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BURMA (MYANMAR), Landmine Monitor Report 2002


Key developments since May 2001: Myanmar’s military has continued laying landmines inside the country and along its borders with Thailand. As part of a new plan to “fence the country,” the Coastal Region Command Headquarters gave orders to its troops from Tenasserim division to lay mines along the Thai-Burma border. Three rebel groups, not previously identified as mine users, were discovered using landmines in 2002: Pao People’s Liberation Front, All Burma Muslim Union and Wa National Army. Thirteen rebel groups are now using mines.


Myanmar’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar abstained from voting on the pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly Resolution 56/24M in November 2001. SPDC delegates have not attended any of the annual meetings of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty or the intersessional Standing Committee meetings. Myanmar declined to attend the Regional Seminar of Stockpile Destruction of Anti-personnel Mines and other Munitions, held in Malaysia in August 2001. Myanmar did not respond to an invitation by the government of Malaysia to an informal meeting, held on the side of the January 2002 intersessional meetings in Geneva, to discuss the issue of landmines within the ASEAN context (other ASEAN non-signatories, such as Vietnam, did attend). Myanmar was one of the two ASEAN countries that did not participate in the seminar, “Landmines in Southeast Asia,” hosted by Thailand from 13–15 May 2002.

However, two observers from the Myanmar Ministry of Health attended the Regional Workshop on Victim Assistance in the Framework of the Mine Ban Treaty, held in Thailand from 6-8 November 2001, sponsored by Handicap International (HI). One health officer attending the meeting acknowledged that if Myanmar joined the mine ban it would be a good preventative health measure.[2]

Nongovernmental Organizations

Nonviolence International’s (NI) Southeast Asia office launched a Mine Ban Advocacy and Research Program focused on Burma in 2000. This program has consistently sought to engage political authorities of the government, the opposition National League of Democracy, and the numerous armed non-state actors (NSAs) in Burma. NI has published the Landmine Monitor report in the Burmese language every year since 1999 and distributed it both within the country and along its border regions where the mine problem is particularly severe. NI has developed a special kit to educate and encourage unilateral cessation of mine use by the armed ethnic or political organizations operating in Burma.


Myanmar has been producing at least three types of antipersonnel mines: MM1, MM2, and Claymore-type mines.[3] The MM2 blast mine reportedly will be fitted with a delay fuze, which activates the mine 30 minutes after it has been laid.[4]

Myanmar is not known to have imported or exported any antipersonnel mines during the reporting period. The Myanmar government will release no official information about the types and quantities of antipersonnel mines it stockpiles. As previously reported in Landmine Monitor, Myanmar has obtained and used antipersonnel mines of Chinese, Israeli, Italian, Russian, United States, and unidentified manufacture.[5] Additionally, another mine found in significant quantities in Burma, and still used by government forces, is the LTM-76 antipersonnel mine. Experts have told Landmine Monitor that these are likely to be decades-old mines of Indian-manufacture.[6] The Indian Ministry of External Affairs denies any transfer of such mines in the past, and states that there are no such mines in the current inventory of the Indian Army.[7]


Myanmar’s military force, the Tatmadaw, has continued laying landmines inside the country and along its borders with Thailand. As part of a new Tatmadaw plan to “fence the country,” the Coastal Region Command Headquarters gave orders in April 2001 to its troops from Tenasserim division to lay mines along the Thai-Burma border. According to a government soldier, since the last week of April 2001, the following troops are responsible for laying landmines: Infantry Battalion (IB) 273 for eastern Ye Phyu township, IB 25 for eastern Tavoy township, IB 285 for eastern Thayetchaung township, IB 103 for eastern Palaw township, IB 17 for eastern Tenasserim township, IB 224 for eastern Bokepyin township, and IB 228 for eastern Kawthaung township.[8]

Government troops laid mines in Pa-an and Dooplaya district in Karen state.[9] In a joint operation with the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Tatmadaw laid mines as part of offensive operations in Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) areas of Karen State.[10] SPDC bases in southern Shan State across the border from Chaing Rai have reportedly had their perimeters mined.[11]

Previous Landmine Monitor reports documented use of mines by the Na Sa Ka (Myanmar’s border security force) on the Bangladesh-Burma border, and even inside Bangladesh. However, this practice may have abated or even ended in the past year, according to a Bangladesh border security force (BDR) official and a Burmese rebel leader. The BDR official said that the situation had improved thanks to several meetings between the officials of the border security forces of the two countries.[12] A leader of an armed opposition group in Arakan, Burma, said, “The cause behind Burma’s not planting new mines this year is the fact that Burma has been facing international criticism for its mines activities. The Burmese authority has also understood that we remove mines planted by them. It does not mean that the whole border area is mine-free. We only de-mine our passage with the help of our own experts with some mine-sweeping equipment. Another cause of it may be that we had minimal activities within Burma this year.”[13]

