Sri Lanka

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 08 July 2019

Summary: Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 March 2018 and became a State Party on 1 September 2018. Sri Lanka has participated in the convention’s meetings and is president of the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in September 2018. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018.

Sri Lanka stated in its initial transparency report that it has never produced cluster munitions and possesses no stockpile.

Policy

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 March 2018 and it entered into force for the country on 1 September 2018 

In February 2019, Sri Lanka reported that it is studying if new legislation is needed to enforce its implementation of the convention’s provisions. [1]

Sri Lanka submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 26 February 2019. [2]

Sri Lanka participated in one meeting of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, in Vienna in December 2007. It attended a regional meeting on cluster munitions in Bali, Indonesia in November 2009.

Sri Lanka participated as an observer in the convention’s meetings, prior to its accession. [3] It participated as a State Party in the convention’s Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018, made a statement on universalization, and was named president of the convention’s Ninth Meeting of States Parties. [4]

Sri Lanka has participated in a number of regional workshops on the convention, for example, in Vientiane, Lao PDR in April 2019. [5] Sri Lanka spoke about its experience acceding to the convention during a regional workshop on the convention in Manila, Philippines on 18–19 June 2019. [6]

In December 2018, Sri Lanka voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution, which urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” [7] It has voted in favor of the UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Sri Lanka has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2018. [8]

Sri Lanka acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 13 December 2017. Sri Lanka is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

In its initial Article 7 report submitted in February 2019, Sri Lanka indicated that it has no stockpile of cluster munitions or production facilities for the weapon and it is not retaining any. [9]

Use

In September 2018, Sri Lanka stated that it “has never used cluster munitions.” [10] Previously, Sri Lankan officials repeatedly stated that its armed forces did not possess cluster munitions and never used the weapon. [11]

Past allegations of use

Sri Lanka has emphatically denied claims that it used cluster munitions in 2008–2009 during the final months of its military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the northern Vanni region. [12] In 2017, Sri Lanka commented to Cluster Munition Monitor that “With regard to the recent allegations of using ‘Cluster Munitions’ during the operations against LTTE terrorists, Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force re-iterated their earlier stand that they have never used Cluster Munitions” [13]

In 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommended that the government of Sri Lanka initiate an independent investigation into the alleged use of cluster munitions in past. [14]

The suggestion came after new evidence emerged in 2016 showing that since 2009, three mine clearance organizations have cleared cluster munition remnants, including unexploded submunitions, from at least six different sites in the north of the country. [15] Mine clearance organizations could not determine who used the cluster munitions or when, asserting that it “could have been any time within the last three decades.” [16]

The Sri Lankan Air Force possesses aircraft capable of delivering Soviet-made cluster munitions. A 2009 media article alleged that Sri Lankan forces used cluster munitions against the LTTE, while attacking Pudukkudyirippu Hospital. [17] The LTTE had light planes incapable of carrying them. The Indian Air Force possesses RBK-500 series cluster bombs and was involved in a military intervention against the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka in 1987–1990.

A 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. [18]


 [1] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 26 February 2019. It is a “nil” report, with the exception of Form A on national implementation measures.

 [2] Article 7 Report, 26 February 2019.

 [3] Sri Lanka has participated as an observer in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention since 2011 and attended the First Review Conference in 2015.

 [4] Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 September 2018.

 [5] Regional Seminar on Landmines, Cluster Munitions and Explosive Remnants of War, Vientiane, Lao DPR, 29–30 April 2019. See, “Experts Discuss Landmine-related Risks At A Regional Seminar,” Lao News Agency, 2 May 2019.

 [6]Asia-Pacific Workshop on CCM Universalization,” Convention on Cluster Munitions Quarterly Newsletter, April 2019.

 [7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [8]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018.

 [9] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B, C,  D & E, 26 February 2019.

 [10] Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 September 2018.

 [11] 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.

 [12] 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.

 [13] Email from Mafusa Lafir, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, to Mary Wareham, Arms Division, HRW, 26 May 2017.

 [14] Paragraph 33 states: “In light of recent reports on new evidence that has emerged on the use of cluster munitions towards the end of the conflict, following similar allegations in the OHCHR investigation report, the High Commissioner calls for an independent and impartial investigation to be carried out.” OHCHR, “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” A/HRC/32/CRP.4, 28 June 2016, p. 8.

