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HomeLatest NewsOver 1,000 casualties from unexploded ordnance in 2023

Over 1,000 casualties from unexploded ordnance in 2023

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) documents that at least 188 people have been killed and 864 have been maimed by landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Burma last year. Twenty percent of the casualties were children. This is a nearly three-fold increase from the 390 casualties that were recorded in 2022. 

“The use of landmines is not only reprehensible but can constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. It is imperative that all parties to the conflict prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians, particularly children, and take immediate steps to halt the use of these indiscriminate weapons,” said Debora Comini, the UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. 

Deaths and injuries from ERW were reported in every region and state in Burma except for the capital of Naypyidaw. UNICEF data stated that 375 casualties were recorded in Sagaing Region, 125 casualties were recorded in Shan State, and 98 were recorded in Bago Region. It added that landmines have been used and deployed by all armed groups in the country. 

A report released by the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor in December 2023 stated that landmine use in Burma has increased significantly since the military coup took place on Feb. 1, 2021 following the ousting Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) government and its replacement with a military regime led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. 

“That has been one of the results of the military coup is you’re now seeing armed conflict in areas where there hadn’t been particularly a long-standing armed conflict in the past. So they are experiencing new hazards to their life due to landmines and other explosive weapons,” Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, a researcher at the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, told DVB in December.

The Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor stated that landmine usage is in violation of international humanitarian law as it does not discriminate between civilians and combatants, all the while remaining active during peacetime. 

At least 164 countries are parties to the U.N. Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention which was enacted in 1997. Burma was not a signatory to the convention. Only two militaries in the world are known to have used landmines since 2018, Burma and Russia.

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