Nevertheless, in March 2002 there were several newspaper reports of mine use by Na Sa Ka forces, and an armed opposition group leader told Landmine Monitor that on 17 March 2002, Na Sa Ka men were seen carrying basketfuls of mines to the no-man’s land and emplacing them.[14]


Burma has a large number of armed political organizations operating within its borders. According to one source, there are 38,700 men under arms from opposition groups or former opposition groups.[15] Thirteen armed rebel groups admit that they use antipersonnel mines. Some groups claim not to use mines in offensive operations. In mid-2001 the Lahu National Organization declared a no-mine-use policy and issued a command to its soldiers to neither use nor acquire antipersonnel mines.[16]


Several armed militias are capable of building blast and fragmentation mines or victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Former DKBA combatants verified their involvement in producing handmade mines, as well as receiving factory-made mines from the Burmese Army.[17]

These same DKBA combatants also alleged that they purchased mines and components from Thai businessmen who operate logging concessions in DKBA-controlled areas close to Myawaddy.[18] Even more disturbing, another armed group leader claimed to have been approached in late 2001 by a local Thai military commander offering antipersonnel mines for sale.[19] Thailand is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and sale or transfer of antipersonnel mines by a Thai national is prohibited.

Several armed groups admit to having antipersonnel mine stockpiles, though none will reveal quantities. Since the publication of Landmine Monitor Report 2001 in September 2001, four more ethnic armed groups have been discovered to maintain stockpiles: National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN); United Wa State Army (UWSA); Wa National Army (WNA); and All Burma Muslim Union (ABMU),[20] as well as a cluster of smaller organizations in southern Karen State who field a few combatants under the banner of the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB Column).[21]


At least thirteen ethnic and rebel armed groups are believed to use antipersonnel mines. Three armed groups, not previously identified as mine users, were discovered using landmines in 2002: Pao People’s Liberation Front (PPLF); All Burma Muslim Union; and Wa National Army. The DAB Column organizations have also admitted to use of antipersonnel mines.[22]

Ten NSAs named in last year’s report have continued to use antipersonnel mines: Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO); Chin National Army (CNA); Shan State Army (SSA); United Wa State Army (UWSA); Karenni Army (KA); Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA); Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF); People’s Defence Forces (PDF); and Myiek-Dawei United Front. One former mine user, God’s Army, is now out of operation.

The Karen National Liberation Army is believed to maintain at least two extensive minefields in the Pa-an district of Karen State; the KNLA states that the mines are necessary to protect internally displaced Karen people (estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands) from attacks by the Burmese Army.[23] It appears that KNLA use of mines may have increased during the reporting period. Mines in Tenasserim division, according to the Karen Human Rights Group, regularly cause casualties among government army patrols.[24] The government issued landmine warnings to alert its soldiers after suffering twenty-four casualties in nineteen incidents from 19 February to 7 April 2001.[25]

Shan State Army reportedly mined areas around its bases straddling the border between Thailand and Burma in those areas of Shan State that are adjacent to Chaing Rai Province of Thailand.[26]

A former second commander of a DKBA battalion estimated 1,000 mines had passed through his hands to his soldiers during the previous six years.[27] People in three villages in Myawaddy township claimed to have heard detonations daily starting October 2001, after the DKBA planted many hundreds of mines, in reprisal for an ambush by the KNLA. By the following month, a villager and two Buddhist monks had stepped on mines in separate incidents, in which one of the monks died.[28]

The DKBA also controls a timber concession area by surrounding it with antipersonnel mines. Thai businessmen obtain permission to cut the forest from the DKBA, and the DKBA place mines to deter attacks upon their revenue base by the rival KNU, while simultaneously preventing the businessmen from unilaterally enlarging their concession area.[29] A mine planted near an abandoned sawmill in the DKBA-controlled area injured a 19-year-old Karen girl while she was looking for bamboo shoots in May 2001.[30] She said she saw some signs saying, “Don’t go further into the jungle,” but had ignored them.

In Karenni State, some mines are allegedly laid in paddy fields, which prevents villagers from farming crops and, instead, leads them to grow opium which requires less space and which is taxed by the NSAs in the area.[31] According to one insurgent, mines are also laid near methamphetamine manufacturing factories in southern Shan States at Namsan and Hsi Hseng, in order to prevent people from going near the factories.[32]

In April 2001, a woman and her daughter were reportedly killed by an antipersonnel mine near a commercial mining concession in Mote Hso, Tavoy province, while they were en route to Thailand.[33]


Nine out of fourteen states and divisions in Burma are mine-affected, with a heavy concentration in eastern Burma.[34] The Dawna mountain range and Moi riverside close to the Thai-Burma border is reportedly heavily mined.[35] Some mountains in Karen State, formerly used as fire bases by the Karen National Liberation Army, have been “no go” areas for over a decade due to severe mine infestation.[36] Areas to the north, east, and south of Papun and to the west, south, and north of Myawadi are heavily mine-affected.[37]

