On Thursday 9 December 2021 at 09:30 Myanmar time and 10:00 Thailand time, a press conference to launch the Myanmar/Burma country report in Landmine Monitor 2021 was held. The event was hybrid with remote participation for Burmese journalist who can no longer work openly and publish online or in exile. The event was also in person at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
Opening remarks were provided by Her Excellency, Dr. Sarah Taylor, Ambassador of Canada to Thailand, who stated, “Canada is very disturbed by reports of the recent use of anti-personnel landmines in Myanmar. We call for such use to stop immediately, and deplore this tactic – whether employed by state or non-state actors. Mines used now are sure to result in causalities during peacetime and will only delay returns to villages and to productive rural livelihoods – multiplying the health, social and economic costs of the current conflict.”
The ongoing use of landmines has been overshadowed by the 1 February coup by the military in Myanmar and subsequent chaos in the country as two entities claim governance of the country and new armed groups have emerged amid ongoing daily demonstrations nationwide against military rule.
Dr. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan provided the major findings of the report. Areas known to be contaminated by landmines increased during late 2020 and early 2021. Over the past decade and a half, Myanmar is responsible for the second highest casualty rate caused by antipersonnel landmines in Asia and is the highest number of casualties in ASEAN. Since 2018, Landmine Monitor has identified Myanmar as the only country, globally, whose military forces engaged in new use of antipersonnel landmines.
During discussion with media and other attendees after the presentation, a landmine victim in Shan State who attended the press event expressed her hatred toward all people using antipersonnel landmines and requested that all military forces be required to attend the launch of this report which makes clear the results of using antipersonnel landmines on the country.