While mine clearance is a specified commitment, and activity, under the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, no side has allowed this activity to occur. The NCA, and ceasefires in general, should create security zones, which means zones free of danger. Mine clearance plays a critical role in creating zones free of danger when landmines have been used in armed conflicts.
Unlike other places, mine clearance in Myanmar has been linked to a political process rather than being understood as a humanitarian activity, and clearance of mine areas has been held hostage to years of talks. The confidence building aspect of mine clearance has not been grasped by the ceasefire signatories, since mine clearance demonstrates a willingness to stop violence and pursue negotiations.
In the Ukraine, more than 700 civilian ceasefire monitors, from more than 44 countries, assist in monitoring mine action there. Additionally they support the ceasefire by reporting facts as they observe and establish them; gathering information and report on the security situation; reporting on the humanitarian situation and people’s needs, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid of other organizations, and encouraging dialogue in-the-field.
Myanmar should consider emulating initiative in the Ukraine and benefiting from the activities of a civilian ceasefire monitoring entity. A multinational, civilian only, ceasefire monitoring initiative would assist mobilization of the peace dividends currently unimplemented within the NCA, including humanitarian mine clearance.