Mines are laid close to areas of civilian activity by the Burmese Army, allegedly to prevent people from returning to their native villages after a forced eviction during counterinsurgency campaigns.[38] Interview records with mine survivors show more than 14 percent are injured within half a kilometer from the center of a village. The same records reveal 63 percent of civilian survivors had been to the area often before they stepped on mines.[39]

Antipersonnel mines planted by both government forces and ethnic armed groups injured and killed not only enemy combatants, but also their own troops, civilians, and animals. Interviews with mine survivors reveal that more than 40 percent of the Karen National Liberation Army mine casualties were self-inflicted (injury or death while laying, lifting, or stepping on their own mines, or those of their comrades).[40] A survey by Handicap International reports six percent of all survivors interviewed for their survey were laying or lifting mines at the time of incident.[41]

No systematic marking of mined areas is done within Burma. In some cases, mine victims witnessed some indicators, such as a dead body, cross-cut in a tree, parts of mines and wires,[42] or vague warnings such as the sign seen by the victim quoted above. Although combatants have repeatedly told Landmine Monitor researchers that they give “verbal warnings” to civilians living near areas which they mine, no single civilian mine survivor interviewed by Nonviolence International during the past three years has ever mentioned or reported the issuance of verbal warnings.


No humanitarian demining activities have been implemented in Burma.[43] At least one commercial mine clearance company is believed to have been in the country for verification prior to the construction of the Yadana Gas Pipeline. Mine clearance by the Burmese Army for some commercial ventures is believed to have taken place. Some rebel groups and villagers remove mines with any equipment available. In Karen State, a group of villagers carried out clearance with a simple consumer quality metal detector and a rake.[44] Several rebel groups have mine detection equipment.[45]

Although mine detection equipment of UK, French, South Korean, and domestic manufacture is possessed by military engineers within the Burmese Army,[46] some frontline troops have allegedly been ordered to undertake clearance using sharpened bamboo probes to seek and clear suspected mined areas.[47]

Mine risk education is not currently available to ordinary people in Burma. Handicap International has run a Mine Risk Education program in three refugee camps in Thailand along the Burma border since June 2001.[48] The target audience is Burmese refugees in Thailand. This program is financially supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

A workshop to educate some Myanmar government agencies about landmine risk was organized under the auspices of the Human Rights Committee of Myanmar, which operates within the Ministry of Home Affairs. The workshop took place in Rangoon on 18-20 February 2002. The Mines Advisory Group provided the key resource person and trainer for the workshop, which was attended by 40 representatives of the police, fire brigades and Myanmar Red Cross, and was funded by AusAID (Australian government).[49] The Mines Advisory Group stated that the attendees were to further instruct communities in mine-safe behavior[50]. Also in February 2001, Asian Landmine Solution (ALS), a commercial demining company, gave a technical briefing on humanitarian demining to three agencies operating within the country: Association for Aid and Relief (AAR), Swiss Aid, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.[51] However, the government of Myanmar does not currently allow any international aid agency to set up programs in mine affected areas.

Atrocity Demining

Burmese Army units operating in areas suspected of mine contamination near the Thai border have repeatedly been accused of forcing non-Burman ethnic local people, or anyone compelled to serve as a porter for the military, to walk in front of the soldiers to detonate any mines. (See Landmine Monitor Reports 1999-2001). According to a Burmese Army defector, on 21 April 2001 in Tennaserim division, three prisoner porters, 22-year-old Aung Hsan Nyunt, 26-year-old Maung Maung Than, and 20-year-old Ko Hsan, were allegedly forced to walk in front of soldiers in suspected mined areas; they were later killed during a firefight between the Burma Army and a guerrilla group.[52] A March 2002 report claims that in Papun and Nyanglebin Districts of Karen State civilians were seized during counterinsurgency operations by the Burmese Army and used as human minesweepers.[53] According to the survey by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than seven percent of interviewed refugees identified “forced to walk on minefields” as a source of trauma.[54] Landmine Monitor cannot verify these reports, but notes that the consistent behavior reported by different sources over the past four years is extremely disturbing.

