Pa’an district was reportedly burned by the DKBA to remove people from the area. Villagers were warned by the DKBA not to return to the area as it had been mined.[38] In May 2010 a villager in Wah Muh village tract, Dweh Loh township, Papun district stated that while being escorted by a DKBA soldier, he stepped on a mine laid by another DKBA unit and that the areas were unmarked.[39] In mid-December, a rebel group of DKBA planted mines near a Tatmadaw military camp resulting in deaths and injuries at Gk’Neh Lay village, Kawkareik township, Dooplaya district.[40] On 5 December 2010 the DKBA warned villagers from Waw Lay village, Kawkareik township, Dooplaya district that they should only move by the roads, not the small paths, as these had been mined against the Tatmadaw.[41]

On 7 July 2010 villagers at Way Muh village tract, Dweh Loh township, Papun district stated that a DKBA unit laid some mines resulting in the death of cattle.[42]

Both the KNLA and DKBA are known to issue prohibitions on travel to areas, and this is understood by villagers to mean that the area is mined. If a village is not allied with one of these armed groups, that group may not give them the warnings.[43]

There were reports in 2010 of use of antivehicle mines.[44] 

Mine militarization

The prevalence of mine use in some eastern zones of the country results in the spread of military weapons and thinking into the civil realm of society. This is reflected in increased reports of use of mines by ordinary citizens and village guard groups. The KHRG has reported increased use of antipersonnel mines by ordinary villagers, ostensibly to prevent the Tatmadaw’s entry into their villages. This practice is especially prevalent in the Kay Bpoo, Nah Yoh Htah, Saw Muh Bplaw, Ler Muh Bplaw, and Yeh Muh Bplaw village tracts of northern Lu Thaw township, Papun district. Villagers in this area have repeatedly stated their need and desire for more access to mines, according to the KHRG. Villagers state that the KNLA provides them with instructions for mine construction, as well as material for the mines, as well as some completed mines, but this is not enough for their needs. The KHRG attributes use of mines by villages in this particular area to the fact that they are surrounded on all sides by Tatmadaw military camps, and have no other areas to which they can flee. The KHRG notes that in other areas, villagers are more likely to see mine use by any party as a threat to their well-being.

One villager in Ler Muh Bplaw village tract, Lu Thaw township, informed the KHRG that the villagers use mines to farm near the front line, close to Tatmadaw camps. “If the SPDC soldiers step on a landmine when they come, they will go back after they were hit by the mine, or we can turn back [flee]. We do it for alertness.” When asked how many mines they had laid in that area the villagers replied “over a hundred.” Another villager, from the same village, stepped on a mine laid by the village guards. He stated that “I went back and farmed my hill field at the front line and stepped on a landmine. I was hit by our people’s landmine. Not an SPDC Army landmine. I can say that it was an SPDC landmine, because if there were no SPDC Army activities, there’d be no landmines and they wouldn’t hit anyone.”[45]

Non-state armed group production, transfer, and stockpiling

The 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 antihandling fuzes, and explosive booby-traps. Armed groups in Myanmar have also acquired mines by removing mines laid by others, seizing Tatmadaw stocks, and obtaining mines from the clandestine arms market. Although some former combatants have non-hostility pacts with the ruling authorities, they have not disarmed and some still possess antipersonnel mines.[46] In May 2010, the authorities announced that soldiers of the SSA had surrendered and turned in mines and other weapons to the authorities.[47]

Landmine Monitor Report 2009, for the first time, identified the presence of US-made M26 bounding antipersonnel mines in Myanmar, but could not identify the source or the user.[48] 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.


[1] Formerly 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 USDP designation in parentheses, for example, Karenni (Kayah) state. Since 2009, the Monitor has used township names according to the UN MIMU. See www.themimu.info.

[2] The Union Solidarity Development Party was previously a mass mobilization vehicle of the military regime, with junta leader Than Shwe as its patron. The Union Solidarity Development Party was placed in power through a controversial Constitution and electoral process which sidelined the opposition National League for Democracy from participation. The National League for Democracy was elected by a wide majority of the people of the country in 1990, but never allowed by the military to form a government.

[3] At the workshop, Myanmar said, “Myanmar believes that the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel mines created the deaths and injuries to the innocent civilians in the affected areas. Transfers and exports of antipersonnel mines contribute to their proliferation and increase chances of an indiscriminate use consequently. Therefore, Myanmar maintains that a step-by-step approach would be most appropriate way to deal with the issue. We also believe that the transfer and exports of anti-personnel mines should be addressed together with the total ban on use of anti-personnel mines…. To establish mine control scheme in the remote and delicate areas, peace is the most essential element for us.” Statement by Kyaw Swe Tint, Director, International Organizations and Economic Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia, 3 April 2009.

[4] ICBL meeting with Dr. Than Nyein, Chairman, NDF, and other central committee members of the NDF, Yangon, 2 March 2011. The NDF obtained some seats in Myanmar’s new parliament, elected in October 2010.

[5] Former Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Thura Tin Oo, Yangon, 27 February 2011. The full statement is available at www.burma.icbl.org.

