In Myanmar, about one million people have been well informed on the dangers of landmines since awareness raising campaigns began in 2016, with 280,000 educated on the matter in 2019 alone.
This remark was made by the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr Win Myat Aye, on the second day of the Fourth Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Oslo, Norway.
This marks the first time Myanmar has attended the review conference at the ministerial level and the 4th review conference is organized from 25 to 29 November. To date, 164 States have formally agreed to be bound by the Mine Ban Convention but the conference is also attended by non-party States, including Myanmar.
Earlier on 26 November, the Union Minister attended the opening ceremony of the conference at Oslo City Hall. Also present at the ceremony were the incumbent President of the Mine Ban Convention Mr Haakon Magnus, who is also the Crown Prince of Norway, Oslo Mayor Mrs Marianne Borgen, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of International Development Mr Dag-Inge Ulstein, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Prince Mired bin Raad bin Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, UNHCR’s High Commissioner, leaders from ICRC and UNICEF and representatives from more than 160 nations.
Later in his speech at the convention, the Union Minister highlighted the fact that nearly 70 years of internal armed conflicts in Myanmar have halted regional development. He said the Union Government is prioritizing the national peace process and securing mine safety, raising awareness of the public, and rehabilitating victims of mines is crucial to sustainable development.
The Union Minister said Myanmar is aiming to form the Mine Action Authority group and has translated information on landmines into ethnic languages as well. He said a strategic plan to resettle IDPs and close down temporary centers had recently been formulated and ensuring safety from landmines is important in this matter.
Next, the Union Minister met separately with Norwegian Minister Ms Søreide and a delegation from Lebanon, a fellow non-party State to the Mine Ban Convention.
In the meeting with Ms Søreide, the Union Minister was accompanied by Myanmar Ambassador to Norway Daw Maw Maw and Norwegian Ambassador to Myanmar Ms Tone Tinnes.
During the meeting, the Union Minister expressed gratitude towards Norway for the years of assistance in Myanmar’s democratic transition. They also discussed the latest situation in Rakhine State, cooperation with ASEAN nations, UN agencies and international organizations, UEHRD’s processes, implementation of the recommendations on Rakhine State, and Myanmar’s preparations to respond to the International Court of Justice. The Foreign Minister replied that Norway will continue its assistance to Myanmar.
In the meeting with the Lebanon delegation, both sides discussed Lebanon’s demining initiative in 1998 by its military and establishment of its Mine Action Center, later leavened to a Mine Action Authority, cooperation with NGOs and civilians in clearing explosive mines, Lebanon’s preparation to sign the Mine Ban Convention in order to acquire technical and financial assistance in demining, and Lebanon’s military’s preparation to halt the use of explosive mines as they negatively effect the livelihood of people.—MNA
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)