The Halt Mine use in Myanmar/Burma campaign welcomes the informal discussions regarding a ceasefire between key armed militias from the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni and Shan ethnic groups, and governmental authorities in the country.
A genuine ceasefire process will require a clear, written, public agreement, including a starting date, and prohibited acts. Normally prohibited acts, or acts of aggression, in ceasefire agreements include protocols on any movement a combatants and establishment of a frontline which is not to be violated. Ceasefires will list acts which are considered to be acts of aggression, and prohibited by the ceasefire, including an absolute ban on the use of weapons offensively.
The Halt Mine Use in Myanmar/Burma campaign would urgently encourage an immediate and unconditional halt in new mine use be incorporated as a ‘prohibited act’ in any ceasefire concluded in talks between the conflicting parties in the country.
Prohibitions on mine use have been incorporated in other ceasefire agreements between governmental authorities and rebels in Asia. Most recently in the ceasefire agreement between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist. That ceasefire was followed by a comprehensive peace agreement, one document of which dealt with the requirement of the parties to the agreement to mutually provide information on mined areas and assist in their clearance. (Minefields laid by the Nepal Army during that conflict were fully cleared as of last June under that agreement).
Experts of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines can be called upon by both the authorities in Myanmar, and the border militas, to advise them on how to include a mine ban in any ceasefire discussions, and how to make that ban permanent and a foundation for clearance during subsequent negotiations on a comprehensive peace agreement.
Otherwise mines currently in the ground will become ‘war orphans’. They will continue maiming and killing after ‘peace’ is established. Hundreds of people have already been maimed or killed in the past year by these indiscriminate weapons, most commonly doing civilian ‘peace time’ activities such as foraging for food in the forest.