Landmine clearance key for resettlement of IDPs

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Armed conflicts that displace local communities are enormous disasters for these people. Additionally, the landmines left by armed conflicts are another significant blow to civilians, even after the conflicts have ended.
Due to international conflicts, the number of disabled persons has been increasing. Nearly 70 years of internal armed conflicts in Myanmar have halted regional development.
The National Strategy on Resettlement of Displaced Persons and Closure of IDP Camps has been approved. However, resettlement and rehabilitation of the people would be implemented in full-swing only after the armed conflicts completely end.
The situation demands that the Mine Action Authority, which will lead the nationwide mine clearance activities, should be formed to take preparatory steps for the drive.
The directives for the authority for demining have been drafted, with the assistance of the Norwegian People’s Aid.
Now, action should be stepped up to save people residing in areas contaminated by landmines.
According to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, 52 townships in nine regions and states are contaminated with landmines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Landmines and ERWs have destroyed the livelihoods of internally displaced people and host communities, and prevented them from returning to their home villages.
Reported casualties from landmines and other explosives increased from 176 in 2017 to 276 in 2018. Overall, most casualties occurred in Kachin and Shan states between 2015 and 2018.
The Union Government is prioritizing the national peace process and securing mine safety, raising awareness among the public and rehabilitating victims of mines, which is crucial to sustainable development.
Myanmar ranks third highest on the list of landmine fatalities in the world, and ranks fourth for people being disabled by landmines in Southeast Asia.
In Myanmar, about one million people have been well informed about the dangers of landmines since awareness raising campaigns began in 2016, with 280,000 educated in 2019, alone.
Villagers will not be interested in who laid these landmines. They will be interested in how to protect themselves from exploding landmines. Hence, we must beef up our commitment to landmine clearance and to sharing of information to prevent further harm.

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