Three years, zero landmines cleared, Myanmar Times, 14 July 2015

Article cites two humanitarian clearance organizations which would like to engage in mine clearance in Myanmar. They note that although there are areas which are mined but serve no military purpose, there has been no permission to clear these areas.

Halo Trust is quoted as saying “It is very frustrating. We are the biggest operator in the world but have not cleared a single mine in Myanmar in three years of being here.”

Mine clearance by another humanitarian organization, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), noted that the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), a semi-government body facilitating the peace process, announced plans for a Mine Action Center to coordinate nationwide activities and a memorandum of understanding was signed with the NPA to set it up. But the NPA country director stated, “Nothing has been established because the MPC says the timing is not right, because of the [stalled] peace process. We tried for three years with very limited results. It is a very challenging environment,”

An unnamed official at the MPC is reported to have said the landmine issue was “highly political on both sides of the conflict. We need to start de-mining with legislation, which is being prepared now. Once this is put through parliament, combined with an effective ceasefire, perhaps then we can have effective de-mining. For now, it’s just talks among the international NGOs and locals. We need a political solution before we can actually do anything about the mines.”

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Mine Action Standards were drafted two years ago in a consultative process between mine clearance organizations and representatives of the Myanmar government. After being drafted these standards were submitted to the government which inexplicably classified them as secret. See Myanmar Mine Action Standards.

The Myanmar Peace Center has informed the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that the draft National Ceasefire Agreement mentions mine clearance, but has to date refused to provide the wording. The text is not believed to require a ban future use of landmines.

 

 
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