Key developments since May 2004: Myanmar’s military forces, the
Tat Ma Daw, and at least 12 non-state armed groups have continued to use
antipersonnel mines. This includes two groups newly identified as mine users,
the Karenni People’s National Liberation Front and Karenni National
Solidarity Organization, which have undertaken some armed activities in
collaboration with the Tat Ma Daw. In the absence of official information,
informal interviews with officials and civilians reveal that mines pose a
significant threat to communities in nine of 14 states and divisions. Forced
demining by civilians (“atrocity demining”) was reported in
2004-2005, as in previous years. No humanitarian mine clearance has taken place
in Burma. No military or village demining has been reported since May 2004. At
a UNHCR seminar in November 2004, the mine threat was identified as one of the
most serious impediments to the safe return of internally displaced persons and
refugees. Mine risk education is carried out by NGOs on an increasing basis,
in refugee camps and within other assistance efforts. The number of mine
incidents and casualties remains unknown, but NGOs providing assistance to mine
survivors indicate that casualties have increased. Mine action and other
humanitarian assistance programs were disrupted by changes in the government in
Mine Ban Policy
The Union of Myanmar’s ruling State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar was one of 22 countries
that abstained from voting on UN General Assembly Resolution 59/84 in December
2004, which called for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Myanmar did not
send an observer to the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in
Nairobi in November-December 2004. The somewhat increased interest in landmine
issues shown by the government in 2003 and early 2004 has not been
sustained.[2 ]The UN Mine Action
Service (UNMAS) canceled its first mission to
Myanmar.[3 ]Requests for information
pertaining to various sections of this report, delivered to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs in Yangon, have gone unanswered. As part of the Halt Mine Use
in Burma campaign, more than 9,000 copies of the Burmese-language translation of
parts of Landmine Monitor Report 2004 were
Production, Transfer and Stockpiling
Myanmar Defense Products Industries, a state enterprise, produces
antipersonnel landmines.[5 ]The
Burmese Army has obtained and is using an increasing number of mines of the US
M-14 design.[6 ]Manufacture and
source of these mines is unknown. Myanmar is not known to have exported
antipersonnel mines.[7 ]Myanmar
officials have previously claimed to have a policy of no export, but have never
issued a formal moratorium or ban.[8 ]
The ruling authorities in Myanmar 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, Indian, Italian, Soviet, US and unidentified
Myanmar’s military forces and non-state armed groups have used
landmines extensively throughout the long-running civil war. Landmine
Monitor Report 2004 identified the SPDC as one of only two governments to
have used antipersonnel mines consistently in the previous five
years.[10 ]A former Myanmar Army
soldier, himself a landmine survivor, was interviewed in a foreign journal in
April 2005 and said, “I never shot a single enemy with a gun, but the
mines I planted have claimed many lives.” He said he was in charge of a
minefield with 30,000 mines in the early 1980s in Shan
Following the internal purge in the junta in October 2004, there was
increased military action in Karen (Kayin), Karenni (Kayah) and Shan states,
with allegations of mine use by all
combatants.[12 ]Thousands of Karen
and Shan people were forced into internal displacement due to SPDC
operations.[13 ]Use of mines by the
SPDC was also reported in Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) and Pegu (Bago) divisions.
In some instances, the SPDC conducted joint military operations with non-state
armed groups (see below).
From October 2004 to January 2005, and in March 2005, the Myanmar Army
reportedly laid mines along the sides of the Kushaw-Shwekyin road, which runs
between Papun in northern Karen State and Shwekyin, in order to interdict
insurgent use of the road.[14 ]In
December 2004, the UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur voiced his
concern about the impact of landmines in ethnic minority
The Free Burma Rangers (FBR), an evangelical organization offering medical
and other assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in some conflict
areas, have reported on numerous mine-laying operations by the Myanmar Army.
