Updated 19 October 2020
At the 2020 United Nations General Assembly, Bangladesh once again stated its concern at landmines laid by Myanmar along its shared border with Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a state party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Convention) banning use, production or stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines.
On 14 October 2020, H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 75th General Assembly, delivered the following statement.
“As a State party to the Ottawa Convention, Bangladesh remains concerned over the continued use of anti-personnel mines, including by neighboring Myanmar.
Since 2017, we drew the Committee’s attention to the use of anti-personnel mines by the Myanmar authority against their own people, including the forcibly displaced Rohingya community who took shelter in Bangladesh fleeing persecution. The report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission repeatedly mentioned Myanmar’s extensive “use of landmines at the border”. This is one of the reasons preventing voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas.
Unfortunately, outright denial to such a fact-based report remains the only response from Myanmar.
We reiterate our call to the Myanmar authorities to take urgent necessary steps to ensure mine clearance, declare a moratorium on the production of landmines, and end civilian casualties.“
On 19 October, Mr. Khant Ko Ko, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations in New York, at the General Debate of the First Committee of the 75th General Assembly, delivered the following statement.
We have been actively facilitating the return of the displaced persons and measures we have taken for this have been made well known to the international community and Bangladesh.
It is irrational and irresponsible to suggest that Myanmar government is hindering their return by planting landmines at the border. We categorically reject such accusations.
The displaced persons are supposed to return to Myanmar through designated reception centers at the immediate border, which is also in line with the bilateral agreement. And the idea of planting a single landmine in these closely-monitored surroundings is totally absurd and imaginary.
Although bilateral repatriation has not yet started, more than 350 displaced persons from Cox’s Bazar camps have returned to Rakhine State on their own volition through unofficial channels. In this connection, there have been no reports of those returnees falling victims to landmines inside Myanmar.