+   *    +     +     
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: 28 November 2013

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

The Kingdom of Thailand is affected by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including both abandoned explosive ordnance and unexploded ordnance (UXO), the result of conflicts on its borders with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Myanmar.


More than a decade after the start of its demining program, Thailand is still without a precise estimate of the extent of its mined areas. A 2001 Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) identified 530 communities in 27 of Thailand’s 76 provinces, and more than 500,000 people, as mine/ERW-affected, estimating total mine/ERW contamination at 2,557 km2.[1]

Thailand’s revised Article 5 deadline extension request, submitted in 2008, claimed it had released 1,355km2 of this area, leaving a total of 1,202km2 of suspected hazardous area (SHA) to be released, including an estimated 528.2km2 of “real minefield” requiring manual clearance.[2] The Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) reported in May 2013 that survey and clearance had reduced “the total number of contaminated areas or confirmed hazardous areas” (CHAs) to 524.97km², down from 542.6km² a year earlier.”[3]

Thailand’s 700km-long border with Cambodia, used as a base for Cambodian non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in the 1980s and 1990s, is the worst affected, accounting for three-quarters of the LIS estimate of contamination and 51 of its 69 high-impacted communities.[4] Mine incidents on the Thai-Cambodian border in the last three years have contributed to tensions between the two countries over border demarcation. A Thai soldier was injured by an antipersonnel mine in Sisaket province in May 2012, in addition to eight casualties, including one fatality, suffered by the army as a result of mine blasts in Sisaket province in 2011.

In March 2013, three Thai rangers were injured by mine explosions in the border province of Surin, prompting the Thai military to protest to Cambodia. Defence Minister Sukumpol Sawanatat stated that landmines found at the location of the incident did not belong to Thailand, but said they might have been placed by illegal loggers.[5] Cambodia denied responsibility.[6]

Cluster munition remnants

Thailand cleared the only known cluster munitions contamination in northern Uttaradit province in 2011.[7]

Other explosive remnants of war

Thailand is also contaminated by other ERW, including unexploded artillery and mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), recoilless rifle ammunition, and hand-grenades.[8] The extent is not known. Much of it is located along the border with Cambodia that was affected by cross-border shelling by Vietnamese and Cambodian government forces; contamination is also located in places where Cambodian guerrilla groups abandoned caches of mortars, RPGs, and ammunition.[9]

Violent conflict in southern—mainly Muslim—provinces has continued since 2004, including use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), some of them victim-activated.[10] The Monitor identified 23 casualties from mines or ERW in 2012, including 10 military and police casualties recorded in southern Thailand.[11]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 January 2012

National Mine Action Authority

National Committee for Humanitarian Mine Action (NMAC)

Mine action center


International demining operators

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), APOPO

National demining operators

Thai Civilian Deminers Association (TDA), Peace Road Organisation (PRO)

International risk education (RE) operators

Handicap International

National RE operators

Humanitarian Mine Action Units (HMAUs), COERR

NMAC, set up in 2000, has responsibility for overseeing the national mine action program, but has not met since 2008. TMAC reported plans to arrange a meeting of NMAC in 2011 and 2012, but former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, in office since December 2008, did not chair a meeting before his government fell in a general election in July 2011.[12] Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatara, who assumed office on 5 August 2011, had not convened a meeting as of June 2013.

TMAC was established in 1999 under the Armed Forces Supreme Command to coordinate, monitor, and conduct mine/UXO survey, mine clearance, mine/ERW risk education, and victim assistance throughout Thailand. TMAC is also responsible for establishing a program to meet Thailand’s obligations as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.[13] However, TMAC has had to contend with limited funding and, as a military organization, with the regular rotation of personnel at all levels.[14] Lieutenant-General Seehanart Wongsaroj took over as TMAC Director General from Lieutenant-General Chatree Changrien in October 2012, becoming the seventh TMAC director since it was set up in 2000 and the third in the last three years.