According to the FBR: in February 2005, the SPDC and Karenni National Solidarity
Organization (KNSO) conducted a joint operation in which they laid 1,000 M-14
mines in Karenni State in the area between Mawchi in the southwest corner and
the Karen state border;[16 ]during
military operations in November and December of 2004, several light infantry
brigades of the Myanmar Army built new frontline camps 20 kilometers northeast
of Shwekyin Shweygyn city and mined all approaches to the area
extensively;[17 ]on 28 September
2004, Light Infantry Brigade 428 burned Nu Thu Hta village as a part of a
counter-insurgency operation, and laid 18 landmines in the vicinity before
withdrawing;[18 ]in July 2004, two
Army battalions laid mines in the northern part of Karen State and into
southwest Karenni State;[19 ]in May
2004, the Army placed landmines in areas south of the Mawchi road near the
village of Paho in Karenni State.[20 ]Landmine Monitor has not independently confirmed these reports from the
Free Burma Rangers.
Non-State Armed Groups
More than 30 different ethnic and rebel political organizations, with an
combatants,[21 ]exist within the
country. The SPDC lists various non-state armed groups (NSAGs) within the
country on the national website.[22 ]The National Democratic Front, an alliance of armed opposition groups, has
claimed that the use of landmines is necessary for defense against Army attacks
on their territory.[23 ]A member of
the Karen National Union (KNU) stated that, “There are many SPDC soldiers
and the KNU doesn’t have many bullets and shells, so they use the
landmines.”[24 ]During talks
between the KNU and the SPDC in early 2005, the KNU informed the SPDC that SPDC
troops could patrol roads without fear of mines or forcing villagers to walk
ahead of them.
Different ethnic political groups with armed components opposing the ruling
military junta have been engaged by the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) on issues related to the conflict and their obligations under
humanitarian law.[26 ]
NSAG Production, Transfer and Stockpiling
Several armed militias are capable of building blast mines, fragmentation
mines, Claymore-type mines, and mines with antihandling
fuzing.[27 ]Some armed groups admit
to having antipersonnel mine stockpiles, or components for making antipersonnel
mines, though none will reveal quantities. NSAGs acquire mines in a number of
other ways: lifting SPDC-laid mines from the ground, seizing SPDC stocks during
attacks, and from the clandestine arms
market.[28 ]In January 2005, KNLA
units seized a stock of 200 mines during a
firefight.[29 ]The opposition
organizations that have agreed to non-hostility with the SPDC, as well as those
still in active armed conflict, maintain stockpiles of antipersonnel
landmines.[30 ]One group, not
previously identified by Landmine Monitor, who may also stockpile antipersonnel
mines is the Democratic Party of Arakan
There were at least twelve non-state armed groups using antipersonnel mines
in Burma in 2004 and 2005.[32 ]This
includes two organizations not previously confirmed by Landmine Monitor as mine
users, the Karenni State Nationalities People’s National Liberation Front
(KNPLF) and Karenni National Solidarity Organization. These two groups engaged
in joint military operations in support of the SPDC in late 2003 and early 2004,
which included use of mines.[33 ]Given the intensity of combat operations, it is likely that the Karen
National Liberation Army was the NSAG using mines most extensively in this
There are unconfirmed reports of mine use by other
NSAGs.[34 ]In addition, there are
two groups that have used mines in the past, but who have non-hostility
understandings with the SPDC.[35 ]Neither has renounced mines and it is not certain if they have stopped
using mines. Some NSAGs that previously used mines appear to be spent as a
military force, and some have turned to
banditry.[36 ]One armed group that
formerly used antipersonnel mines, and had signed the Geneva Call Deed of
Commitment to renounce mine use or possession in December 2003, ceased military
activity in 2004.[37 ]
Nine out of 14 states and divisions in Burma suffer from some level of
landmine contamination, primarily antipersonnel mines.
Mine contamination is most heavily concentrated in eastern parts of the
country.[38 ]The borders with
Thailand and Bangladesh are extensively mined; the border with India is more
lightly mined.[39 ]United Nations
assistance programs, which have grown in size and coverage in recent years, have
started encountering mine-affected communities. In February 2005, UN field
staff reported that areas around Kalaw in Shan State, the area from Mong Pan to
Mongton, and east of Lashio are
mine-contaminated.[40 ]Areas where
gem mining takes place, and infrastructure such as the Lawpita hydroelectric
power station in central Karenni State, have often been mined.
An NGO worker who visited villages in Hpa-an district of Karen State with
public health officials stated that there were mined areas within a five minute
walk of all villages visited.[41 ]Some Karen villages in Pa-an District have had to move three times after
each previous settlement was burned and mined to prevent return.
