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Last Updated: 30 October 2013

Casualties and Victim Assistance


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2012

3,349 (319 killed; 2,829 injured; 201 unknown) since 1999

Casualties in 2012

106 (2011: 381)

2012 casualties by outcome

16 killed; 90 injured (2011: 84 killed; 293 injured; 4 unknown)

2012 casualties by device type

75 antipersonnel mines/IEDs; 2 ERW; 29 unknown device

In 2012, there were at least 106 new mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, based on state and independent media reports as well as information provided by NGOs and other organizations.[1] Of the 2012 total, 91 casualties were civilians and 15 were military personnel. The majority of casualties were men, at least three casualties were boys, three were women, and one was a girl.

The 2012 total represented a significant decrease in casualties compared to the 381 from 2011, identified through similar reporting sources. The Monitor casualty data for Myanmar represents an aggregation of available sources.[2] However, due to the lack of systematic data collection and varying sources of annual data, reporting is believed not to reflect the full extent of mine/ERW incidents and casualties in the country. As in the past, the data contained insufficient details to distinguish trends or to ensure that the details for all casualties were correctly recorded. The actual number of casualties is likely to be much higher.[3]

Past reporting by the Monitor has indicated that there are a significant number of military casualties recorded, but such records are not generally available to the public.[4]

Most mines causing casualties were recorded as antipersonnel mines. It has been reported by local risk education providers that victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or “craft” antipersonnel mines are among the mine types causing casualties. People involved in mine and IED incidents are often not able to distinguish between these types of victim-activated explosive items, so the type is not recorded.[5]

The total number of casualties in Myanmar is unknown. The Monitor has identified 3,349 (319 killed; 2,829 injured; 201 unknown) between 1999 and the end of 2012.

In addition to human casualties, village livestock and elephants 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 February 2013, an elephant was injured by a mine laid near the border with Bangladesh.[6]

Victim Assistance

At least 2,829 survivors have been identified by the Monitor since 1999.

Victim Assistance in 2012

In 2012, there was an increase in rehabilitation and economic inclusion services available to survivors within Myanmar. The ICRC and the government of Myanmar reached an agreement which allowed the ICRC to restart support to government-run rehabilitation centers. The centers had been operating without external support since 2007.

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

Assessing victim assistance needs

In 2012, Dan Church Aid (DCA) conducted research and an in-depth situational analysis, collected baseline data, and made recommendations for future programming to assist survivors and their families in the areas of health and rehabilitation, training, and other potential activities in victim assistance. DCA had previously carried out a casualty and victim assistance survey and a suspected mined area survey in localities that were recognized as the most contaminated in Myanmar.[7]

The Ministry of Health does not disaggregate injuries due to mines/ERW incidents from other traumatic injuries.[8]

Victim assistance coordination

There was no government victim assistance coordination mechanism in 2012.

There was greater awareness of the need for victim assistance. In January 2013, MP Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the Myanmar parliamentary Rule of Law, Stability, and Peace Committee, was reported to have stated publically that she would work to ensure landmine survivors received vocational training and prosthetic devices, demonstrating an increasing awareness on the part of the government to address the issue of victim assistance.[9]

The Department of Social Welfare, within the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, was responsible for community-based rehabilitation and for carrying out social welfare services related to the rights of persons with disabilities.[10] Several institutions were involved in physical rehabilitation; the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense and the Myanmar Red Cross Society played an important role in the provision of mobility aids, especially prosthetics and orthotics. The Disability Working Group, assembled to coordinate and implement the National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities 2010–2012, stopped meeting after only a few meetings because the various organizations involved chose to run their programs independently.[11]

The ICRC, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, organized a two-day seminar on prosthetics and orthotics to improve services and to propose the creation of a national coordination mechanism.[12]

No inclusion of survivors in victim assistance planning or activities was reported in 2012.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[13]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2012

Ministry of Health


Prosthetic centers and two orthopedic hospitals

Increased the number of beneficiaries due to ICRC 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