A newly reported practice demands those taken to porter for the military to manually clear mines without adequate training or tools. A former porter who escaped from Burmese Army service told the Landmine Monitor researcher that he was forced to seek mines using a long sharpened bamboo prod, piercing the ground and removing any found mines by hand.[55] According to the KNLA, in September 2001, during a joint military operation, SPDC and DKBA troops seized forty villagers in Thaton district and forced them to work clearing landmines in this manner.[56]


Although landmine casualties appear to be increasing, especially during the last five to six years, the total number of landmine casualties in Burma remains unknown. Systematic collection of data remains difficult, especially in relation to those who are killed rather than injured in an incident.[57] However, there were reports of new casualties in 2001: between 19 February and 7 April, 24 soldiers were killed or injured in landmine incidents;[58] in April, a woman and her daughter were killed by an antipersonnel mine in Tavoy province;[59] in May, a 19-year-old Karen girl was injured by a mine planted near an abandoned sawmill in the DKBA-controlled area;[60] and in November, in separate incidents, a villager and two Buddhist monks stepped on mines and one of the monks died.[61]

According to the Thailand Landmine Impact Survey data, in two of the highest mine-incident provinces adjacent to Burma, Burmese mine casualties increased from 14 in the period June 1999 to May 2000, to 30 in the period June 2000 to May 2001.[62] The casualty data of Thailand’s Landmine Impact Survey includes many Burmese survivors residing in Thailand.[63] Data from the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency medical clinic in Mae La refugee camp, on the Burma/Thai border, recorded 17 mine casualties sent to Thai hospitals for surgery between June and December 2001.[64]

Handicap International conducted a mine casualties survey focused on mine survivors in Tak Province, Thailand, including refugees living in three camps.[65] It recorded 132 casualties between 1959 and 1995, nine casualties in 1996, 14 in 1997, 16 in 1998, 11 in 1999, 22 in 2000, and ten in the first two months of 2001. All but one of the 214 landmine survivors interviewed were Burmese. Handicap International revealed that in three of the largest refugee camps on the Burma/Thai border covered in their survey, 10 percent of all disabled persons were victims of landmines.[66] The survey was funded by UNHCR.

A survey conducted by Nonviolence International (NI) reveals a similar increase in mine casualties between 1996 and 2000.[67] Interviews of landmine survivors now residing in Thailand and Bangladesh reveal that 40 percent were civilians at the time of incident. Survivors under 16 years comprise six percent of all survivors interviewed, yet half of these were conducting military activities at the time of the incident. Twelve child soldiers were found from the interviews, which account for 11 percent of military mine casualties in the survey.[68] Data from an NSA medical unit collected in three townships in Nyaunlaybin District, Karen State also reveals an increase in mine casualties between 1996 and 2000; one casualty was recorded in 1996 and twelve in 2000.[69] Landmine Monitor research has found that the number of casualties within an NSA’s own group, by their own mines, to be higher than what the NSAs sometimes publicly admit.

All surveys reported that the majority of mine casualties are male (94 percent in NI survey, 95 percent in HI survey, 93 percent in the Landmine Impact Survey, and 96.6 percent in IRC/CDC); and the majority were engaged in military activities at the time of the incident (61 percent in NI, 61.5 percent in HI, 52 percent in Landmine Impact Survey, and 65 percent in IRC/CDC).[70]

The pan-ethnic medical organization, Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT),[71] conducted a survey in several internally displaced communities in Karen State from January to June 2001. The survey used a cluster sampling method and covered 776 households. Of those households in which a person above five years of age had died during the previous year, five percent of deaths were reported to have been caused by landmines.[72]

Limited information is available on landmine casualties in 2002. Handicap International has established a reporting system with Thai border hospitals in order to improve data collection on landmine casualties in Tak province. In the period January to April 2002 nineteen new casualties were reported, including two people killed and seventeen injured. Fourteen of the casualties were the result of incidents on the Burma side of the border.[73]


Availability of medical care depends on where the incident occurred, with an average of 12 hours elapsing before first medical attention, according to interviews by Nonviolence International.[74] After the emergency care, the survey by Handicap International showed that 77 percent of landmine survivors were hospitalized in Thailand, while 23 percent were hospitalized in Burma.[75] A survey by NI shows similar results: 63 percent were hospitalized in Thailand, 27 percent in Burma, and 4 percent in Bangladesh.[76]

Survivor assistance for Burmese mine casualties comes from three main sources: assistance from the public health system; assistance available from non-state sources; and assistance from neighboring states as many members of mine-affected communities have fled the country to seek asylum, or are in rebel controlled areas.

Survivor Assistance Within Myanmar

Survivor assistance continues to be marginal due to the neglect and impoverished state of the medical system in Myanmar.[77] A mine survivor who received medical treatment in Myawaddy governmental hospital said it had cost nearly 100,000 kyat (around US$105); being unable to pay, he sent sacks of rice harvested from his farm instead.[78] Military casualties from within the Burmese Army are eligible to receive treatment in military hospitals in Myanmar, although some have reported having to wait unless they pay a bribe.[79]

