Sri Lanka

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 23 September 2019

Policy

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 13 December 2017. The treaty entered into force for the country on 1 June 2018. Sri Lanka submitted its initial Article 7 report in November 2018 as well as an updated report in April 2019.[1]

In April 2019, Sri Lanka reported that it is in the process of creating implementation legislation for the convention.[2] Draft legislation is being reviewed by “key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Defence,” prior to being submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers for final approval.[3] It provided the same report in April 2019 and did not provide an update at the intersessional meetings in June 2019, so it is unclear how much progress has been made.

In November 2018, Sri Lanka provided an initial Article 7 report, which provided information “as of 28 November 2018.”[4] In April 2019, Sri Lanka provided an updated Article 7 report.[5]

Sri Lanka participated in the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it made a General Statement and an intervention on Article 5 implementation. Sri Lanka participated actively in the convention’s intersessional meetings in May 2019 in Geneva, making statements on Victim Assistance, Article 5 Implementation, International Cooperation & Assistance, Stockpile Destruction, and Mines Retained for Training. It had previously participated in multiple meetings of the treaty as an observer state.

Sri Lanka voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/61 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty on 5 December 2018, as it has for every annual pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996.

Sri Lanka is party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

Production, Transfer, and Use

There is no evidence that the government of Sri Lanka has ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Sri Lanka’s declared stockpile of antipersonnel landmines included mines of Chinese, Italian (or Singaporean), Pakistani, and Belgian origin as well as unknown mine types.[6]

Since the end of armed conflict in May 2009, the Monitor has not received any reports of new use of antipersonnel mines by any entity in Sri Lanka.

In October 2009, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that “the use of mines by the Sri Lankan military is strictly limited and restricted to defensive purposes only…to demarcate and defend military installations” and are “marked accordingly…and relevant records systematically maintained.”[7] Earlier in the year, Brigadier Lasantha Wickramasuriya acknowledged that the army had used antipersonnel mines in the past and used non-detectable Belgian, Chinese, and Italian mines, as well as bounding and fragmentation mines of Pakistani, Portuguese, and United States (US) manufacture.[8]

Prior to the end of armed conflict, in particular in 2008 and 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) laid large numbers of mines throughout the north.[9] Prior to its demise, the LTTE was considered expert in making explosive weapons. It was known to produce several types of antipersonnel mines: Jony 95 (a small wooden box mine), Rangan 99 or Jony 99 (a copy of the P4 MK1 Pakistani mine), SN 96 (a Claymore-type mine), fragmentation antipersonnel mines from mortars, and variants of some of these antipersonnel mines, including some with anti-handling features, as well as Amman 2000 MK1 and MKII antivehicle mines.[10]

Between 1987–1990, the Indian military/Indian peacekeeping forces also used landmines in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.[11]

Stockpiling and destruction

Sri Lanka possesses a significant stockpile of antipersonnel mines. Sri Lanka’s deadline for destruction is 1 June 2029. However, in November 2018, Sri Lanka stated its intent to complete stockpile destruction by the end of 2020.[12]

In its initial Article 7 report on 28 November 2018, Sri Lanka declared a stockpile of 77,865 antipersonnel mines.

Antipersonnel Mines Stockpiled by Sri Lanka

Mine Type

Quantity

P4MK 1

1,828

P4MK 11

68,573

TYPE 72

1,334

VS 50

1,208

Type 1969

254

PRB 409

47

NEL (POF)

10

NEL (CH)

6

P4MK 2

4,605[13]

Total

77,865

 

In November 2018, Sri Lanka announced that physical destruction of its stockpile had already started and that it intends to complete destruction by the end of 2020. Sri Lanka reported that the destruction of 57,033 antipersonnel mines had occurred prior to November 2018, for a total stockpile prior to destruction of 134,898 antipersonnel mines. The destruction that occurred prior to November 2018 is outlined in the table below.

In its May 2019 transparency report, Sri Lanka declared the destruction of 15,356 antipersonnel mines since its previous report, as shown in the following table.

 

Type

Quantity destroyed prior to November 2018

Quantity destroyed since initial transparency report

Quantity remaining

P4MK 1

5,222

0

1,828

P4MK 11

1,651

14,387

54,186

Type72

0

0

1,334

VS50

0

0

1,208

Type 1969

0

0

254

PRB 409

0

0

47

NEL (POF)

48,792

0

10

NEL (CH)

1,386

0

6

P4MK 1

0

0

1

P4MK 2

0

969

2,943

P4MK 2

0

0

693

Total

57,033

15,355

62,510

 

Sri Lanka has 41,357 of the 62,510 remaining antipersonnel mines marked for destruction. It intends to retain the remainder for research and training.