[6] Statement by Aung San Suu Kyi, Yangon, 28 February 2011. The full statement is available at www.burma.icbl.org.

[7] UNGA, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar,” A/65/368, 15 September 2010, para. 60, www.ohchr.org.

[8] Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Myanmar, UNGA, A /HRC/WG.6/10/MMR/3, 18 October 2010. The UPR submission and annex are both available at lib.ohchr.org.

[9] Draft report of the Working Group on the UPR Myanmar, UNGA, A/HRC/WG.6/10/L.7, 2 February 2011.

[10] Compilation prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 Myanmar, UNGA, A /HRC/WG.6/10/MMR/2, 15 November 2010.

[11] This map is available on the UN MIMU website, www.themimu.info.

[12] The website is available in English at www.burma.icbl.org and in Burmese www.myanmar.icbl.org.

[13] See ICBL, “Myanmar/Burma: Former Commander in Chief of the Burmese Army Condemns Mine Use,” 20 May 2011, www.icbl.org; and ICBL, “Myanmar/Burma: Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi calls for a ban on mine use within the country,” June 2011, www.icbl.org.

[14] KHRG, “Attacks and displacement in Nyaunglebin District,” 9 April 2010, www.khrg.org.

[15] KHRG, “Villagers injured by landmines, assisted by neighbours in southern Toungoo,” 22 October 2010, www.khrg.org.

[16] Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by the KHRG, 12 April 2011.

[17] KHRG, “Militarization, Development and Displacement: Conditions for villagers in southern Tenasserim Division,” March 2011, www.khrg.org.

[18] Source requested anonymity, Yangon, 2 March 2011.

[19] Source requested anonymity, Bangkok, 15 March 2011.

[20] FBR, “18-year-old Arakan Woman Raped by Burma Army Captain Chin State, Burma,” 3 May 2010.

[21] FBR, “Landmines, Victims and Flooding from Burma Army Dam Project Displaces Multiple Communities Nyaunglebin District, Karen State, Burma,” 17 January 2011, www.freeburmarangers.org.

[22]  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.

[23]  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.

[24]  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.

[25]  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. However, in both cases they appear to have started to use mines or merged with other groups which did. See Geneva Call, “NSA Signatories,” www.genevacall.org.

[26] “Myanmar Blames Insurgents for Blast,” AP, Wall Street Journal, 15 October 2010, online.wsj.com.

[27] “Kachin group gives funds to mine victims’ families,” Mizzima, 18 October 2010, www.mizzima.com.

[28] MNA, “KIA militiaman arrested with explosives in Myitkyina,” New Light of Myanmar, 24 May 2011, p. 2.

[29] MNA, “Armed groups return to legal fold understanding genuine goodwill of Government,” New Light of Myanmar, 21 March 2011, p. 10; and MNA, “Altogether 38 armed group members return to legal fold,” New Light of Myanmar, 1 May 2011, p. 16.

[30] Source requested anonymity, Yangon, 1 March 2011.

[31] Five different DKBA soldiers were interviewed, plus three child soldiers, one 14-year-old, and two 15-year-olds. Each gave differing accounts as to policies and sources of mines and patterns of use. Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by KHRG, 12 April 2011.

[32] Source requested anonymity, Yangon, 2 March 2011.

[33] KHRG, “Southwestern Papun District: Transitions to DKBA control along the Bilin, River,” 18 August 2010,


[34] KHRG, “Southern Papun District: Abuse and the expansion of military control,” 30 August 2010, www.khrg.org.

[35] Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by the KHRG, 12 April 2011.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] KHRG, “DKBA burns village and forces residents to relocate in Pa’an District,” 4 June 2010, www.khrg.org.

[39] Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by the KHRG, 12 April 2011.

[40] KHRG, “Villagers at risk from landmines, shelling and portering in Gk’Neh Lay village,” Update No.26, 16 December 2010, www.khrg.org.

[41] KHRG, “Portering and landmine concerns in Waw Lay village,” Update No.11, 5 December 2010, www.khrg.org.

[42] Information provided by a source who requested anonymity.

[43] Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by the KHRG, 12 April 2011.

[44] In March 2010, Myanmar state media alleged that the KNLA were responsible for laying an antivehicle mine which killed two persons and injured 11 in Karen state. “Two dead, 11 injured in Papun mine blast,” New Light of Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw), 20 March 2010;  “Two killed three injured in mine blast,” New Light of Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw), 13 May 2010; and “One dead, four injured, one vehicle damaged in two mine blasts,” New Light of Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw), 26 December 2010.

[45] KHRG, “Self Protection Under Strain: Targeting of civilians and local responses in northern Karen State,” August 2010. See section V, “Armed self-protections strategies: Causes and consequences,” pp. 82–98. KHRG, “Landmine-related Incidents January 2010–April 2011,” Special report, 12 April 2011; and interview with the KHRG in Mae Sot, 13 March 2011.

[46]  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 mines.

[47] “12 armed group members exchange arms for peace,” New Light of Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw), 1 July 2010.