Physical rehabilitation and prosthetics are available to landmine survivors within Myanmar through the National Rehabilitation Centers (NRC), provided they can travel to the workshops. The ICRC runs a joint program with the NRCs to provide rehabilitation and prosthetic devices at five centers, two of which are run by the Ministry of Defense and three by the Ministry of Health. There are two centers in Rangoon, and one Mandalay, Maymyo, and Yenanthar.[80] The Myanmar Red Cross registers and refers amputees to the centers while the ICRC covers the costs of transport, lodging, and food during the time needed for a fitting. The ICRC organizes regular refresher courses for technicians, and has trained orthopedic surgeons from Mandalay Hospital in basic prosthetics. The ICRC and Myanmar Red Cross will open a new center for prosthetic production and rehabilitation in Hpa-An, a capital of Karen State, later in 2002.[81] Prostheses are provided for free through these hospitals, though in one case, a mine survivor paid 50,000 Kyats (around US$53), while waiting for their prostheses for food and accommodation fees, during a 20-day stay in the National Rehabilitation Center, and additional transport costs for an attendant who helped the survivor to travel.[82]

The ICRC is the only assistance organization directly involved in physical rehabilitation programs with the government. Orthopedic devices produced with ICRC assistance represent 80 percent of the total national production. In 2001, the ICRC program provided 1,539 prostheses to mine survivors. This accounted for 72 percent of total prosthetic/orthotic production in its joint programs with the Ministries of Health and Defense. Of 14 ICRC Prosthetic/Orthotic programs worldwide in 2001, Myanmar accounts for the third highest number of mine survivors receiving prostheses, after Afghanistan and Angola.[83]

NGOs provide some vocational training to disabled people in Myanmar. The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan in Rangoon has been providing training in tailoring and hair cutting since March 2000; over 150 people have received training, of which about 20 percent are landmine survivors.[84] A vocational workshop for disabled people organized by Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) was held in Rangoon on 19-29 November 2001. All 45 participants were from Kayah State, including at least two landmine survivors.

Survivor Assistance Within NSA Areas or Among the Internally Displaced

In areas close to its borders where ethnic-based militias may control or access territory, some minimal care is provided by their relief and medical arms.[85] The BPHWT also provides some emergency care for casualties in NSA-controlled areas of Mon, Karen, Karenni, and Shan States.[86] The Trauma Care Foundation runs three “jungle clinics” inside the country to provide primary medical care.[87] Available medical care remains poor to non-existent as it relies on mobile medical staff being in the area at the time of need. Low numbers of medical staff, rugged terrain, and the normal chaos and insecurity of civil war means luck is a major factor in receiving trained medical care. International NGOs active in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border have not pursued provision of cross-border medical care in NSA-controlled areas due to the presence of landmines.[88]

The Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP) maintains a prosthetic workshop in a KNU-controlled area. Medical organizations such as BPHWT refer mine survivors to CIDKP’s workshop.[89] Through the assistance of Maryknoll Thailand, a building for a vocational rehabilitation program was built in Mae La Potah, in Karen ethnic area, but it was burned to the ground by a military attack prior to use.[90]

Survivor Assistance Available to Burmese Mine Survivors in Neighboring States

In areas near its borders, the security situation and poor internal facilities drive some Burmese to seek access to services in neighboring states. The Mae Tao Clinic, which is located near the Thai-Burma border, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, American Refugee Committee, Aide Medicale International, and Malteser Germany, all provide emergency medical referral of war injury survivors who arrive at their facilities in refugee camps to hospitals in Thailand.[91] The cost of medical treatment varies according to the extent of the injury, but on average costs over 20,000 Baht (US$454) per person.[92] The cost of transportation alone prohibits some Burmese from seeking medical care in Thailand. To go from mine-affected Pa-an district to Mae Sot, Thailand, a distance of 40 kilometers, costs 5,000 Kyats (around US$5) each way, which is more than two months wages for farmers.[93] In some cases, those who could not reach any medical attention try to treat themselves with herbal leaves.[94]

Both Thai and international organizations continue to provide prosthetics for refugees in Thailand. Handicap International operates four prosthetic workshops in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Vocational training is available at two refugee camps, provided by the Karen Handicapped Welfare Association in Mae La camp, and the Disabled People’s Rehabilitation Team in Nu Po camp; both run candle making, sewing, and mechanics training for disabled people. These local groups are financially supported by Handicap International. The Mae Tao clinic also runs a sewing training program for the disabled. Three of the instructors are landmine amputees.

Some Burmese migrants to Thailand who are landmine survivors cannot access official assistance offered by international organizations if they are not accepted into an organized refugee camp. Since April 2001, the Mae Tao Clinic in Thailand, which specializes in assisting Burmese migrants, has operated a prosthetics section. During 2001, it provided 28 free prostheses, 70 percent of which were for landmine survivors; it also provided training in prosthetics for six people from Burma’s ethnic minority areas. The prosthetic section was funded by Clear Path International in 2001.[95] In the Sangkhlaburi area close to the Thai-Burma border, a joint project by Nonviolence International, Handicap International, the River Kwai Christian Hospital, and a local organizer, provided 28 prostheses for illegal Burmese immigrants in 2001, with funding from individuals in Belgium and Japan.