In November 2004 a presentation by the Deputy Regional Representative of the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at a seminar, which involved NGOs
working with refugees, identified mines as one of the most serious impediments
to the safe return of refugees from Thailand to
Burma.[42 ]Infrastructure projects
and economic activity have also been prevented or made hazardous by mine
Fencing and Marking
There appears to be no systematic fencing and marking of mined areas. In
southern Karenni (Kayah) near Mawchi, villagers reported, on condition of
anonymity, that mined areas are not normally marked or fenced, but there may be
on occasion traditional signs to indicate danger areas. On other occasions,
there may be impromptu warning signs, such as a dead body, a crosscut into a
tree, or parts of mines and wires. Unofficial warning marks may be placed by
local community members. A specific style of woven bamboo fencing painted
white, surrounding an area and without openings, may mark a minefield,
particularly near military installations and locations such as
No survey activities to identify mine-affected areas are known to have been
carried out in Burma.
The International Labor Organization noted with concern the number of people
taken into forced labor, particularly by the military, who have suffered
“mutilations and violent deaths occurring during mine-clearing
operations.”[45 ]On 5
February 2005, the Burma Army light infantry brigade 439 is alleged to have
conscripted two villagers to walk ahead to clear any mines with their bodies on
the Toungoo-Mawchi road. Another brigade on a southern extension of the same
road allegedly conscripted villagers to carry loads ahead of them to clear mines
on the road between Kaw Thay Der and Busakee, resulting in one 15-year-old
Two films, released in early 2005, included former porters describing how
they were forced to clear mines for the
Army.[47 ]In March 2005, similar
allegations were reported, including that members of the People’s Militia
(Pyitthu Sit) were required to “guide” SPDC patrols in areas
suspected of being mined by the Karen National Liberation Army, and that the
Army asked villagers along the Kler Lah - Bu Sah road to clear the edges of the
road, and to harvest vegetables and wood from the surrounding shrubbery, despite
the presence of landmines in the
area.[48 ]A report published by the
Karen Human Rights Group in September 2004 revealed many cases, which took place
in previous years but had not been reported, of people forced to sweep roads for
landmines, or do military portering in mine-affected
Mine Clearance and Mine Risk Education
Some sporadic military clearance and village demining has been reported in
the past, but none in the current reporting
period.[50 ]There is no
humanitarian mine clearance program in Burma, as of mid-2005.
Mine risk education (MRE) has been undertaken by international NGOs, as
preparation for possible mine action in the future. Handicap International,
Mines Advisory Group and Norwegian People’s Aid have all undertaken
informal exploratory activities to assess the needs and possibilities for Burma.
Handicap International has run an MRE program targeting Burmese refugees in
camps in Thailand, strung along the Burmese border, since June
UNHCR conducted an assessment of MRE capacity among Yangon-based NGOs in
June 2004. Several NGOs were found to carry out MRE in or near mine-affected
communities, based on UNMAS mine safety briefing
The NGO Nonviolence International conducted training in MRE for public
health personnel in Karen State throughout 2004. Since 2003, almost 100 public
health practitioners have been trained in MRE and have integrated MRE messages
in public health programs in mine-affected villages in Dooplaya and Hpa-an
Districts of Karen State.[53 ]From
June 2002 to December 2004, Nonviolence International received 1,220,000 Thai
Baht (US$30,500) from the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines and private donors in
Japan, in support of its MRE program in Karen
State.[54 ]In early 2005, this
program was passed to a newly formed national NGO, Shanti Sena, which has
started to administer MRE directly in Karen
ICRC planned to launch a new program of preventative mine action, including
MRE, in Karen State during 2004. The program is designed to be compatible with
the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), in preparation for
future mine action in Burma.[56 ]This program had to undergo adjustments following changes in the
government in October 2004.
The number of mine incidents and casualties remains unknown, although
reports from NGOs indicate that casualties have been increasing in the last five
to six years.
