On the occasion of today's International Mine Awareness Day, the Ambassadors of the European Union and its Member States have called on the Government of Myanmar to take action against the use of landmines in order to better protect the high number of civilians living in mine contaminated areas in Myanmar.
According to the statement, “Landmines are harming and killing people in many conflict affected areas around the world – even long after a conflict ends. Most of the time, landmines primarily affect the most vulnerable: children, civilians fleeing ongoing conflict or farmers in rural areas who have no choice but to enter mine contaminated areas in order to gain livelihoods and feed their families. Mines and explosive remnants of war are not only a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of civilians, but also a cause for increased poverty levels and a significant impediment for socio-economic development in the affected areas.
In Myanmar, nine out of the fourteen states and regions are considered to be contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war. Reports of new use of landmines in 2017 in conflict affected areas in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine state are a serious cause for concern.
The Government therefore needs to take urgent action against the use of landmines and we strongly encourage Myanmar to join the Ottawa Convention banning the use of landmines. With a view to better protect the civilian population we also call on the Government and ethnic leaders to support mine clearance operations wherever possible. The European Union offers its full support in advancing Mine Risk Education across the country and stands ready to assist mine clearance operations.”