The International Rescue Committee in Mae Hong Son and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a mental health assessment in three Karenni refugee camps in May-June 2001, focusing on the general camp population and on landmine survivors. The results of the study showed that refugees injured by landmines have high prevalence rates for non-specific psychological problems: depression (59 percent) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (10 percent).[96] The IRC provides a counseling service in the refugee camps; it is not known how many mine survivors benefit from this service.[97]

Less medical care is available on the Bangladesh-Burma border. In one case, a Bangladeshi mine survivor from near the Burma border went through five clinics and hospitals until he reached an NGO, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for Trauma Victims (BRTC), who provided him treatment at a private hospital in the capital that had enough facilities and skill to treat mine injuries.[98]


No disability law exists in Myanmar. Landmine Monitor was told that a disability policy exists, but no one could give details of the content of the policy, even in institutions serving disabled persons. There is an initiative by Disabled People International (DPI) Thailand for improvement of the environment for persons with disabilities in Myanmar. DPI organized a First National Leadership Seminar for People with Disabilities in Rangoon from 20-22 February 2002, funded by the Japan Foundation. Acknowledging the lack of a clear disability policy, either in existence or implementation, DPI submitted a declaration from the seminar, encouraging the government to establish and implement disability laws.[99]

Two observers from the Ministry of Health attended the South East Asia Regional Conference on Victim Assistance, held in Thailand from 6-8 November 2001, sponsored by Handicap International.