The Ministry of Health does not separate landmine injuries from other trauma
injuries, describing only “injuries, specified and unspecified and
multiple body regions” as the fifth leading cause of mortality and third
most common cause of injuries.[57 ]
Systematic collection of data remains difficult, especially in relation to
those killed rather than injured in an incident. Areas where landmines have
been laid extensively are often still experiencing armed conflict. According to
ICRC, talks on the cessation of hostilities between SPDC and KNU in 2004 have
made some areas formerly affected by the conflict more accessible, leading to
some attempts at agriculture which has resulted in an increase in injuries
caused by mines and unexploded ordnance
(UXO).[58 ]Civilian casualties
include people seized for forced portering by the military, or for other duties
required by the military, such as collection of bamboo for barracks. Other
civilian casualties occur during activities not connected with the military,
such as collecting food in the forest, cutting and collecting firewood, and
In 2004, the Mae Tao Clinic, in Mae Sot, received 16 mine casualties for
International-Thailand’s Burmese Border Program reported that 53 new mine
casualties crossed the border and sought medical care between January 2004 and
February 2005.[61 ]
Other reports include an incident in January 2004, where a 17-year-old man
stepped on a mine allegedly laid by a passing Burmese Army
patrol.[62 ]Several incidents were
reported in Myawaddy Township in Karen State near the Thai border. In March
2004, a 29-year-old woman was injured by a mine beside her rice field, and in
late May a 37-year-old woman was injured by a mine when she went to find her cow
near her village. In two separate incidents, a 21-year-old man and a
29-year-old woman were injured by mines near their rice fields. All casualties
survived but suffered amputations. In December 2004, a 15-year-old villager in
central Toungoo District of Karen State lost his leg after stepping on a
landmine while working his field.[63 ]On 22 November, a landmine exploded at the border checkpoint in Kawkareik
Township, Karen State, killing three and injuring four state
employees.[64 ]In 2004, the ICRC in
Thailand received 49 people wounded by mine injuries from
Casualties continue to be reported in 2005. On 10 January, when 200
villagers fled to the Thai border from a military offensive in Dooplaya
District, one of them stepped on a mine. He survived and was transported to Mae
Sot hospital in Thailand for
treatment.[66 ]In March, one person
was killed and one injured when their vehicle hit a mine near Loikaw, the
capital of Karenni State.[67 ]Srisangwal Hospital, situated in Mae Hong Son, admitted eight mine
casualties between December 2004 and April 2005; all were either Karenni or
The total number of mine survivors in Burma remains unknown.
Survivor Assistance and Disability Policy and
Survivor assistance within Burma is improving, but continues to be marginal
due to many years of neglect of the civilian medical system by the military
rulers.[70 ]According to limited
interviews with landmine survivors within Burma, military survivors received
better treatment than civilians, and were more likely to have post-injury
Availability of medical care depends on where the mine incident occurs.
Survivor assistance for mine casualties comes from several sources, including
the public health system, sources within zones of conflict and neighboring
The Mae Tao Clinic, Médecins Sans Frontières, International
Rescue Committee, American Refugee Committee, Aide Medicale International,
Handicap International, Malteser Germany and ICRC provide emergency referral in
Thailand for war-injured people arriving in refugee
Beginning in 2004, Médecins Sans Frontières accessed areas of
Burma that are still considered insecure. Through the use of mobile healthcare
teams or the upgrading of clinics, assistance was provided in previously
restricted areas of Mon, Karen and Karenni
From Thailand, Backpack Health Worker teams run an independent medical
service into rebel controlled areas of Mon, Karen, Karenni and Shan
states—as do some other private organizations—to provide public
health education and emergency care, including amputation surgery for mine
In 2004, ICRC completed repairs, upgrading or material and technical
assistance projects in 11 hospitals in conflict zones within Burma. As well, 83
hospital or health center staff attended workshops on war-surgery and waste
management, and 250 health personnel in Karen State attended sessions that
included the role of medical staff in conflict-affected
areas.[73 ]ICRC surgeons made a
presentation on war surgery, including amputation and other care for mine
casualties, at an annual military medical conference at Mingaladon Military
Physical rehabilitation and prosthetics are available to mine survivors
through the National Rehabilitation Centers. ICRC supports three government-run
centers under the Ministry of Health (in Yangon, Mandalay and Madaya), and two
centers under the Ministry of Defense (in Yangon and Pyin Oo Lwin). In
addition, the Hpa-an Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center is a joint program between
ICRC and Myanmar Red Cross; 840 amputees were monitored under the program.
