Securing Mined Paths for Moving People: Mine Risk Education on the Thai-Burma Border
(California State University, Chico)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the governance tools developed both locally and globally to secure moving people who face the threat of anti-personnel mines. It focuses on mine risk education on the Thai-Burma border and the elaboration of standards in the mine action organizations' European headquarters.
Paper long abstract:
More and more people are moving back and forth across the Thai-Burma border. The Thai government encourages talks for repatriation of Burmese refugees, while the drastic decrease in international funding to the refugee camps forces many refugees to cross the border back into Burma. In the Southeast Asian highlands, borders have been more tangible on maps than on the ground. One of the main obstacles to mobility are anti-personnel mines. More than 70 years of conflict between minority groups and the central Burmese government have littered the area west of the border with mines. There are no landmine clearance programs in Burma. In this context, organizations focus on training people in transit through border areas on how to avoid and how to react to landmines. International organizations call this mine risk education (MRE). It is one of the five pillars of a complex landmine eradication governance network the United Nations calls "mine action." This paper stems from a larger research project on mine action worldwide. It is based on fieldwork conducted in Thailand and in the European headquarters of leading MRE organizations. What does MRE consists of in the particular context of the Thai-Burma border? How has it been conceived and who contributed? What tools are used to measure its efficiency? This paper seeks to expose the dynamics of locally informed attempts to secure movement of people shaped by externally imposed tools of security governance standards that were elaborated and authorized in far away global policy-making centers.
Security on the move: mobility and experimentation [Anthropology of security]