20 May 2011
In recent years, Myanmar/Burma is the only country where there has been confirmed, regular use of antipersonnel mines by government forces. During an ICBL mission to the country in February and March of 2011, former General Thura Tin Oo, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (known under its Burmese acronym of the Tat Ma Daw) from March 1974 to March 1976, said that in his opinion, the Army should no longer use antipersonnel mines.
"Mines must be banned according to both humanitarianism and religion in a civilized world," said General Thura Tin Oo in a statement directed toward the Army. "The Tat Ma Daw, with the responsibility of protecting the life and property of the people of the country should agree with this objective [banning mines]. Concern for the populace is not felt nowadays, and practice is not in line with Tat Ma Daw policy. Porters are put in the forefront to detonate mines on purpose. Use of porters and forced labor is not in line with the policies of the Tat Ma Daw. This is the time these practices should be stopped. (…) I strongly recommend that landmines must be banned by the Tat Ma Daw, as well as those fighting against them. The good example to be followed is that of our neighboring countries, Thailand and Bangladesh."
Thailand and Bangladesh are both States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, but Myanmar/Burma is not. In 2004, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines launched the Halt Mine Use in Burma campaign. As the only country where mines have regularly been used by the formal military forces since the Mine Ban Treaty came into force, Myanmar/Burma is a key challenge to global efforts to ban antipersonnel mines. Several non-state armed groups also use mines within the country.
To bring attention to the situation, the Halt Mine Use in Burma Campaign has launched its new website, www.burma.icbl.org. The website provides links to current news items on mine use, casualties and victims assistance as well as information on mine action events and activities. See also the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor's country profile on Myanmar/Burma.