Myanmar Red Cross also operates an outreach prosthetic program to assist persons
with disabilities in remote areas access services. ICRC conducted a three-month
physiotherapy course and two refresher courses on technical and clinical
procedures for lower limb prostheses at the Hpa-An center. The training of
three technicians was subsidized at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and
Orthotics. In 2004, these six centers provided physical rehabilitation for more
than 2,000 people, fitted 2,071 prostheses (1,531 for mine survivors) and 38
orthoses (12 for mine survivors), and distributed 2,591 crutches. Burma
accounted for the second highest number of prosthetics delivered to mine
survivors by ICRC globally.
The KNU hospital at Gho Kay provided 18 prostheses through the Committee for
Internally Displaces Karen People’s (CIDKP) “flying
prosthetics” program. Technicians travel to remote villages to measure
amputees, return to the hospital to make the limb, and then deliver the
prostheses to the amputee for fitting and adjustment. The program stalled in
2004 due to a lack of components and
From 17-23 January 2004, the Prosthetics Foundation of Thailand held a
prosthetics workshop in the border town of Tachilek in Shan State. The workshop
fitted 300 prostheses to 184 war-injured; the majority of amputees were mine
Vocational training for persons with disabilities in Myanmar is provided by
international and local NGOs. In Yangon, the Association for Aid and Relief,
Japan (AAR-Japan), provides vocational training in tailoring and hairstyling.
In 2004, 79 people with a disability graduated from its vocational training
center; 10 were mine survivors. From January to April 2005, another 28 people
graduated; six were landmine survivors. In a follow-up survey, it was found
that 222 of 342 graduates of the program (65 percent) were using their acquired
skills in income generating
The Myanmar Council of Churches conducts between four and six vocational
training programs per year for disabled persons. These workshops are mobile,
and are held in different states and divisions to increase their reach. Some of
the disabled who have attended their workshops are landmine survivors.
[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. State and Division names are given in
their common form, or with the SPDC designation in parentheses, e.g., Karenni
[2 ]See Landmine Monitor Report
2004, p. 935.
[3 ]Interview with John Langdon,
Chief, Programme Support Section, UNMAS, New York, 7 April 2005.
[4 ]Halt Mine Use in Burma is an
ICBL campaign launched in mid-2003 to encourage all combatants in Burma to agree
to stop using antipersonnel mines for humanitarian reasons, and as a
confidence-building measure toward a nationwide cease-fire and a total landmine
ban. New ministers, all 13 members of the ruling military junta, the political
opposition, UN agencies, and international and national NGOs within the country
received copies of the report. Many individuals and organizations helped with
[5 ]Myanmar produces: the MM1,
which is modeled after 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.
[6 ]A variety of sources have
remarked upon this to Landmine Monitor, among them internally displaced persons,
porters and insurgents, including an interview with an insurgent member in Mae
Sariang, Thailand, in September 2004. This testimony is supplemented by
photographic evidence circulated on the electronic mail list of the Free Burma
Rangers (FBR), 3 May 2005.
[7 ]Officials from Myanmar’s
Defense Ministry allegedly offered landmines, among other arms, for sale during
an official visit to Bangladesh in late 2003. See Landmine Monitor Report
2004, p. 928; “Dhaka, Yangon eye defense pairing,” Daily Star
(Dhaka), 21 September 2003.
[8 ]In 1996, Myanmar’s UN
Representative U Mya Than stated, “Myanmar is supportive of banning
exports, transfers and indiscriminate use of APLs.” Explanation of Vote on
Anti-Personnel Mines, undated document, 52nd UN General Assembly, 1996.
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, M-14, M-16A1, M-18; Indian/British,
[10 ]See Landmine Monitor
Report 2004, p. 6, naming Myanmar and Russia.
“The death that lurks
beneath the ground,” Irrawaddy (monthly, Chiang Mai, Thailand),
April 2005, p. 13.
