The Landmine Monitor report, the annual report of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (1997 Nobel Peace Co-Laureate) was released in Bangkok yesterday.

Included was the annual updated report on Myanmar/Burma.

Hle Atoo, (32, foreground) is a prosthetic technician at Mae Tao Clinic, and a landmine survivor. “I went to the forest to search for food. I believed this particular area was safe since the Army had cleared some mines from it.” Htar Bu, (41, background) is waiting for a new prosthesis. “I stepped on a mine while I was cutting wood in the forest, in Mon State. I called out to my friends for help. When the other one who was nearby came to me, he too stepped on a mine. Then another person, who heard both explosions came to that place and stepped on a third antipersonnel mine.” Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti

Globally, Myanmar/Burma is one of four states whose formal armed forces use antipersonnel mines (the others are Israel, Syria and Libya). Last year, Myanmar/Burma was the sole state whose formal armed forces, the Tatmadaw, used antipersonnel mines.

Myanmar/Burma also was one of four states in which non-state armed groups used anti-personnel mines (the others are Afghanistan, Colombia and Pakistan, two states fewer than previous years).

Myanmar/Burma had the fifth highest casualty rate, globally,  due to antipersonnel mines (behind Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan and Cambodia). It was noted however that there is believed to be a significant number of landmine victims in Myanmar/Burma which go unreported as neither the authorities in the country, nor any ethnic group, produces public information on the number of mine casualties.

Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, ICBL focal point for Myanmar/Burma, stated at the Landmine Monitor launch in Bangkok that recently announced discussions on possible ceasefires, between the key ehtnic groups involved in mine warfare, and the authorities, are good news. “We would request all parties include a halt in new mine use as a prohibited act within any ceasefire concluded between the parties” He said, “Ceasefires must be public documents which contain a number of items, such as the agreed frontlines, protocols on the movement of combatants and prohibitions, obviously including the use of arms. The prohibitions should include any new mine use.”

News on the Landmine Monitor launch was also noted in the Irrawaddy, see: Burma Finds Company as Layer of Landmines