Decrease in the number of services provided

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR)

Local NGO

Medical care; trained and supported mobile medical teams


Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People

Community-based organization

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


Karen Health & Welfare Department (KDHW)

Community-based organization

Provided medical first aid assistance and amputative surgeries

Decrease in the number of services provided

Karenni Health Workers Organization

Community-based organization

Provided prosthetics in Loikaw, Kayah (Karenni) state


Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan)

International NGO

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


Leprosy Mission -Myanmar

International NGO


Increased victim assistance oriented services

ICRC/Myanmar Red Cross Society

International/national organization

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

Almost doubled capacity of available services to survivors in 2012



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.[14]

The ICRC supported an amputation surgery seminar for thirty inexperienced surgeons working in remote stations of southeastern Myanmar in 2012. The training also emphasized appropriate surgical techniques allowing for optimal use of a prosthetic device. [15]

During decades of conflict in Myanmar, ethnic communities and organizations developed their own health provision structures which continued to be the main providers of health care in the mine-affected and remote areas. In recognition that those networks needed to continue to function until the adequate convergence of state and national health systems, the Health Convergence Core Group (HCCG) was formed in May 2012. The HCCG aimed to prepare existing community-based health networks inside Myanmar for future work with government health agencies and other international, national, and local actors. [16]

The HCCG 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.[17]

Physical rehabilitation ,including prosthetics

As most rehabilitation centers are located in major cities and travel costs are high, people with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas, often face significant difficulties in order to access services.[18]

In 2012, the Ministry of Health agreed to an ICRC offer to resume support to three physical rehabilitation centers operated by the ministry. Support to the Ministry of Health centers started in late 2012.[19] In 2007, ICRC support of Ministry of Health and Ministry of Defense rehabilitation centers was suspended due to restrictions imposed on its operations.[20]

In 2012, the ICRC continued to support the Hpa-An Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Centre (HORC), jointly run by the Myanmar Red Cross Society and the ICRC. The ICRC increased support to the Myanmar Red Cross Society’s Outreach Prosthetic Programme for areas covered by the HORC in upper and central Myanmar. This program enabled persons living in remote areas to have access to the closest service providers, including the Ministry of Health center at the Yenanthar Leprosy Hospital. Expansion of the outreach activities at the HORC, and an increase in the production of prostheses at the center, resulted in a 39% increase in the number of prostheses produced in 2012 over 2011. In 2012, 56% of prostheses were for mine/ERW survivors (914 of 1,618).[21]

ICRC also increased the accommodation capacity of the center with the construction of an additional dormitory. ICRC prioritized admission for child amputees at the HORC during the school summer-holiday season through a program designed to facilitate access for children without disrupting their studies; the number of child admissions increased by 44% (49 in 2012 compared to 34 in 2011).[22]

The Myanmar Disabled Person’s Organization (MDPO) produces prosthetics at a small workshop in its office in Yangon. In 2012, it provided about 50 prosthetic devices. Recipients must pay for their prosthetic or find a donor; however MDPO provides a few prosthetics at no charge to the very poor.[23] DCA operates a mobile prosthetic limb clinic that assists landmine survivors who have little to no access to similar services offered elsewhere in the country.[24]

No psychological or psychosocial services available to mine/ERW survivors were reported in 2012.

Economic and social inclusion

A lack of understanding about persons with disabilities and poor infrastructural accessibility make it difficult for persons with disabilities to attend school or find employment. The AAR Japan Vocational Training Center for Persons with Disabilities provides training in tailoring, hairstyling, and computers free of charge. Most trainees are persons with disabilities due to polio or they are landmine survivors. The center supports graduates to achieve economic independence, gain employment, open their own shops, or become teachers at the center.[25]

Within a limited geographical scope, the First Myanmar Basic Disability Survey 2008–2009 found that 85% of persons with disabilities were unemployed and their level of education was far below the national average.[26]

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 that 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.[27]