[12 ]See for example: “So
Much for the Ceasefire,” Irrawaddy (monthly, Chiang Mai, Thailand),
October 2004, p. 4; “Junta launches major crackdown on Nagas,”
Nation (Bangkok), 4 December 2004; “Karen under attack by junta
troops,” Nation (Bangkok), 13 December 2004; “Fierce clashes
send hundreds of Karen fleeing into Umphang,” Nation (Bangkok), 13
January 2005; “Junta assault halts peace talks,” Nation
(Bangkok), 1 February 2005; “Junta told ‘talk or face more
war,’” Nation (Bangkok), 1 March 2005; “Heavy
Casualties in Wa-Shan Fighting,” Irrawaddy, April 2005, p. 3.
[13 ]Global IDP Project report,
“Burma: displacement continues unabated in one of the world’s worst
IDP situations,” Geneva, 27 June 2005.
[14 ]Karen Human Rights Group,
Report from the Field, 4 May 2005; FBR, “1,300 IDPs flee Burma Army in
Nyanglebin District,” 17 March 2005. This report was sent to Landmine
Monitor by email on 18 March 2005.
[15 ]United Nations Commission on
Human Rights, “Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar,” Report of the
Special Rapporteur, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, E/CN.4/2005/36, 11 December 2004, p.
13. The report notes, “Continuing reports of the use of landmines, forced
labour and sexual violence indicate that fundamental human rights are at risk in
[16 ]FBR, “Pictures from
Karenni State, Burma,” February 2005. This report was sent to Landmine
Monitor by email on 9 March 2005 and was accompanied by photographs.
[17 ]FBR, “Mission Report:
IDP Relief Mission to Shweygyn Township, Nyaunglebin District, Karen State,
19-31 December 2004.” This report was sent to Landmine Monitor by email on
6 February 2005.
[18 ]FBR, “Situation
report: Burma Army attacks in southern Karen State and southern Karenni
state.” This report was sent to Landmine Monitor by email on 1 October
[19 ]FBR, “Burma Army
continues its attacks on villagers and IDPs in Karenni State.” This report
was sent to Landmine Monitor by email on 27 November 2004.
[20 ]FBR, “Karenni
villagers flee approaching Burma Army troops.” This report was sent to
Landmine Monitor by email on 26 June 2004.
[21 ]International Institute for
Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2004-2005, (London: Oxford
University Press, October 2004), p. 184.
[23 ]Formed in 1976, the NDF is a
military alliance comprised of nine anti-SPDC armed ethnic political
organizations. In an interview on 3 October 2003, NDF General Secretary Zing
Cung told Landmine Monitor, “We cannot escape the use of landmines for our
[24 ]The armed forces of the KNU
are the Karen National Liberation Army. Karen Human Rights Group,
“Enduring Hunger and Repression: Food Scarcity, Internal Displacement, and
the Continued Use of Forced Labour in Toungoo District,” 27 September
Karen Human Rights Group,
Report from the Field, KHRG #2005-F3, 22 March 2005,
[26 ]ICRC, “Annual Report
2004,” pp. 153, 155.
[27 ]See Landmine Monitor
Report 2004, p. 939.
[28 ]See Landmine Monitor
Report 2004, pp. 939-940.
[29 ]On 11 January, SPDC and KNLA
forces engaged in brief conflict at Gaw Law Wah village in Karen State, during
which 200 LTM-76 antipersonnel landmines were seized. Landmine Monitor
interviews with NGO workers, Mae Sot, Thailand, 9 May 2005.
[30 ]About a dozen armed
organizations have agreed verbally to cease hostility with the SPDC. Although
frequently referred to as ‘cease-fire groups,’ none have signed a
formal cease-fire protocol leading to a negotiated settlement. All maintain
their arms, including any stockpile of antipersonnel landmines.
[31 ]This was alleged by a leader
of the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) during discussions with Landmine
Monitor in early 2004 in Bangkok. DPA split from NUPA some years earlier and
appears to be solely involved in banditry in the tri-border region of
[32 ]This includes: Shan State
Army; Karen National Liberation Army; Karenni Army; Karenni State Nationalities
People’s Liberation Front; Karenni National Solidarity Organization; All
Burma Students Democratic Front; Myiek-Dawei United Front; Wa National Army; Pao
People’s Liberation Front; Chin National Army; All Burma Muslim Union. In
addition, there have been allegations of use by the Kayin New Land Party.
