(Phnom Penh) Halt Mine Use in Myanmar/Burma
Win Naing, the Director of the Department of International Organizations and Economic Department of Myanmar”s Foreign Ministry attended the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Phnom Penh this week.
While this was the third time Myanmar has sent someone to attend such a meeting, it is the first time they have done so from capital (the previous times they sent low level secretaries from the local missions). Win Naing made a statement at the meeting (the first time any representative of Myanmar has spoken at a intergovernmental meeting on the issue). He spoke about mine use by rebel groups within the country, and he carried photocopies of news articles on the same printed in the New Light of Myanmar which he distributed.
He did not provide information about any planned or existing activity in the areas of mine clearance of victim assistance within the country, nor did he ask for assistance in those areas- something most governmental delegations do. However, major movement toward the mine ban treaty by this highly militarized state is probably too much to expect at this time. Myanmar remains one of the few countries actively involved in mine warfare within its borders, and has done so throughout the last decade. It should be appreciated that the new quasi-civilian government sent an observer to a humanitarian disarmament conference, and hopefully some of what this person saw and heard will be transmitted back to their off-limits capital, Naypyitaw.