CNF: Work Underway to Rid of Landmine Stockpiles
18 June 2009: Serious work is now underway to destroy the last of anti-personnel landmine stockpiles by the Chin National Front and its armed wing Chin National Army, Dr. Sui Khar, CNF’s Joint General Secretary (I) told a meeting of signatories to the Geneva Call this week in Geneva. Geneva Call is an international humanitarian organization which engages armed non-State actors (NSAs) to respect humanitarian norms and to rid of anti-personnel (AP) mines.
The Chin National Front, which signed a land mine ban treaty with the Geneva Call in 2006, said it has taken a number of measures designed to rid of its AP mine stockpiles but complete clearance of the weapon will take time due to the lack of technical skills necessary for safely disposing them. According to the CNF, measures already taken include inspected destruction of some of the mines starting in December 2007 and the translation, publication and distribution Geneva Call’s training manual for destruction of AP mines to the rank and files of Chin National Army. As part of its commitment to a total ban on landmine, the CNF said it is also working hard to convince other armed revolutionary groups in Burma to become signatories to the Geneva Call. Other efforts include CNF’s sponsorship of a resolution on landmine action at the General Assembly of the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO) in Taiwan in 2007. The CNF became a member of the UNPO, popularly known as a shadow United Nations, in 2001.
In his report to the Security Council on Children of Armed Conflict in Burma earlier this month, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged the CNF’s effort to adhere to international humanitarian standards, including its commitment not to recruit child soldiers, a willingness to subject itself to “independent monitoring by a third party and to develop a time-bound action plan in accordance with Security Council resolution 1612 (2005).”
“An acknowledgement by the Secretary-General himself and the Security Council of our efforts is greatly welcomed. We are very appreciative and grateful for it,” said Dr. Sui Khar.
The CNF is the third armed group in Burma to accede to the landmine ban treaty after the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA). Nearly 40 armed groups worldwide have already signed the ‘deed of commitment’ under the Geneva Call. Through the treaty, the Geneva Call is mandated to monitor compliance and investigate alleged violations by signatory groups.
Burma has not yet signed or acceded to a similar multilateral agreement, popularly known as the “Ottawa Treaty” which bans the use, production, stockpile or transfer of landmines.