August 19, 2016

Myanmar still ranked third in landmine casualty tally: report

Myanmar has retained its ranking of the having the world’s third highest number of landmine casualties, according to the Landmine Monitor Country Report 2015.
Antipersonnel landmines have killed or injured more than 3,700 people between 1999 and the end of 2014.
The report, an annual publication of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said that most victims are civilians rather than members of the army or ethnic armed groups.
The actual number of landmine injuries and deaths in Myanmar could be higher than the numbers suggest, as accurate information is difficult to obtain, the anti-landmine group said.
Landmines tend to strike civilian victims who work in fields or are travelling to work by foot, said Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, research coordinator for the Landmine Monitor.
Afghanistan stands first while Columbia ranks second in landmine casualty rate, he added.
The majority of landmines are in Myanmar’s eastern areas, with the report identifying at least 56 townships in Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan states, as well as in Bago and Taninthayi regions that are at risk. Kachin and Kayin states and eastern Bago region are also heavily contaminated by landmines, it added.
Despite the high level of deaths and injuries by landmines, mine risk education remains insufficient in most areas, said the international watchdog group, adding that no humanitarian mine clearance programmes exist in Myanmar.
However there has been an improvement in terms of the medical and rehabilitative assistance provided to landmine survivors, it added.
The report found that there has been a significant decrease in the use of antipersonnel mines in most areas of the country. In October 2015, a ceasefire agreement was signed that prohibits signatories from laying landmines. It was inked by the government and eight ethnic armed groups, with other ethnic groups yet to sign.
According to the report, 162 countries – which accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s governments, have ratified or acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty as of 1 November 2015. Myanmar, however, is not one of them yet.


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