In the past month, two ethnic armed groups have stated that they are undertaking mine clearance. However no public details regarding their clearance programmes have been made available. It is not clear where the clearance is occurring, or what methods or mine clearance standards are being used, or who verifies the safety or controls the disposition of cleared land.
On 30th May, P’doh Saw Hser Bweh, Karen National Union Joint Secretary was reported by the Karen Information Centre to have said, “The KNU has been clearing the landmines in the KNU areas in order to assist refugees returning to their villages after they fled from the conflicts. We have raised public awareness on the danger of landmines.” However he also is reported to have said, “We haven’t cleared landmines that were placed for security reasons. This issue is a process that needs to be considered in line with political development.”
A week earlier Shan State Army South (SSA South) claimed that its mine clearance activities under the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) were repeatedly interrupted and attacked by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
Although the NCA specifies a responsibility of the parties to the agreement to work jointly to ‘clear all mines’, there is currently no clear guidelines on how to proceed. A national Mine Action Centre to coordinate mine clearance remains an institution in name only with no resources, and there is no direction that the parties should follow the Myanmar Mine Action Standards drafted by the government and international mine clearance organizations 3 years ago.