Since its independence, Myanmar has seen a heavy and protracted conflict between its government and non-state actors. This conflict is characterized by fighting as well as a regular use of landmines, most of which are placed in the border areas.
According to a Landmine Monitor report from 2014, the recorded number of landmine accidents is lower than previous years’. A decrease in the number of accidents is contrary to the trend in several areas, which continue to be affected by armed clashes. It is therefore estimated that the actual number of landmine victims far exceeds the recorded number.
In addition to landmine contamination, Myanmar also has a high quantity of explosive remnants of war (ERW) dating back as far as to the Second World War. At the moment, there are no precise estimates of the level of ERW contaminated. However, of Myanmar’s 14 states, nine have identified suspected hazardous areas.
Unfortunately, Mine Risk Education and Victim Assistance are the only mine-related activities permitted in Myanmar to date, as mine action authorities await the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement as a necessary condition of systematic mine clearance.
DDG in Myanmar
Danish Demining Group (DDG) established its presence in Myanmar in 2013 via its parent organization, Danish Refugee Council (DRC). DDG seeks to address the threat posed by landmine contamination to civilians, resulting from decades of civil strife.
As a highly mine-contaminated country, an essential part of DDG’s work in Myanmar is to provide the needed education to communities, especially children, in order for them to be able to effectively protect themselves against the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO). The DDG MRE work is supplemented with support to landmine victims, and closely interlinked with DRC’s protection efforts.
Once the restrictions on mine action are lifted, it is DDG’s objective to provide further assistance in conducting Non-Technical Survey and clearance activities, while also maintaining its current activities.