Myanmar Army Lays Mines Near Thailand: Amnesty International


Amnesty International said Myanmar’s military has placed landmines on people in and around villages in Kayah, an area affected by conflict near the border with Thailand, on Wednesday.

Human rights groups say their researchers visiting the area have found that landmines placed around houses and churches have killed at least 20 people and left many more civilians dead.

The researchers interviewed villagers in an area where the army was battling armed Karenni groups after the army seized power from Myanmar’s elected government in February 2021.

Various international agreements including the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning the use of anti-personnel mines with the intention of eliminating weapons that have killed and maimed thousands of people around the world, often long after hostilities had ended. .

Matt Wells, Amnesty International’s deputy director of crisis response for topical issues, said in a statement.

Amnesty reports say mines have been deployed in at least 20 villages in Kayah. The report supports earlier accusations by ethnic groups.

The Karenni Human Rights group earlier this month also accused the military of planting landmines in villages and settlements in Kayah state.

Last month, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that landmines and unexploded ordnance had killed children in many parts of the country, with the largest number of casualties being in Shan state, northeastern Myanmar.

Amnesty International notes that, in addition to the immediate danger, landmines can deter people fleeing violence from returning to their homes and fields.

It says ethnic armed groups are warning people to be aware of the risks.

“The military appears to be systematically laying mines near where it is stationed as well as in areas where it retreats,” it said.

Myanmar has been engulfed in violence and civil unrest since the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking widespread peaceful protests that were quelled by force of the army and police. Damage. Nonviolent protest has since turned into armed resistance, and the country has descended into what some UN experts describe as a civil war.

Amnesty International also accused the Myanmar military of committing widespread atrocities in the eastern part of the country, constituting war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, saying civilians belonging to The Karen and Karenni minorities are targets of extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention and forced displacement.

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