Summary: Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 March 2018, and the convention enters into force for the country on 1 September 2018. Sri Lanka has participated in the convention’s meetings since 2011 and voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2017.
Sri Lanka is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions. Sri Lanka states that it has never stockpiled or used cluster munitions.
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 March 2018.
Sri Lanka’s initial Article 7 transparency measures report is due by 28 February 2019.
Sri Lanka participated in one meeting of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, in Vienna in December 2007. It also attended a regional meeting on cluster munitions in Bali, Indonesia in November 2009.
Since 2011, Sri Lanka has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, except the first in 2010. At the convention’s First Review Conference in September 2015, Sri Lanka expressed its support for the convention’s humanitarian objectives and said it has never used or stockpiled cluster munitions.
At the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017, Sri Lanka announced that an “agreement has been reached, in principle, for Sri Lanka to accede” to the Convention on Cluster Munitions “in the very near future.” It commended the way the convention “embodies the concept of humanitarian disarmament, according highest priority on the protection of civilians.”
In December 2017, Sri Lanka voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” It voted in favor of previous UNGA resolutions promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in 2015 and 2016.
Since acceding to the convention in March 2018, Sri Lanka has nominated its Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva to serve as president of the convention’s Ninth Meeting of States Parties in September 2019.
Sri Lanka has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017.
Sri Lanka is party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Sri Lanka is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
In September 2017, Sri Lanka stated that it “has consistently maintained that cluster munitions were never used by Sri Lanka’s security forces during the conflict, and that they will never be used in the future.” Sri Lankan officials have repeatedly stated that its armed forces do not possess cluster munitions and have never used the weapon.
Sri Lanka has emphatically denied claims that it used cluster munitions in 2008–2009 during the final months of its military operation against the LTTE in the northern Vanni region. The transparency now required of Sri Lanka as a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions could help to formally answer questions about past cluster munition use.
In June 2016, evidence emerged that shows that three mine clearance organizations have cleared cluster munition remnants, including unexploded submunitions, from at least six different sites in the north of the country since 2009. HALO told The Guardian, it is not possible to determine who used the cluster munitions because the use could have occurred “any time within the last three decades.”
The Sri Lankan air force possesses aircraft capable of delivering this type of Soviet-made cluster munition, while the LTTE had light planes incapable of carrying them. The Indian air force possess RBK-500 series cluster bombs and was involved in a military intervention against the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka in 1987–1990.
A March 2011 report by a UN panel of experts on Sri Lanka noted the government’s denial and said that it was unable to reach a conclusion on the credibility of the allegation of use of cluster munitions by Sri Lanka.
 Accession of Sri Lanka to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, C.N.119.2018.TREATIES-XXVI.6 (Depositary Notification), New York, 1 March 2018.
 Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, 9 September 2015. Notes by the Monitor.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. Sri Lanka voted in favor of a similar UNGA resolution in 2016.
 Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, 9 September 2015. Notes by the Monitor. See also, Monitor meeting with Amb. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, and Dilup Nanyakkara, Advisor, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York, New York, 19 October 2010.
 See, HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 242–243. In October 2009, Sri Lankan Army Commander Lt.-Gen. J. Jayasuriya stated, “Where the cluster munitions are concerned, I wish to categorically state that such inhumane weapons have never, and will never be used by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.” Keynote address by Lt.-Gen. Jayasuriya, Sri Lankan Army, International Law on Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War Seminar, Colombo, 27 October 2009. The text of the address was included in, “Flow of arms to terrorists must stop,” Daily News, 28 October 2009.
 The Guardian published photographs that show clearance operators preparing to destroy the remnants of an RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb. It reported that HALO Trust cleared 42 cluster munitions—likely submunitions—from sites near Pachchilapalli, which saw fighting between government and LTTE forces at the end of the war. HALO said it reported the clearance at the time by submitting the records to the government-run mine action center. Emmanuel Stoakes, “Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons,” The Guardian, 26 June 2016. See also, Emmanuel Stoakes, “Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka's civil war, leaked photos suggest,” The Guardian, 20 June 2016.
 Emmanuel Stoakes, “Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons,” The Guardian, 26 June 2016.
 Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, 31 March 2011, p. 47, Section G, paras. 168–169.