Bhutan

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 11 July 2017

Summary: Non-signatory Bhutan has expressed support for the convention’s objectives, but it has not taken any steps toward accession. Bhutan has participated in one meeting of the convention and it voted in favor of key UN resolutions on the convention in 2015 and 2016. Bhutan has stated that it does not possess cluster munitions and it is not known to have used, produced, or transferred them.

Policy

The Kingdom of Bhutan has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Bhutan has never made a public statement detailing its position on joining the convention. Officials have expressed support for the convention’s objectives, but indicate that Bhutan has limited resources available internally to undertake the accession process.[1]

In December 2016, Bhutan voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[2] It also voted in favor of the first UNGA resolution on the convention in December 2015.[3] Bhutan has not explained why it has supported these resolutions promoting the convention.

Bhutan did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Bhutan has attended one meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions: in June 2015 its Geneva-based representative attended an intersessional meeting in Geneva.[4]

Bhutan is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Bhutan is not known to have used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions. In October 2010, a government representative said that Bhutan is a peaceful country that does not have any cluster munitions and does not plan to acquire them.[5]



[1] In October 2010, Bhutan’s permanent representative to the UN in New York told the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that the government views the convention as “a commendable achievement” and was “looking at it very closely with a view to taking positive action” on accession. Meeting with Amb. Lhatu Wangchuk, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the UN in New York, New York, 19 October 2010. Notes by the CMC. See also, interview with Kingye Singye, Minister-Counselor, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bhutan, New Delhi, 29 January 2010.

[2]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016.

[4] The representative said he was participating to learn more about the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Monitor interview with Tandin Dorji, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 22 June 2015. In October 2009, Bhutan attended a special event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the UN in New York.

[5] Meeting with Amb. Lhatu Wangchuk, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the UN in New York, New York, 19 October 2010. Notes by the CMC.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 25 October 2013

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

No implementation measures enacted

Transparency reporting

Last submitted 29 May 2007

Key Developments

Destroyed 4,553 stockpiled antipersonnel mines


Policy

The Kingdom of Bhutan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 18 August 2005 and the treaty entered into force on 1 February 2006. Bhutan has stated that the treaty is “self-enacting” under existing domestic law.[1] In May 2013, Bhutan informed States Parties that “By the virtue of the Constitution of Bhutan, all international treaties and conventions are deemed as national laws. Furthermore, the Bhutan Civil and Criminal procedure code also contains relevant provisions, which would adequately cover implementation of the Convention for the time being.” The representative of Bhutan added, “the Royal Government will continue to adopt additional measures for implementation of the Convention as and when deemed necessary.”[2]

As of 1 August 2012, Bhutan had not submitted its annual Article 7 report, which was due on 30 April 2012. Bhutan has not provided the required annual updates since its initial Article 7 report on 29 May 2007. In June 2011, Bhutan stated, “We are presently engaged in discussions with the ISU [Implementation Support Unit] to explore means of strengthening the implementation of our commitments under the Convention, including those under Art. 7 of the Convention.”[3]

Bhutan attended the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2012, where it provided an update on its stockpile destruction and mine clearance efforts. Bhutan attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2013, where it provided updates on its efforts regarding national legislation, stockpile destruction, and mine clearance.

Bhutan also attended the Bangkok Symposium on Enhancing Cooperation & Assistance in June 2013 in Bangkok.