TMAC pressed for a change in its status to a civilian organization in 2005, prompted by the slow progress of demining and the armed forces’ limited budget for its operations. The NMAC agreed, in principle, to TMAC becoming a foundation in February 2007 but proposed to keep it under the armed forces. A final decision is still pending. NMAC also decided in February 2007 to establish five sub-committees for victim assistance, coordination with foreign organizations, demining, RE, and monitoring and evaluation. The Victim Assistance sub-committee met twice in 2012.[15] The Demining and Monitoring and Evaluation sub-committees met once in 2012.[16]

TMAC gives priority to increasing land release through non-technical survey (NTS) and technical survey, working with four HMAUs and 287 operations staff, including 221 deminers and 20 explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) technicians.[17] In 2013, TMAC said it was discussing strategy and planned to present a revised strategic plan to the 2013 Meeting of States Parties.[18]

Two international demining NGOs worked in Thailand in 2012. NPA, supporting TMAC since 2011 and working in partnership with TDA, operated a 10-man survey team undertaking technical survey and NTS in Surin province in cooperation with HMAU 3; in March 2012 a second 10-man team was added.[19] APOPO, a Belgian NGO, also began conducting NTS and technical survey in 2011, working in cooperation with PRO in two provinces, Trat and Chanthaburi, both bordering Cambodia. Working with a 25-person team, APOPO completed an NTS and “limited technical” survey of CHAs in Trat in April 2012.[20]

 NPA also continued support to TMAC’s database unit, providing a technician to help consolidate clearance data, and through three visits in 2012 by NPA’s regional information management advisor. NPA support focused on consolidating data and resolving gaps resulting from more than 120 missing clearance reports.[21]

After more than two years of support by NPA, TMAC finally approved Thailand’s first National Mine Action Standards in June 2012.[22]

Land Release

Thailand released a total of 20.6 km2 of mined area in 2012, nearly five times the amount of land released the previous year as a result of land release methodologies adopted by TMAC. Virtually all of it was released through survey in 2012. Clearance accounted for just 288,980m2.[23]

Five-year summary of clearance


Mined area cleared (km2)

Battle area cleared (km2)



















Survey in 2012

NPA, continuing the NTS it started in 2011, surveyed a 733,000m2 CHA between September 2011 and April 2012, releasing a total of 721,284m2, leaving 11,716m2 to be cleared by HMAU 3. In May 2012, NPA began a third pilot task in Surin, covering an area of 1.2km2, which was completed in August 2012, releasing a total of 1,101,871m2, leaving 123,579m2 to be cleared by HMAU 3. NPA started a fourth CHA pilot task in the same province in October 2012, covering an area of 2.53km2 that was completed by the end of April 2013.

NPA also conducted technical survey on an area of 1,846,832 m2, identifying two defined hazard areas (DHAs) of 337,076 m2 for full clearance by HMAU 3, leaving an area of 346,092m2 that was inaccessible due to border tensions as a CHA for future clearance.[24]

APOPO surveyed 39 CHAs in Trat and Buriram provinces bordering Cambodia in 2012, cancelling 3.97km² but confirming a mine threat in 18.47km² and identifying a further 15.96km² as needing further investigation.[25]

Release of SHAs/CHAs containing mines in 2012[26]

No. of areas released

Area cancelled by NTS (m2)

Area released by TS (m2)

Area cleared (m2)

No. of APMs destroyed

No. of AVMs destroyed

No. of UXO destroyed








TS = technical survey; APM = antipersonnel landmine; AVM = antivehicle mine

NPA ended its partnership with TDA in January 2013 and also prepared to shift its area of operations. In May 2013, NPA conducted a feasibility and impact assessment with a view to continuing its land release survey in Chiangmai province in areas under the responsibility of HMAU 4, where no NGOs have previously worked. NPA subsequently submitted a request to undertake survey in two CHAs in Mae Ai district of Chiangmai province in June 2013, following positive recommendations of the assessment. As of 7 July 2013, TMAC and HMAU 4 have agreed to this move, with final endorsement by official approval from the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters expected soon.[27]

Mine clearance in 2012

Manual clearance by TMAC’s four HMAUs dropped to 0.3 km2 in 2012 from 2.41km2 in 2011 and 1.99km2 in 2010. Only two of the demining units (HMAUs 3 and 4) conducted full clearance, removing a total of four landmines. The other two units (HMAUs 1 and 2) released land through NTS and technical survey.[28]

