Amnesty International’s on-the-ground investigation . . .
The human rights group Amnesty International has released the findings of an investigation into the use of landmines by the Myanmar military. Between June 25 and July 8, researchers interviewed 43 people in the country’s Kayah State, including landmine survivors, witnesses, and medical personnel who treated landmine victims. Amnesty International reports anti-personnel landmines were laid on a “massive scale” by members of the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, in at least 20 villages in recent months and that extensive landmine use is also likely in other parts of the country. The Tatmadaw is targeting villages in which it believes anti-government armed groups are operating. Many such groups have emerged in Myanmar since the military took control of the country in a coup in February 2021.
Civilians killed, maimed . . .
Landmines in Myanmar are injuring and killing civilians, with common injuries including the loss of some or all of a leg or foot. Many have died due to massive blood loss. The Karenni Human Rights Group has reported at least 20 civilians killed or injured by landmines in Myanmar since June 2021. UNICEF Myanmar recently reported that at least 115 children have been killed or injured by landmines and previously unexploded ordnance, such as grenades, since February 2021. The Amnesty International report includes observations of landmines being placed in people’s yards, outside toilets, on paths leading to rice fields, and even around a church.
Global landmine bans . . .
In its Landmine Monitor 2021 publication, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition identified Myanmar as the only country whose government forces were confirmed to have used landmines between mid-2020 and October 2021. Canada has been a leading voice in the international effort to ban landmines by championing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention. The Convention currently has 164 signatories and aims to eliminate the “use, stockpiling, production, and transfer” of anti-personnel landmines. Myanmar is not a signatory. Last month, Canada announced the next phase of its strategy on the Myanmar crisis. Ottawa said it will continue to support efforts to restore democracy in the country and to hold accountable those who have committed crimes against the Rohingya minority and other communities.
- Al Jazeera: Myanmar accused of war crimes over ‘depraved use’ of landmines
- Amnesty International: Myanmar: Military’s use of banned landmines in Kayah State amounts to war crimes
- South China Morning Post: Myanmar junta troops lay landmines around churches, homes and toilets, Amnesty International says