4 April was the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

New UN Secretary General, António Gueterres, stated in his first message on this annual UN International Day that, “peace is incomplete without mine removal’.

On 4th April, the Acting Director-General of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement announced almost $6 million would be provided to address the landmine situation, however according to a news report, none will remove the mines from the ground.

Media reports conflict regarding who is providing the money, with some stating it is INGOs and others stating it would be the Myanmar government (see here and here). But the articles concur that it would be used “to offer education on the danger of landmines, provide assistance for landmine victims, and compile data on landmines in Myanmar.” The news report stated that these activities will be carried out by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement in conjunction with international and local organizations.

Events commemorating UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action occurred in Naypyitaw, Yangon and Hpa-an.

Secretary General Gueterres stated that, “Mine action establishes the foundations for lasting recovery and development.  No one should have to live in fear of dying even after the fighting stops.” This peace dividend is yet to be found in Myanmar.

Media reported that at a UN sponsored event in Yangon on 4 April marking the International Day, the UNICEF representative stated: “The government must take notice of landmine problem at a time when it places emphasis on peace. The government shouldn’t delay mine clearance work. If the landmines remain, children and whole communities will see fewer chances for a better life. It will be more difficult and more expensive to clear landmines in the future.”