FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
The Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor report released on Dec. 28 states that at least 384 people have been killed and 161 have been injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) over the last year. Landmine usage is reported to have increased significantly with most of the casualties being in Shan, Kachin, and Karen states.
“For the first time, we reported landmine casualties in every state and region in the country, except Naypyidaw,” said Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, a researcher at the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, who presented the report.
The U.N. International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) states that Burma had at least 388 casualties caused by landmines and ERW in the first four months of 2023. Out of the country’s 330 townships, 168 may have been contaminated by landmines and ERW.
Casualties have been reported in 98 of these townships. The majority of the victims in 2022 were children. Most civilian casualties occur when people go to collect forest products, hunt, conduct agricultural and rural work, or travel in conflict-affected areas.
“Victims are mostly civilians in areas of armed conflict and landmines and cluster munitions bring the war into peacetime. For these reasons, we believe any use of landmines or cluster munitions by anyone is a violation of international humanitarian law,” said Moser-Paungsuwan.
Landmines have been placed by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), and by the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) under the leadership of the National Unity Government (NUG). The military has planted landmines around its outposts, as well as at mobile phone towers, pipelines, powerlines, and along the Bangladesh border, added the report.
The military has been manufacturing cluster munitions at its production facility, known as KaPaSa, since the 2021 military coup. Airstrikes that used cluster munitions were reportedly carried out on Shan, Chin, Karen, and Karenni states.
Over the last 22 years, from 2000 to 2022, at least 1,059 people in Burma have been killed and 4,994 have been injured by landmines and ERW. It causes a burden on health care facilities as victims require long hospital stays, large amounts of blood, and possible amputations.
Both Burma and resistance forces have been urged to stop using landmines and cluster munitions. Only two militaries in the world are known to have used landmines since 2018, Burma and Russia.