Bhutan is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions or the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, transfer, production, stockpiling, and retention

Bhutan’s initial Article 7 report acknowledges that Bhutan imported and used antipersonnel mines in the past but did not produce them.[4] At that time, Bhutan declared a stockpile of 4,491 antipersonnel mines, all of which it stated it would retain for training purposes.[5] In May 2013, Bhutan informed States Parties that it retained 490 antipersonnel mines.[6] Bhutan stated, “The mines are retained solely for training purposes and all officers and troops are imparted with basic mine laying and mine clearing training. Officers and troops also undergo specialized trainings in mine clearing and removal of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A week-long training is conducted for all officers and troops annually. The training includes mine identification and awareness, minefield marking and layout, [and] detection and destruction techniques.”[7]

Bhutan informed States Parties in December 2012 that since the submission of their initial Article 7 report, they have destroyed 2,370 MNM-14 and 2,183 M-16 antipersonnel mines that were “either unserviceable or expired.”[8] The number of mines it destroyed since 2007 is greater than the stockpile declared in Bhutan’s initial Article 7 report. No explanation regarding the decision to reduce its mines retained or the changes in numbers was provided.

Bhutan’s treaty-mandated deadline for destroying any stockpiled antipersonnel mines was 1 February 2010. Bhutan has yet to indicate whether or not it destroyed any stockpiled antipersonnel mines in the past.



[1] “In Bhutan’s case, the treaty would be ‘self-enacting’ under domestic law since Chapter IV, clause 29 of the Civil & Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2001 states that ‘The Royal Court of Justice shall apply International Convention, Covenant, Treaty and Protocol that are duly acceded by the Royal Government of Bhutan and ratified by the National Assembly of Bhutan.’” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 29 May 2007.

[2] Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[3] Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 23 June 2011.

[4] Article 7 Report, Forms C, D, E, F, and H, 29 May 2007. The Article 7 report indicates Bhutan government forces used mines on tracks to camps maintained by insurgents in Gorbakunda and Nganglam. Bhutan previously stated several times that it had not produced, imported, exported, stockpiled, or used antipersonnel mines.

[5] Article 7 Report, Form D, 29 May 2007. The stockpile consists of 1,740 M-14 mines and 2,751 M-16 mines. Bhutan did not provide any technical characteristics of the mines, as called for in Article 7, but their specific designations are typical of Indian-manufactured mines.

[6] Comprised of 245 MNM-14 and 245 M-16 antipersonnel mines. Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[7] Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 28 May 2013.

[8] Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2012; and statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

Mine Action

Last updated: 29 August 2014

Contamination and Impact

Mines

In 2007, the Kingdom of Bhutan reported that it had laid a total of 103 antipersonnel mines in two locations on its side of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, which straddles the border with India. These included 62 antipersonnel mines laid on tracks that Bhutan said led to an insurgent camp in the Gorbakunda area, and 41 antipersonnel mines laid on tracks that it stated led to camps of Indian insurgents in Nganglam sub-district.[1] Bhutan reported it had cleared all mined areas in May 2013 and formally declared completion of its Article 5 clearance obligations at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 2013.[2]

Cluster munition remnants

Bhutan is not believed to be contaminated with cluster munition remnants.

Mine Action Program

There was no formal mine action program in Bhutan. Clearance was conducted by the army.[3]

Land Release

From 2005–2012, Bhutan cleared 35,390m2 of contaminated area in three locations, finding 318 antipersonnel mines and five antivehicle mines.[4] In 2013, Bhutan cleared the last of its mined areas, located in Gorbakunda, destroying 62 mines in the process.[5]

Mined areas cleared in Bhutan: 2005–2013

Location

Size of area (m2)

Antipersonnel mines

Antivehicle mines

Year Cleared

Manas

30,000

215

0

2005

Gorbakunda

4,030

62

0

2010

Nganglam

1,360

41

5

2013

Total

35,390

318

5

 

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Bhutan is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 February 2016.

At the Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance on 27 May 2013, Bhutan reported it had cleared all mined areas.[6] On 4 December 2013 at the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Bhutan subsequently made an official declaration of completion of its Article 5 obligations,  more than two years ahead of schedule. [7]

 



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 29 May 2007.

[2] Statement of Bhutan, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 4 December 2013.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Statement of Bhutan, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 4 December 2013.

[6] Statement of Bhutan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[7] Statement of Bhutan, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, 4 December 2013.