[1] The military junta now ruling the country changed the name from Burma to Myanmar. Many ethnic groups within the country still prefer to use the name Burma. In this report, Myanmar is used when referring to the policies and practices of the State Peace and Development Council, and Burma is used otherwise.
[2] Their opinion was voiced during an informal discussion with a Landmine Monitor researcher. The observers were Dr. Tin Win Maung, a director of Medical Care at the Myanmar Ministry of Health, and Dr. Ye Hlaing, a director of the Institute of Paramedical Sciences in Mandalay.
[3] For further details on landmines of Myanmar manufacture, see Landmine Monitor Report 2000 and 2001. Claymore mines have allegedly been used with victim activation/tripwire fuzing. Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 518-519.
[4] Interview with the Free Trade Union of Burma, Mae Sot, Thailand, 28 November 2001.
[5] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 519.
[6] One expert identified the LTM-76 as Indian-manufactured because: “1. the colourings and markings are identical to British munitions before 1975, which both India and Pakistan used. 2. the ‘DI’ marking on the mine is also found on many India munitions. This indicates the arsenal from which the weapon comes from--in this case the Dum Dum Arsenal in India.”
[7] Fax to Landmine Monitor researcher from Sheel Kant Sharma, Jt. Sec. (D&ISA), Indian Ministry of External Affairs, 2 January 2002.
[8] Information provided to Landmine Monitor on a confidential basis by an SPDC soldier, April 2001. This comprises all border townships in southern Burma, which are adjacent to Ratchburi, Phetburi, Prachuapkirikhan, and Chumpon Provinces of Thailand.
[9] Interview with an SPDC military engineer, July 2001. Also, telephone interview with a foreign missionary, Bangkok, 13 February 2001; and, Statement of Karen Human Rights Group’s at a monthly meeting of the Committee for Coordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand, Bangkok, 13 February 2001.
[10] DKBA is a former section of the Karen National Union, but split from the latter, operating at times in alliance with, and with the support of, the Burmese Army since 1992.
[11] Email correspondence with humanitarian aid worker in the Shan community, who heard this from Burmese Shan refugees interviewed arriving from Mong Yawn, 4 April 2002.
[12] LM-Bangladesh interview with Lt. Col. Reza Noor, Commanding Officer, Naikongchari BDR, Naikongchari BDR camp, 16 January 2002.
[13] LM-Bangladesh interview with a leader of an NSA of Arakan, Bangladesh-Burma border, 18 January 2002.
[14] LM-Bangladesh interview with leaders of the NSAs of Arakan and cross-border traders, Bangladesh-Burma border, 26 and 27 March 2002; Abdul Kuddus Rana, “Na Sa Ka has planted mines along Myanmar border anew,” Prothom Aloo (The First Light), 25 March 2002, p. 5; Bandarban reporter, “Na Sa Ka again planted landmines along Bandarban border,” Ittefaque (Way of Events), 24 March 2002, p.1.
[15] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2000-2001, (London: Oxford University Press, 2001). Although some of these groups have verbal agreements to cease armed hostility, a formal ceasefire has been signed with only one group. All groups maintain their arms and no further actions on a peace accord are being pursued.
[16] Interview with U Aye Maung, LNO General Secretary, Chaing Mai Province, 5 September 2001.
[17] Interview with former Democratic Karen Buddhist Army members, Thay Ka Ya village, Burma, 30 November 2001.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Interview with ethnic group leader, Chaing Mai, Thailand, November 2001.
[20] Interview with a rebel officer, 5 September 2001; interview with a leader of an ethnic group, 6 September 2001. For information on NSAs involvement in landmine use, see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 474-476.
[21] The DAB Column is the armed wing of political opposition organizations including the Democratic Party for a New Society, the People’s Patriotic Party, and others.
[22] Interviews with the leadership of various ethnic and rebel groups. These took place at locations in Chaing Mai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang, Mae Sot Kanchanaburi, and Sangkhlaburi, Thailand between September and November 2001.
[23] Interview with Karen Human Rights Group member, Mae Sot, Thailand, 28 November 2001.
[24] Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), “ A Strategy of Subjugation: The Situation in Ler Mu Lah township, Tenasserim division,” December 2001, p. 3.
[25] Interview with a SPDC military officer, April 2001.
[26] Email correspondence with humanitarian aid worker in the Shan community, who heard this from Burmese Shan refugees arriving from Mong Yawn, 4 April 2002.
[27] Interview with former Democratic Karen Buddhist Army members, Thay Ka Ya village, Burma, 30 November 2001.
[28] Email correspondence with FTUB, 27 November 2001 and interview with FTUB members, Mae Sot, 28 November 2001.
[29] Interview with ex-DKBA commander, Thay Ka Ya village, Burma, 30 November 2001.
[30] Interview with Naw Mya Win, Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand, 18 September 2001.
[31] Interview with insurgent who arrived directly from southwest Shan State, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, May 2001.
[32] Ibid. At least three civilians were reported to have been injured by mines in these “off-limit” areas in 1998 and 1999.
[33] Interview with insurgent who arrived directly from southwest Shan State, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, May 2001.
[34] Chin State, Kachin State, Karen State, Karenni State, Mon State, Pegu division, Rakine State, Shan State, and Tenasserium division.
[35] Interview with ex-DKBA commander, 30 November 2001. Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[36] Interview with former ABSDF commander, Chaing Mai, Thailand, 22 March 2002. He stated that these mountains were former guerrilla bases, but were mined heavily when they were forced to abandon them to prevent government forces from using them.
[37] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002. This data has been collected through direct interviews with 192 landmine victims from Burma by Nonviolence International between 1999-2002.
[38] Karen Human Rights Group, “Fight, Hunger and Survival; Repression and Displacement in the Villages of Papun and Nyaunglegin District,” October 2001, pp. 53-57.
[39] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[40] Ibid.
[41] Handicap International, “Mine Casualties Survey Report Tak Province, Thailand,” August 2001.
[42] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[43] Some NSAs and the Tatmadaw conduct military demining. In some cases, NSAs remove SPDC mines then re-deploy them. See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 522 for detail.
[44] Photographic evidence given to Landmine Monitor during interview with the chief prosthetic technician of the Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand, 28 November 2001.
[45] Photographic documentation from various sources, all undated, showing NSAs involved in detection and lifting operations with electronic detectors.
[46] Andrew Selth, “Landmines in Burma: The Military Dimension,” Working Paper No. 352, Australian National University Strategic & Defense Studies Center, Canberra, November 2000, pp. 18- 19.