Laws and policies

There are no laws specifically prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or in the provision of other state services; the government does not provide ample protections for these persons. The government did not actively discriminate against persons with disabilities in employment, access to health care, education, or the provision of other state services or other areas, but there were few official resources to assist persons with disabilities. There are no laws mandating accessibility to buildings, public transportation, or government facilities.[28]

A specific disability law remained in draft form as of September 2013.[29] In September 2011, the upper house of parliament approved a proposal drafted following recommendations developed by Leprosy Mission International and the Ministry of Social Welfare in May 2011 for a disability rights law.[30] By June 2013, following a meeting with chairpersons of parliamentary committees, the parliament committed to help to promulgate the disability rights law as soon as possible. [31]

It was reported that the draft law gave preferential treatment to disabled military veterans over civilians with disabilities, including giving priority to providing jobs to military personnel.[32]

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, the government enacted a law designed to assist the families of deceased and injured military personnel.[33]

The government does not provide social protection for private sector workers who became disabled. There was inadequate state funding for services to assist persons with disabilities.[34]

On 7 December 2011, Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The convention entered into force on 6 January 2012.

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.[35]

However, in the first half of 2013 the availability of this assistance in the Thai border camps was becoming increasingly uncertain. Political reforms in Myanmar resulted in the possibility of refugees being returned, leading to a reduction in financial assistance by some donors to NGOs in order to focus on activities within Myanmar.[36] This shift in funding was reported to be premature, and the UNHCR has said that the return of refugees will not be promoted until mined areas in Myanmar are identified and cleared.[37]


[1] Unless noted otherwise, Monitor casualty data for 2012 is from published and unpublished sources. Published sources include media reports by Irrawaddy, Mizzima, Democratic Voice of Burma, Bangkok Post, Kachin News Group, Burma News International, Independent Mon News Agency and the New Light of Myanmar between 1 January and 31 December 2012. Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), “Landmine Information: January 2012 – December 2012;” email from Nuengruethai Plaenglakkhana, Field Officer, ICRC Chiang Mai, 13 June 2013; email from Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT), 5 April 2013; email from Eh Pwoh, Data Officer, Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW); and email from Alice Proby, Assistant Protection Officer, UNHCR, 12 November 2012.

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

[3] See, “Myanmar: Landmine survivor needs outstrip aid,” IRIN, 7 December 2011, www.irinnews.org/report/94417/myanmar-landmine-survivor-needs-outstrip-aid.

[4] See the 2009 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar, www.the-monitor.org. 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.

[5] “Deadly Soil: Burma’s Enduring Landmine Tragedy,” Burma News International, 11 June 2011, www.bnionline.net. Non-state armed groups (NSAGs) reportedly also use captured factory-made mines. See, “The world’s longest ongoing war,” Aljazeera, 10 Aug 2011, www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2011/08/201181073919760492.html.

[6] Monitor interview with Naikongchari witness in May 2013.

[7] DCA, “Consultant (6 weeks) Research on Landmine Victim Assistance, Myanmar,” Closing Date: Monday, 17 September 2012.

[8] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar,” S/2009/278, 1 June 2009, para. 38; and Ministry of Health, Annual Public Health Statistics Report, Naypyitaw, March 2011.

[9] The ceremony was held in Mone in Bago Region’s Kyaukkyi township on January 20. “On Bago tour, NLD leader pledges to help mine victims,” Myanmar Times, 28 January 2013, www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/3912-on-bago-tour-nld-leader-pledges-to-help-mine-victims.html.

[10] Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, “Rehabilitation of the Persons with Disabilities,” www.dsw.gov.mm/en/rehabilitation/rehabilitation-persons-disabilities.

[11] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, pp. 60.

[12] Ibid., pp. 47–48.

