The Ottawa Treaty 20 years on: Calling for a Mine-Free Myanmar

The Ottawa Treaty 20 years on: Calling for a Mine-Free Myanmar

Marking the 20th anniversary of Mine-Ban Treaty, the world is very concerned with recent reports of new antipersonnel mine use in Myanmar in the path of fleeing Rohingya.

 

According to Amnesty International's recent reports of landmine use and casualties in Rakhine state, mined areas are reported to exist in the entirety of Burma's border with Bangladesh, forming the country's largest purpose set minefields.

 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said on Human Rights Council 36th session that he was “appalled by reports that the Myanmar authorities have now begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh”, he further called on the Government to end its current cruel military operation, renounce the use of antipersonnel mines once and for all, which echoed by The International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Giving warning on the scene of Myanmar – Bangladesh border, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said “This is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk.” Ms. Hassan also called the world to act together to end the arms trade with Myanmar, "Governments around the world who continue to train or sell arms to Myanmar’s military are propping up a force that is carrying out a vicious campaign of violence against Rohingya that amounts to crimes against humanity. This must stop and any other states who are thinking about similar engagement should change course immediately,” Ms. Hassan appealed, further stated that “the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” 

 

Cooperating with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines-Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC) in a project called "Agreement on Ending the Scourge of Landmines in Asia-Pacific to Save Lives and Promote Sustainable Developments: Implementing Local Capacity-Building and Strengthening Regional Cooperation", Eden Social Welfare Foundation has been helping the campaign for a Mine-Free Myanmar since 2014. At the moment, we encourage the Government of Myanmar to end the use of cluster munitions. Furthermore,  as one of the ASEAN Countries newly open to the world with GDP increase of almost 8% annually, Eden calls for the government to Myanmar to sign and acceded to the Ottawa Treaty, creating a peaceful future for the country.

 

What cannot be ignored is that in this era of peace, landmine casualties have shockingly hit a ten year high. The number of people killed or injured globally was 971 in 2016, which is the second-highest figure since reporting began in 2009. The incidents mostly occurred in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. A report published by the ICBL also pointed out that as armed conflicts escalated, people who died in landmine incidents and similar explosions have reached a ten-year high.