One out of four casualties of landmine incidents in Myanmar are children

04 April 2019
UNICEF Myanmar/2019/Nyan Zay Htet

UNICEF calls on all parties to conflict to stop laying new landmines and protect the lives of children and their families 

NAY PYI TAW, 4 April 2019 – During a high-level event, organized to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, UNICEF as co-chair of the Mine Risks Working Group (MRWG) called on all parties to conflict and other stakeholders to scale up efforts to protect children and their families from the devastating impact of landmines. On the occasion, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and other key Government agencies, UNICEF, and members of the Mine Risks Working Group (MRWG) discussed challenges and way forward to reduce the incidents caused by landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs). 

In Myanmar, nine out of 15 states/regions are contaminated with landmines, explosive remnant of war (ERW) and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Although many incidents still go unreported, casuality reports from landmines and other explosives increased from 176 in 2017 to 276 in 2018 - including 56 children (16 deaths and 40 injuries). Kachin and Shan states were the most affected between 2015 and 2018.

Internally Displaced People and host communities in conflict affected areas have raised concerns on the threat of landmines and ERW, which has negatively impacted on their livelihood activities and hampered opportunities for return to their villages of origin. 

“Children should never be a target of violence. We must all continue to work together to make every child and every community protected from landmines and other explosive ordinance,”  said Ms June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. 

Due to the limited access to the affected areas, Mine Risks Education (MRE) coverage is still very limited and there is an urgent need to accelerate the emergency MRE activities in all affected areas. With support from the MRWG and other stakeholders, nearly 295,000 people, 78 per cent of whom were children and women, received MRE in Myanmar in 2018. 

“Mine risk awareness has the potential to significantly prevent incidents and reduce the life-long impact of these devastating devices,” said Mr Knut Ostby, Acting United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, in his remaks. He also encouraged the Government to enable mine clearance activities to begin in States where conflicts have ceased without waiting for the full conclusion of the peace process. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty. Although Myanmar is not a state party to the Mine Ban Convention, the Treaty stands as one of the most widely ratified disarmament instruments with over 80 per cent of member states (164 members states) having totally banned the use of landmines. The international community stands ready to support the Government to accelerate efforts towards the preparation and ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty. 

[1] 2015-2018. Source: Mine Risk Working Group

About the Myanmar Mine Risks Working Group (MRWG)

The MRWG was established in 2012 as an inter-ministerial and inter-agency coordination platform under the co-leadership of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and UNICEF to ensure mine action interventions (MRE, Victim Assistance, Information Management, Land release activities) are aligned with international standards and lessons learned in Myanmar. The MRWG comprised 10 ministries, the Myanmar Army and 40 national and international organizations, and 4 State-level coordination platforms are established in Kachin, Shan, Kayah and Kayin.

UNICEF in Myanmar  

UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation. 

For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar: 

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