Mined area clearance in 2012[29]

Name of operator

No. of mined areas released

Total size of mined area released by clearance (m2)

No. of APMs cleared

No. of AVMs cleared

No. of UXO cleared







* APM = antipersonnel mine; AVM = antivehicle mine; U-SUB = unexploded submunition; UXO = unexploded ordnance other than unexploded submunition

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the nine-and-a-half year extension granted in 2008), Thailand is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 November 2018.[30]

Thailand’s extension request estimated the area requiring full clearance at 528.35km². It said Thailand would employ some 900 deminers and clear or release between 40km and 65km a year during the plan period, setting a target of 170km² in the first four years.[31] TMAC, however, has not received the resources to fulfill this plan. In 2012, it employed 221 deminers, and in the first four years of the plan it appears to have released less than one-fifth of that amount. Without a commitment of greater resources and manpower to mine action, Thailand has little chance of fulfilling its treaty obligations.

Article 5 Extension Request: Clearance Targets and Achievements


Mined area cleared (km²)

Total area released (km²)

Extension Request target (km²)





















N/A = not applicable

Lack of attention to mine action on the part of political leaders remains a major constraint on progress, resulting in a lack of funds for TMAC and the sector. UNDP has observed that a priority for TMAC was to bring the issue up to the NMAC, chaired by the Prime Minister, for advocacy at the policy-level on the vulnerability of mine-affected people and the need to have all mines cleared by 2018.[32] No prime minister has convened a meeting of NMAC since 2007.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatara received a group of mine action NGOs, led by NPA, at her office in June 2013; she expressed support for their work and said she would urge the relevant agencies to clear mine affected areas and provide support to victims, but she did not commit to further action.[33]

In a reference to its border dispute with Cambodia, Thailand has warned that “the unfinished demarcations with neighboring countries may post a delay in our mine clearance progress.” A Thai-Cambodian Joint Working Group, established to agree upon ways to implement an International Court of Justice Order, met on 5 April 2012 and agreed to task TMAC and the Cambodian Mine Action Center to demine required areas in the provisional demilitarized zone.[34] Another meeting in May 2013 agreed to joint demining of the area adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple; the working group planned to meet later in the year to discuss a plan for deployment of deminers.[35]

Quality management

TMAC has one quality control team within its Coordination and Evaluation Unit responsible for monitoring survey and clearance through site visits and analysis of clearance reports.[36]

National mine action standards adopted by TMAC in June 2012 include a chapter on quality management. TMAC also adopted a process of accreditation and in December 2012 appointed an accreditation committee which called for the HMAUs and other operators to submit documents. The committee was due to meet for the first time in May 2013, but as of early August it had not yet accredited any operator.[37]

Safety of demining personnel

TMAC had one demining accident in 2012, causing injuries to two deminers, down from three accidents in 2011 that caused 11 casualties, including four deaths. Two HMAU 2 deminers were injured by a detonation in December 2012 while working in Pong Nam Ron district of Chanthaburi province. The device was not identified.[38]

No demining accident occurred in the first half of 2013.[39]


[1] Survey Action Center (SAC) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Landmine Impact Survey: Kingdom of Thailand,” 2001, pp. 7, 17.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request (Revision), 7 August 2008, pp. 15, 19.

[3] Statements of Thailand, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 May 2012 and 28 May 2013.

[4] SAC and NPA, “Landmine Impact Survey: Kingdom of Thailand,” 2001, pp. 22, 88.

[5] Public Relation Region 4, “Chief of Army Protested to Cambodia at landmines planting to harm Thai Soldiers,” 9 March 2013; “Second Army Chief Protest at Landmines,” Bangkok Post, 9 March 2013; and “Sukumpol Presumed Mines Belong to Logging Group,” MCOT PLC, 7 March 2013.

[6] Statement of Cambodia, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 28 May 2013; and Kaing Menghun, “Cambodia Hits Back Over Thai Border Landmine Claims, The Cambodia Daily, 10 March 2013.

