Landmines have killed 65 people since the start of the year

The military coup of 1 February, which reignited the country’s many ethnic conflicts, has also highlighted the continued use of banned anti-personnel devices by Myanmar’s military. Most casualties have been reported in the states of Shan, Rakhine and Kachin states, including 15 children.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In the first nine months of 2021, anti-personnel landmines have killed 65 people in Myanmar, including 15 children, with 127 wounded for a total of 192 casualties, this according to the UNICEF.[*]

Death and injury by landmines are nothing new in Myanmar. The country is not a signatory to the 1999 Ottawa Treaty[†] banning anti-personnel landmines, which the Myanmar military has widely used.

This has been made that much worse since the military seized power in a coup on 1 February, which has intensified fighting between the country’s armed forces and ethnic militias.

In fact, most landmines incidents have taken place in the states of Shan (eastern Myanmar), Rakhine[‡] (western Myanmar) and Kachin (northern Myanmar on the border with India), but other regions are seeing an increase as well.

Meanwhile, the country’s humanitarian crisis is getting worse because of the escalating violence, this according to OCHA,[§] the UN humanitarian agency.

As of 1 November, an estimated 223,300 people have become internally displaced across Myanmar due to clashes and insecurity since 1 February, the UN agency reported.

The number of displaced people is rising especially in Chin, another western state, severely affected by fighting.

The brunt of the suffering has fallen on Myanmar’s civilian population, held hostage by repression and war.

To look at the issue, the Milan-based Centro Pime in cooperation with the Sisters of Repair will present an evening showing the suffering of the population. The event is scheduled for this Wednesday (10 November) in Milan (with live streaming at this link).

[*] United Nations Children's Fund.

[†] Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

[‡] Home to a substantial Rohingya population.

[§] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.