[13] The Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT), “Mid-Year Report 2012: Provision of Primary Healthcare among the Internally Displaced Persons and Vulnerable,” www.backpackteam.org/wp-content/uploads/reports/2012 Mid Year Report final-0409122.pdf; KHRG, “Landmines Briefer Information Received: August 2012 – March 2013,” 8 April 2013; BPHWT, “Not Free or Safe: Talks Bring Reduced Fighting and More Aid, but Thousands Remain Displaced,” 18 June 2013, www.freeburmarangers.org/2013/06/22/not-free-or-safe-talks-bring-reduced-fighting-and-more-aid-but-thousands-remain-displaced/ - sthash.dUqNE1lK.dpuf; AAR Japan, “Community-Based Assistance for Persons with Disabilities,” 28 Sep 2012, reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/community-based-assistance-persons-disabilities; ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, pp. 60–61; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, May 2013, p. 252. Indirect sourcing are from Monitor notes taken at the UNHCR Protection Working Group meeting by Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Researcher, Yangon, 24 February 2012; and Monitor notes taken at the South & South East Asia Regional Victim Assistance Workshop, Vientiane, 20–22 November 2012.

[14] “Myanmar: Rural healthcare ‘in crisis,’” IRIN, 28 January 2011, www.irinnews.org/report/91761/myanmar-rural-healthcare-in-crisis.

[15] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, p. 60.

[16] “Building Trust and Peace by Working through Ethnic Health Networks Towards a Federal Union,” 11 March 2013, www.burmapartnership.org/2013/03/building-trust-and-peace-towards-a-federal-union/.

[17] Ibid.

[18] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, p. 60.

[19] Ibid.

[20] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2007,” Geneva, May 2008, p. 37.

[21] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, p. 60; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, May 2013, p. 252.

[22] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, p. 60; and Myanmar Red Cross Society, “Hpa-an Orthopedic Rehab,” myanmarredcrosssociety.org/hpa-an-orthopedic-rehab-center/.

[23] 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.

[24] DCA, “The German Federal Foreign Office supports Landmine Victims in Myanmar through Donation to DanChurchAid,” 18 September 2013, www.danchurchaid.org/news/news/the-german-federal-foreign-office-supports-landmine-victims-in-myanmar-through-donation-to-danchurchaid.

[25] AAR Japan, “Activities in Myanmar (Burma),” www.aarjapan.gr.jp/english/activity/myanmar/; and AAR Japan, “Community-Based Assistance for Persons with Disabilities,” 28 Sep 2012, reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/community-based-assistance-persons-disabilities.

[26] ICRC PRP: “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 53.

[27] Monitor field mission notes, May 2013.

[28] United States (US) Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 17 May 2013.

[29] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, September 2013, p. 60.

[30] “Second regular session of First Amyotha Hluttaw continues for ninth day,” New Light of Myanmar, 2 September 2011, p. 10. It is unclear from the article whether a draft of this law has been written. It has apparently been referred to the Ministry of Social Welfare for action.

[31] A report quotes the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative, “Chairpersons of some Lower House Committees promise to help in promulgating the Disability Rights Law promptly,” Mizzima, 2 Aug 2013, www.bnionline.net/index.php/news/mizzima/15888-chairpersons-of-some-lower-house-committees-promise-to-help-in-promulgating-the-disability-rights-law-promptly.html; and see also, ActonAid, “Advocacy for Disability in Myanmar,” 1 August 2013, www.actionaid.org/2013/08/advocacy-disability-myanmar.

[32] Media statement by the Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association, “Draft Law for Disabled Favors Military: MPHA,” The Irrawaddy, 3 October 2012, www.irrawaddy.org/archives/15676.

[33] US Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 17 May 2013.

[34] Ibid.

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

[36] “Under pressure: refugees feel welcome has worn out,” Bangkok Post, 26 May 2013, www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/351848/under-pressure-refugees-feel-welcome-has-worn-out.

[37] “Myanmar’s landmines hinder return of displaced,” IRIN, 3 April 2013, www.irinnews.org/fr/report/97768/myanmar-s-landmines-hinder-return-of-displaced.