[33 ]FBR, “FBR Relief Team
Report, December 2004-January 2005,” received by email 13 April 2005. This
reports that in early 2004, the Myanmar Army, KNPLF and KNSO troops in Karenni
State launched an attack at Ler Bwa Ko District against the Karenni National
Progressive Party with troops from Ler Mu Ko Township, Ler Ba Ko Township and
Hsaw Pa Kaw Township.
[34 ]Landmine Monitor has
previously noted allegations regarding the Kayin New Land Party. In addition,
in December 2004, in response to a military offensive by the Myanmar Army, a
leader of a the Kaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland,
Kughalo Mulatonu, said, “We are not going to leave Myanmar and shall fight
to repulse the Myanmarese forces. In many places we have planted landmines
and timebombs to prevent the army from advancing.” Landmine Monitor
has not confirmed if mines were actually laid. “Myanmar launches crackdown
on Indian militant camps: rebel leader,” Agence France-Presse
(Guwahati, India), 3 December 2004.
[35 ]This includes the United Wa
State Army and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.
[36 ]The Hongsawatoi Restoration
Party, People’s Defense Forces and a cluster of smaller organizations
under the banner of the DAB have essentially ceased to exist. The New Mon State
Party, also previously identified as a mine user, has denied recent use, but has
not renounced use and admits to having a stockpile of mines.
[37 ]Landmine Monitor
communications with former members of the Arakan Rohingya National Organization
(ARNO), various locations, 2004. As of early 2005, the former ARNO military
chief was in jail in Bangladesh, and its political head had sought asylum in the
UK. Other prominent members of the group fled to exile in India or joined
another NSAG, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization, leaving ARNO a defunct
[38 ]Karen (Kayin) State, Karenni
(Kayah) State and southern Shan State and Tenasserim (Tanintharyi) Division
contain the most heavily mine affected areas. A large minefield is in Rakine
State, running the length of the border with Bangladesh. Some known mined areas
exist in Pegu (Bago) Division, and Mon, Chin and Kachin states.
[39 ]The many areas reported to
be contaminated in past Landmine Monitor reports remain so. See Landmine
Monitor Report 2004, pp. 940-941; Landmine Monitor Report 2003, pp.
[40 ]Landmine Monitor interviews
with UN field staff, Yangon, February 2005.
[41 ]Photographs shown during
interview between NGO worker who wishes to remain anonymous and Landmine Monitor
researchers, Bangkok, 20 April 2004.
[42 ]Presentation by UNHCR Deputy
Regional Representative Bhai Roger Panday, seminar on Challenges for Refugee
Return and Reintegration held in conjunction with the Burmese Border Consortium
Annual Donors meeting, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 27 October 2004.
goods on way to Burma,” Bangkok Post, 6 October 2003.
See also Landmine Monitor
Report 2004, p. 941.
[45 ]International Labor
Conference 93rd Session 2005, “Report of the Committee of Experts on the
Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Report III (Part 1A),” 31
May-16 June 2005, International Labour Organization, Geneva, pp. 175-176;
“ILO criticizes Myanmar for failing to tackle forced labour,”
Agence France-Presse (Geneva), 25 May 2005.
[46 ]Free Burma Rangers,
“Pictures from Karen State, Burma,” February 2005. This report was
sent to Landmine Monitor by email on 9 March 2005.
[47 ]“Prison to Frontline:
Portering for the SPDC’s Troops,” Burma Issues/FTUB, Thailand, 2004;
“Entrenched Abuse: Forced Labor in Burma,” Burma Issues/Witness
Production, Thailand, 2004. Interviews were conducted in late 2003 in Karen and
Karenni States, and in border areas of Thailand.
[48 ]Karen Human Rights Group,
“Report from the field,” 22 March 2005, KHRG #2005-F3, www.ibiblio.org/freeburma/humanrights/khrg.
Pyitthu Sit, or People’s Militia, are recruited from villages and given
training and weapons by the military. Each village is required to make monthly
payments to their Pyitthu Sit, who are expected to guard against insurgent entry
to their villages.
