Villagers in Eastern Burma fear landmines

The ongoing use of landmines by the Burma Army and armed groups in Eastern Burma continues to threaten civilians according to a report released this week by the Karen Human Rights Group.

The KHRG report – ‘Uncertain Ground’ – documents the period between January 2011 and May 2012, and includes evidence taken from a total of 119 testimonies from local villagers in seven districts – Hpa-an, Dooplaya, Papun, Tanintharyi (Blih D’Weh), Nyaunglebin, Toungoo and Thaton where both the Karen National Union and the Burma Army are active.

Saw Albert, field director of the Karen Human Rights Group told Karen News.

“There are still landmines in those areas. Especially, 37 villagers from the T’Nay Hsah Township, Hpa-an District who are afraid to go to their farms because of landmines.”

Saw Albert says that since the ceasefire talks between the government and the ethnic armed groups there are delays in removing landmines.

“Villagers told us that their main concerns are landmines. Villagers are seeking their own solutions to protect themselves, but also want outside support and help to remove the mines.”

KHRG urged international humanitarian organizations to cooperate with local groups and communities to help protect villagers and the environment.

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