[7] Interview with Col. Dusit Purasao, Commander of HMAU 4, TMAC, Bangkok, August 2011.

[8] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Lt.-Gen. Attanop Sirisak, TMAC, 20 May 2011.

[9] Telephone Interview with Suthikiet Sopanik, Director, General Chatichai Choonhavan Foundation (GCCF), 8 June 2006.

[10]Summary of Violence in the South of Thailand from Jan 2004 to February 2012,Deep South Watch, Center for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, 1 April 2012. The Center recorded 11,542 violent incidents between January 2004 and February 2012, resulting in 13,571 casualties, including 5,086 deaths. It is not known how many were killed by IEDs.

[11] Based on Monitor analysis of media reports for 2012, including: “Laying Mine to Lure the Police; One lost leg Another Seriously Injured,Thairath, 21 March 2012; “Narathiwas Villagers Stepped on Mine and Lost Two Legs,INN News, 27 October 2012; “Narathiwas Soldiers Stepped on Mine, Four Injured, 1 Lost Leg,INN News, 5 September 2012; “Temporary Staff of the Krue Sor High Way Office Stepped on Mine, One Injured,Matichon, 26 September 2012; and “Unlucky man stopped to Pee, Stepped on Mine and Had Serious Injury - Nine Years Old Boy Lost a Leg,Deep South Watch, 10 September 2012.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Lt.-Gen. Attanop Sirisak, TMAC, 20 May 2011.

[13]About us: Thailand Mine Action Center,” TMAC website, accessed 14 July 2012.

[14] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Lt.-Gen. Attanop Sirisak, TMAC, 20 May 2011.

[15] E-mail from Chidchanok Suwakon, Manager, Office of Internal Audit, the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM), 10 May 2013.

[16] Document for the Sub-Committee Meetings; Monitor and Evaluation Subcommittee and Clearance and Demining Sub-Committee on 7 September 2012, at TMAC.

[17] Information provided by the Special Affairs Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 20 May 2012.

[18] Interview with Col. Nippon Maneesai, Assistant Director-General, TMAC, 23 March 2013.

[19] Interview with Aksel Steen-Nilsen, Programme Manager, NPA, Bangkok, 28 June 2012; and interview with Aubrey Sutherland-Pillai, Country Director, NPA Thailand, Bangkok, 5 July 2013.

[20] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2013; and APOPO,“Report for APOPO_PRO Survey Work in Trad Province 2011/2012,” Executive Summary, p. 1.

[21] Interview with Aksel Steen-Nilsen, NPA, Bangkok, 2 July 2012.

[22] Information provided by the Special Affairs Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 20 May 2012.

[23] Statement of Thailand, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 28 May 2013.

[24] Information provided by Aubrey Sutherland-Pillai, NPA Thailand, Bangkok, 5 July 2013.

[25] Email from Kim Warren, Programme Manager, APOPO Thailand and Cambodia, 28 March 2013.

[26] Information provided by the Special Affairs Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 20 May 2013.

[27] Interview with Aubrey Sutherland-Pillai, NPA Thailand, Bangkok, 5 July 2013.

[28] Information provided by the Special Affairs Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 20 May 2013; and by the Database Unit, TMAC, 16 August 2013.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request (Revision), 7 August 2008, p. 7.

[31] Ibid., p. 23.

[32] UNDP Thailand, “Capacity Building to Support Thailand Mine Action Center, Project Review Report,” March 2011, p. 17.

[34] Statement of Thailand, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 May 2012.

[35] Statement of Cambodia, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 28 May 2013.

[36] Interview with Col. Terdsak Trirattanakool, Chief of Policy and Plan Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 29 June 2012; and TMAC, “Coordination and Evaluation Unit,” accessed 5 August 2013.

[37] Telephone Interview with Colonel Suchart Chantrawong, Chief of the Coordination and Evaluation Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 5 August 2013.

[38] Information from the Special Affairs Unit, TMAC, Bangkok, 30 April 2013.

[39] Ibid., 20 May 2013 and 5 August 2013.