Over 1 lakh people have been internally displaced by armed conflict in Kachin State. However as of 2019, the Myanmar government put forward a national plan to close existing IDP camps. One of the key human security threats identified by residents of abandoned villages is that of landmines. (see Durable Peace Programme Endline Report, Kachin, Myanmar May 2018)
The Mines Advisory Group through collaboration with local civil society groups working in Kachin State: the Kachin Baptist Convention, Karuna Mission Social Solidarity, and Wunpawng Ninghtoi, conducted baseline and remote baseline surveys in a total of 59 villages in February and March 2020. The target villages were selected because they were identified by the Myanmar government and/or by local humanitarian actors as potential sites for IDP return and resettlement.
A report was released under the auspices of the Durable Peace Program, which found that 70% of the villages surveyed reported direct evidence of contamination, and a further 20% of the villages surveyed reported indirect evidence of contamination.
For any programme of safe return of residents to abandoned villages, a full survey, followed, if necessary, by clearance will require a significant investment in time and trained personnel by Myanmar authorities. This should be done to internationally agreed safe and transparent standards developed over the past 2 decades by humanitarian organizations.
In July 2020, the Myanmar Army returned to do further mine clearance in Nam San Yang village in Wiangmaw Township of Kachin State, one of the first villages to which displace residents were resettled in January 2019. The military reported removing mines from 100 acres of farmland around Nam San Yang. It is not known how this area was identified, nor the amount of personnel deployed or standards to which they were operating. Current mine clearance by the authorities remains opaque.
However, subsequently in August 2020, the Tatmadaw spokesperson Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun told a journal in Myanmar that the Nam San Yang return had been a success and the military planned to expand its IDP return activities and that the military would assist with transportation and landmine clearance operations.