Retention

In its initial Article 7 report, Sri Lanka declared the retention of 21,153 antipersonnel mines and reported the same number in its subsequent report, showing that no antipersonnel mines have been consumed in training or research.

Antipersonnel mines retained by Sri Lanka (as of 31 December 2018)

Type

Quantity retained

P4MK 1

2,537

P4MK 11

12,829

Type 72

1,334

VS50

1,208

Type 1969

254

PRB 409

47

P4MK 2

2,944

Total

21,153

 

This represents the largest number of landmines currently retained by any State Party. Sri Lanka’s Article 7 report of May 2019 states that mines will be retained for training by the Sri Lankan Army, Air Force, Navy, and police forces.



[1] Previously, Sri Lanka submitted a voluntary Article 7 report in 2005.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, undated, ‘End of April 2019’. Section 2 of the report states, “The Cabinet of Ministers instructed the Ministry of Justice to liaise with the Legal Draftsman's Department to draft enabling legislation, considering the dualist nature of the Sri Lankan legal system. Accordingly, a preliminary draft has been made available to which the Attorney General’s Department has also provided their comments. Considering the importance of following an inclusive process, the draft will be taken up for discussion among all key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Defence, pursuant to being submitted for the final approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.”

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, November 2018.

[4] Ibid.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, November 2018. 1,828 P4MK1 (Pakistan); 73,178 P4MK2 (Pakistan); 1,334 Type 72 (China); 1,208 VS50 (Italy); 254 Type 1969 (unknown); and 47 PRB409 (Belgian).

[7]Flow of arms to terrorists must stop,” The Sri Lanka Guardian, 28 October 2009.

[8] Presentation on Humanitarian Demining by Brig. Lasantha Wickramasuriya, Sri Lankan Army (SLA), Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia, 2 April 2009. The presentation included a section entitled, “Types of Mines Used by the Sri Lankan Army” followed by photographs and titles: P4MK1 (Pakistan antipersonnel mine); M72 (China antipersonnel mine); VS-50 (Italy antipersonnel mine); M16A1 (US bounding antipersonnel mine, however the photograph shows what appears to be a P7 MK 1 Pakistan or PRBM966 Portugal bounding mine); PRB 415 (photograph shows what appears to be a NR 409 Belgian antipersonnel mine); PRB 413 (photograph shows what appears to be a Portugal M421 antipersonnel mine); M15 and ND MK 1 antivehicle mines; and M18A1 Claymore mines. The Monitor had previously reported that Sri Lanka acquired antipersonnel mines from China, Italy (or Singapore), Pakistan, Portugal, and perhaps Belgium, the US, and others. In its voluntary Article 7 report submitted in 2005, Sri Lanka noted the presence of these antipersonnel mines in minefields: P4MK1, P4MK2, P4MK3, P5MK1, Type 69 (Pakistan); PRB 413 (Portugal/Pakistan); PRB 409, M696 (Portugal); Type 66, Type 72 (China); and VS-50 (Italy/Singapore). Voluntary Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms C and H, 13 June 2005. The Monitor previously identified the following antipersonnel mines as having been used by government troops in the past: P4 and P3 MK (manufactured by Pakistan); Type 72, Type 72A, and Type 69 (China); VS-50 (Italy or Singapore); NR409/PRB (Belgium); M409 and M696 (Portugal); and M18A1 Claymore (US). See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1,118; and Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 881.

[9] Prior to its demise, the LTTE was considered an expert in making explosive weapons. It was known to produce several types of antipersonnel mines: Jony 95 (a small wooden box mine), Rangan 99 or Jony 99 (a copy of the P4MK1 Pakistani mine), SN 96 (a Claymore-type mine), fragmentation antipersonnel mines from mortars, and variants of some of these antipersonnel mines, including some with antihandling features (including Rangan 99 antipersonnel mines with a motion sensor), as well as Amman 2000, MK1, and MK2 antivehicle mines. See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2010.

[10] Presentation on Humanitarian Demining by Brig. Wickramasuriya at the Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia, Bangkok, 2 April 2009. Sri Lanka previously provided technical details of the Jony 95 and Jony 99 mines, which it identified as “produced and used” by the LTTE. Voluntary Article 7 Report, Form H, 13 June 2005. See also, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1017. Maj. Mangala Balasuriya of the SLA Field Engineering Brigade stated that during the last stages of the war they encountered a modified antipersonnel landmine that used white phosphorus. Telephone interview with Maj. Mangala Herath, Filed Engineering Brigade, SLA, Colombo, 25 June 2009.

[11] Statement by Sri Lanka, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2018.

[12] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, November 2018.

[13] This number combines 3,912 reported by the air force and 693 reported by the police.