[47] Interview with an SPDC military officer, April 2001.
[48] Handicap International, “Mine Casualties Survey Report; Tak Province Thailand,” August 2001.
[49] The workshop included The Ottawa Convention, Humanitarian Mine Action, Descriptions of Mines and UXO, International Safety Messages, Rescue and Warning Signs, Training Methods, Working with Social Groups, Psycho-Social Affects of Disability.
[50] Email to Landmine Monitor (HRW) from Tim Carstairs, Director for Policy, MAG, 22 July 2002.
[51] Interview with organizations that participated in the briefing, 27 February 2001.
[52] Interview with Burmese Army defector, 24 April 2001.
[53] A Relief Team (FBR), “Burma Reports: Burma Army Attacks on Villages and IDPs in Northern Karen State,” March 2002, received by Landmine Monitor through email on 23 May 2002.
[54] International Rescue Committee and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Mental Health Assessment among Karenni Refugees in 3 Camps in Mae Hong Son,” Thailand, August 2001.
[55] Interview with a former porter who served for SPDC military during February and March 2001. Interview was conducted on 21 April 2001.
[56] Karen National Union Press Release No 49/2001, 27 September 2001. Available at KNU website: www.tawmeipa.org.
[57] Handicap International, “Mine Casualties Survey Report; Tak Province Thailand,” August 2001; Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002; and reports from KNU medical unit submitted to Landmine Monitor in November 2001.
[58] Interview with a SPDC military officer, April 2001.
[59] Interview with insurgent who arrived directly from southwest Shan State, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, May 2001.
[60] Interview with Naw Mya Win, Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand, 18 September 2001.
[61] Email correspondence with FTUB, 27 November 2001 and interview with FTUB members, Mae Sot, 28 November 2001.
[62] These figures, only for mine victims from Burma, taken from Thailand’s Landmine Impact Survey data, were extracted from the database at the Thailand Mine Action Center by Landmine Monitor researchers.
[63] For detail of the Thailand Landmine Impact Survey, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 489.
[64] Statistics on War Injuries from MSF, provided to Landmine Monitor, 15 March 2002. In the same period in 2000, 16 mine casualties were transferred. Information was not available for the full year as data for some months had been lost.
[65] Handicap International, “Mine Casualties Survey Report; Tak Province Thailand,” August 2001.
[66] Ibid., pp. E5-6.
[67] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002. NI’s survey shows five casualties in 1996 and 23 in 2000. The survey, started in 1999, is ongoing and includes data obtained from landmine survivors as well as from mine-affected communities. NI has attempted to include other agencies in the data collection process and is negotiating with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health to develop a Mine Incident Surveillance Database within the National Rehabilitation Hospitals. NI’s survey received financial support from the Canadian government, Open Society Institute, and the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor.
[68] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[69] Report from a Karen medic, received by Landmine Monitor in November 2001.
[70] The figures from the Landmine Impact Survey data were extracted from the database at the Thailand Mine Action Center by the Landmine Monitor researchers. Statistics for mine casualties sent for emergency surgery from the MSF border clinic for 2000-2001 are 97 percent male, 3 percent female (MSF data was sent to Landmine Monitor 15 March 2002, but is missing some months of 2001 due to data loss).
[71] Back Pack Health Worker Team consists of 60 small groups who travel in ethnic-controlled areas of Burma with medicines, food and tools for emergency care in backpacks.
[72] Backpack Health Worker Team Program, Summary of Descriptive Analysis of Water, Sanitation and Mortality Survey, January-June 2001.
[73] Fax to Landmine Monitor Thailand from Saowaluk Sae-Tang, Mine Risk Education Project Manager, Handicap International, Mae Sot, 15 May 2002.
[74] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[75] Handicap International, “Mine Casualties Survey Report; Tak Province Thailand,” August 2001, pp. E12-13.
[76] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma,” Internal Report, 2002.
[77] See also Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp.524-526.
[78] Interview with a landmine survivor in Mae La Refugee Camp, 19 March 2002. He was hospitalized from 20 March 2001 until the end of May 2001.
[79] Interview with Dr. Cynthia Maung, Director, Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand, 28 November 2001.
[80] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programmes, Annual Report 2001, ICRC, Geneva, 4 April 2002.
[81] ICRC (Geneva), Special Report, Mine Action 2001, July 2002, p. 25.
[82] Interview with a landmine survivor, Rangoon, November 2001.
[83] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programmes, Annual Report 2001, ICRC, Geneva, 4 April 2002.
[84] Email to Landmine Monitor from Yukie Osa, AAR Japan, 19 June 2002.
[85] Interviews with 54 landmine survivors by Nonviolence International show that 26 percent of mine victims who received medical care inside Burma went through either mobile clinics or ethnic group’s frontline medical team.
[86] Some foreign missionary aid groups also provide services.
[87] Landmine Monitor interview with a member of Trauma Care Foundation, 18 January 2002; Annual Report 2001 of Trauma Care Foundation. The Norwegian government supports the foundation with its activities.
[88] Comment from an MSF member at the Committee for Co-ordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand, 13 March 2002.
[89] Interview with a coordinator of BPHWT, 18 March 2002.
[90] Interview with Dr. Cynthia Maung, Director, Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand, 13 March 2002.
[91] MSF referred 30 mine casualties to Mae Sod hospital in Thailand from April 2001 to November 2001, according to the MSF office in Mae Sod, 10 December 2001.
[92] Email correspondence with MSF office in Mae Sot, 22 March 2002.
[93] Interview with Dr. Cynthia Maung, Director, Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand, 28 November 2001; Burma Fund, “Humanitarian Crisis, Aid and Governance of Burma,” April 1999.
[94] Nonviolence International, “Analysis of the Impact of Landmines in Burma”, Internal Report by Michiyo Kato, 2002.
[95] Interview with Dr. Cynthia Maung, Director, Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, Thailand, 13 March 2002.
[96] International Rescue Committee and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Mental Health Assessment among Karenni Refugees in 3 Camps in Mae Hong Son,” Thailand, August 2001. The survey covers 58 landmine survivors in the three refugee camps.
[97] The IRC in Thailand, http://www.theirc.org/where/index.cfm?locationID=42 (accessed 28 June 2002).
[98] Interview with a landmine survivor by Landmine Monitor Bangladesh researcher, January 2002.
[99] The declaration, written in Burmese, was submitted to the leaders of the Myanmar government and stated that participants would “cordially welcome a law for the disabled.”