Burma Campaign UK today called on donors to reverse cuts in landmine clearance and education in Burma, and instead organise a donor summit in coordination with the government of Burma to massively scale up landmine clearance in the country. More pressure needs to be placed on the government of Burma to sign the Mine Ban Treaty and allow more landmine clearance to take place.
The new Landmine Monitor report released today by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) highlights that funding for landmine clearance and education has halved in the past year, despite the increased use of landmines by the Burmese military and continuing use by some ethnic armed organisations.
Burma was the only country in the world where landmine use actually increased, due to increased use of mines by the Burmese military.
Burma is not a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty. The Burmese military manufacture their own landmines as well as purchasing them overseas. The Burmese military uses landmines to deliberately target civilian villagers in ethnic states, and they were used as part of the genocidal military campaign against the Rohingya in 2017. The Burmese military is also notorious for its use of civilians as human minesweepers forced to walk in front of army patrols.
Burma is ranked as one of the top six countries in the world for landmine casualties.
IDPS and refugees from across eastern and northern Burma have told Burma Campaign UK that landmines are one of the main factors preventing them from returning to their villages and farms. Burma Campaign UK has also been told that the military removed landmine warning signs from some minefields in the past year.
Donors have been cutting aid to IDPs and refugees from Karen, Karenni and Shan States, as well as underfunding the needs of IDPs from Kachin State. This is encouraging them to return to Burma before it is safe for them to do so, including no action being taken on demining. Now donors are also cutting funding for landmine clearance and education.
“The lack of attention to the issue of landmines by international donors is a disgrace,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “It is beyond belief that rather than massively scaling up mine clearance and education programmes in Burma, donors are actually cutting them. International donors cannot keep encouraging refugees and IDPs to return home at the same time as failing to take action on mine clearance.”
The report by the international campaign to ban landmines is available here:
The Landmine Monitor page on Burma is available here: