2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Burma

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Landmines concentrated along Burma’s (Myanmar’s) borders with Bangladesh, China, and Thailand remain a threat to ethnic minorities as a result of decades of internal conflict between the Burmese army and armed ethnic groups. Landmines continue to be deployed in ethnic conflict areas, albeit in reduced numbers. World War II-era UXO still affect the country as well. No comprehensive estimate of the level of contamination exists; however, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor identified 50 townships in Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan States, as well as the Bago and Tanintharyi Regions, suffering from some degree of landmine contamination. The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor also identified 3,450 casualties between 1999 and 2013 from landmine and UXO incidents in Burma, but the total number of casualties is unknown.

The government of Burma has taken steps to permit humanitarian mine-action activities, but continues to delay the establishment of a planned national level institution—the Myanmar Mine Action Center—and official adoption of mine-action standards. Current policy states that international nongovernmental organizations cannot legally conduct survey or clearance activities but may carry out mine risk education and survivor assistance. As of April 2014, mine risk education was being provided by nine organizations in 16 townships, reaching 110 villages. In addition, five community-based organizations provided mine risk education in Kayah and Kayin States.

From FY2011 through FY2014, the United States provided more than $4.5 million for programs that supported victim assistance and risk education services in Burma. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed more than $2.3 million for CWD in Burma.

The Department of State supported the work of the following implementing partner:

• MAG continued mine risk education capacity-building work by strengthening the ability of six community-based organizations to deliver risk education in Kayah and southern Shan States.

• Mercy Corps executed the Reconciliation through Mine Risk Education program in Kayah State. The program’s goal was to promote cooperation between local government and ethnic minority populations through a program that addresses their shared interest in resolving landmine issues.

• World Education worked to strengthen the capacity and the reach of the Kayah Prosthetics Workshop project in order to improve the lives of landmine survivors and strengthen the relationship and communication between the Karenni Health Workers Organization, the Department of Social Welfare, and other community based organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, and mine action and disability organizations.

USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund continued support for a survivor assistance program, including a disability adviser/victim assistance position in the country, with a view toward further investment in physical rehabilitation activities.