Thematic areas: Landmine Ban, Child Protection, Gender

The impact of armed violence on ethnic minority communities in Myanmar is entrenched in generations of conflict, marked by a protracted humanitarian crisis. Subnational conflicts with communal violence involve an exceptional number of ANSAs as well as numerous other armed actors, including state forces and government backed militias. Notwithstanding the adoption of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and unilateral ceasefire announcements in 2019, hostilities continue and have intensified in certain areas.

Further efforts to find any lasting form of peace settlement remain elusive. The level and incident of violence in northern Myanmar has been sharply rising in recent years, and its impact on civilians has grown accordingly. Fighting and the use of AP mines continues to impact civilians in northern Shan State, with several civilian casualties. Conflict, associated instability and weak rule of law have created fertile conditions where growing and continuous humanitarian norm breaches go unpunished. Conflict-affected communities are caught between warring parties’ crossfire and endure gross human rights violations and abuses in the country, but also as displaced persons abroad. Children have been among those most affected by these harmful trends, with little or no safe access to education in their home areas.

Geneva Call’s activities in Myanmar

• Policy changes towards respecting IHL: Following humanitarian engagement with Geneva Call, the Chin National Army (CNA) shared its revised Code of Conduct which notably included provisions on the minimum age of recruitment and the prohibition of sexual violence.

• The Karen National Union (KNU) has enforced policies on mapping the location of mines, with only military targeting being permissible. Moreover, following direct meetings with the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS)’s education commission to discuss the protection of and access to education, child protection and humanitarian access, the ANSA signed the Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict. It also committed to set up an age verification mechanism to avoid accidental recruitment of children.

• Enhanced knowledge towards implementing the Deeds: A training with the CNA was dedicated to reviewing the three Deeds of Commitment they had signed on the total ban of AP mines, child protection and the prohibition of sexual violence and gender discrimination; and Geneva Call’s latest Deed of Commitment for the protection of health care in armed conflict.

• Deepened engagement: Direct humanitarian engagement with ANSAs covering the issue of victim-activated AP mines took place with the KNU and CNA, highlighting their interest in the matter.

• Strengthened knowledge: 25 training and awareness raising sessions were held with various stakeholders across Shan, Chin and Karen States, delivering key messages on IHL to 920 fighters who now have an enhanced knowledge of basic IHL that applies in armed conflict.

• 2020: Following the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS)/ Shan State Army– South (SSA-S) signing Deed of Commitment for the protection of children from the effects of armed conflict, Geneva Call has worked with the ANSA’s Education Commission to increase implementation of its policy on demilitarization of schools – forbidding RCSS members to bring weapons into schools across Shan State. Most notably this was demonstrated during a diplomatic visit to a university at RCSS HQ where SSA-S fighters made a point of not carrying visible weaponry into the school compound. Implementation of this policy will ensure that RCSS run schools across Shan State are weapon-free areas freeing more than 10,000 children from potential armed violence.

• 2020: The Karen National Union (KNU)/ Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), has agreed to formalize age verification across all its brigades as well as to establish a community-based complaints mechanism through which alleged violations of the two Deeds of Commitment signed by the KNU may be reported and addressed.

• 2020: After many years, Geneva Call was able to establish direct humanitarian engagement with the KIO/KIA and conduct a field mission to their HQ along the Myanmar/China border. 

• 2020: Geneva Call trained over 500 civil society members on IHL and humanitarian engagement. As a result, the Ta’ang Student and Youth Union and the Shanni Youth Network conducted advocacy targeting ANSAs in their areas to address the continued use of landmines and abductions and killings of youth in their areas.

• 2020: Awareness-raising campaigns on the protection of healthcare in situations of complex emergencies reached 300’000 people on social media and through the dissemination of posters and flyers.


After signing the Deed of Commitment banning AP mines, the Chin National Front reported that it had CLEARED AND DESTROYED AROUND 3,000 AP MINES taken from four different locations along the border with India, together with stockpiled improvised explosive device components.

SIX ARMED GROUPS have signed one or more Deeds of Commitment and have taken steps to implement them.

Total groups engaged 9



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