Karen Human Rights Group
Report, “Enduring Hunger and Repression: Food Scarcity, Internal
Displacement, and the Continued Use of Forced Labor in Toungoo District,”
27 September 2004, pp. 30-46, www.ibiblio.org/freeburma/humanrights/khrg.
For details of atrocity demining in previous years, see Landmine Monitor
Report 2004, pp. 942-943.
[50 ]Some non-state actors and
the Tatmadaw (regular Myanmar Army forces) have reported conducting military
demining in the past. In some cases, non-state actors remove SPDC mines then
Email from Timo Kosters,
Burmese Border Program Manager, HI-Thailand, Mae Sot, 9 February 2005.
[52 ]Landmine Monitor interviews
with NGO representatives, Yangon, October and November 2004.
[53 ]Public health personnel with
the Backpack Health Worker Program in Karen Health and Welfare Department, and
some other ethnic health groups, were trained in MRE and mine casualty rescue
techniques. Nonviolence International, January 2005.
[54 ]Information provided by Kh.
Muay, Nonviolence International, 26 July 2005.
Shanti Sena was founded in
February 2005 with support from private individuals in Japan to undertake
humanitarian activities within Karen State of Burma and has conducted MRE in
villages near the Thailand-Burma border.
[56 ]ICRC, “Special Appeal,
Mine Action 2005,” Geneva, February 2005; interview with Patrick Vial,
ICRC, Yangon, 23 February 2005.
[57 ]Ministry of Health,
“Health in Myanmar 2004,” p. 61.
[58 ]ICRC, “Annual Report
2004,” pp. 153-154.
For more details see
Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 943-945.
[60 ]Landmine Monitor analysis of
records at the Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot, 9 May 2005.
[61 ]Response to Landmine Monitor
Survivor Assistance Questionnaire by Timo Kosters, Program Manager, Burmese
Border Program, HI-Thailand, Mae Sot, 20 April 2005.
[62 ]Video documentation of
surgery and evacuation provided by Free Burma Rangers (FBR). Videos: “Fear
& Hope: Responding to Burma’s Internally Displaced,” and
“In Hiding: A year of survival under the Burma Army 2004-2005.”
Films document FBR activities in Karen, Karenni, Shan and Rakhine states during
[63 ]Karen Human Rights Group,
“Report from the Field,” KHRG #2005-F3, 22 March 2005,
[64 ]“Three killed in
explosion at checkpoint in Burma's Karen state,” Democratic Voice of
Burma, Oslo, 23 November 2004.
Letter from Christophe Menu,
ICRC Regional Delegation for East Asia, 16 May 2005. For details on this
assistance, see Thailand report in this edition of Landmine Monitor.
[66 ]Interview with CIDKP in Mae
Sot, Thailand, 9 May 2005.
[67 ]“The Death that lurks
beneath the ground,” Irrawaddy, April 2005, p. 13.
Response to Landmine Monitor
Survivor Assistance Questionnaire by Chaisri Klanarong, Srisangwal Hospital, Mae
Hong Son, 27 April 2005.
For more information, see
Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 945-947.
[70 ]After being rated 190 out of
191 countries by the World Health Organization in 2000, the ruling authorities
reportedly increased expenditure on public health from 1.8 percent to 2.2
percent of GDP, which remains the lowest in southeast Asia. WHO, “World
Health Report 2005,” and World Bank, “World Development Indicators
For more details on
assistance, see Thailand report in this edition of Landmine Monitor.
[72 ]Information provided to
Landmine Monitor during research visit to Thai-Burma border, December 2004.
[73 ]ICRC, “Annual Report
2004,” p. 154.
[74 ]Interview with Miguel Mateus
Fernandes, Head of ICRC orthopedic program, Yangon, 25 February 2005.
ICRC Physical Rehabilitation
Program, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, July 2005, pp. 29, 44.
[76 ]Interview with Saw Henry,
Administrator, CIDKP, Mae Sot, 5 May 2005.
[77 ]Television news reports in
Thailand on 23 January 2004 and subsequent interview with Krianglit
Sukcharoensin of the Royal Prosthetics Foundation.
[78 ]Email from Michiyo Kato,
AAR-Japan, 9 May 2005; see also Standing Tall Australia and Mines Action Canada,
“101 Great Ideas for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Mine
Survivors,” June 2005, p. 20.
For more information, see
Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 947.