 [15] 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.

 [16] Emmanuel Stoakes, “Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons,” The Guardian, 26 June 2016.

 [17] “U.N. cites Sri Lanka cluster bomb use: The U.S., EU, Norway and Japan join in a plea to the Tamil Tiger rebels to end their failing separatist struggle and avoid more deaths,” Los Angeles Times, 4 February 2009. A UN spokesperson initially said the hospital was attacked with cluster munitions, but retracted the statement after further investigation. “UN accepts Sri Lanka has not used cluster bombs – website,” BBC Monitoring South Asia, 5 February 2009; and Walter Jayawardhana, “UN Spokesman Accepts Sri Lanka Never Had Cluster Bombs,” Ministry of Defence, 5 February 2009.

 [18] Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, 31 March 2011, p. 47 (Section G, paras. 168–169).


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.


Mine Action

Last updated: 29 October 2018

 

Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party
Article 5 deadline: 1 June 2028
On track

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA)
National Mine Action Center (NMAC)
Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO) in Kilinochchi
District Steering Committees for Mine Action

Mine action strategic plan

National Mine Action Strategy for 2016–2020

Mine action standards

National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) were reviewed in 2017, awaiting finalization as of August 2018

Operators in 2017

National:
Sri Lanka Army (SLA)

NGOs:
DASH and its subcontractor national organization SHARP

International NGOs:
The HALO Trust
Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

Extent of contamination as of July 2018

Landmines

25.8km2
Extent of contamination: heavy

Cluster munition remnants

None

Other ERW contamination

Extent unknown. Includes large caches of AXO

Land release in 2017

Landmines

0.96km2 cancelled, 1.5km2 reduced, and 3.25km2 cleared with the destruction of 31,012 antipersonnel mines and 157 antivehicle mines
0.76km2 confirmed

Other ERW

6,243 items of UXO destroyed during mine clearance

Progress

Landmines

The non-technical survey that began in June 2015 was completed in February 2017, reducing total contamination from 68.4km2 to close to 26km2
The National Mine Action Strategy sets the goal of completion of mine and ERW clearance by 2020

Notes: ERW = explosive remnants of war; AXO = abandoned explosive ordinance; UXO = unexploded ordnance.

Contamination

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is extensively contaminated by mines and ERW. Most contamination is in the north, the focus of three decades of armed conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009. However, estimates of total contamination have fallen sharply: from 506km2 at the end of 2010, to 98km2 at the end of 2012, to nearly 68.4km2 in 2015, and down to just under 25.8km2 as of July 2018.[1]

Non-technical survey (re-survey) that began in June 2015 was completed in February 2017, with cancellation of 42km2 of suspected hazardous area (SHA), reducing total suspected contamination from over 68km2 to close to 26km2.[2]

Batticaloa district in Eastern province was declared free of the threat of mines in June 2017, the first of Sri Lanka’s mine affected provinces.[3]

Mine/ERW contamination (as of July 2018)[4]

Province

District

Area (m2)

Northern

Jaffna

2,150,624

Kilinochchi

10,849,638

Mullaitivu

8,475,610

Vavuniya

1,968,607

Mannar

1,940,326

Subtotal

 

25,384,805

Eastern

Trincomalee

111,311

Ampara

12,686

Subtotal

 

123,997

Northwestern

Puttalam

17,613

Northcentral

Anuradhapura

216,524

Western

Colombo

52,730

Subtotal

 

286,867

Total

 

25,795,669

 

The Northern province is by far the most affected, though limited contamination remains in Eastern province, and in Northcentral, Northwestern, and Western provinces. Both sides made extensive use of mines, including belts of P4 Mk I and Mk II blast antipersonnel mines laid by the SLA, and long defensive lines with a mixture of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) laid by the LTTE.[5] Indian Peacekeeping Forces also used mines during their presence from July 1987 to January 1990.[6]

The SLA used both antipersonnel and antivehicle mines, with all use said to have been recorded.[7] Operators have encountered a wide range of LTTE devices, including antipersonnel mines with anti-tilt and anti-lift mechanisms. Tripwire-activated Claymore-type mines and, to a lesser extent, antivehicle mines, were also used by the LTTE, along with a number of forms of improvised devices to act as fragmentation mines, bar mines, electrical and magnetically initiated explosive devices, and mines connected to detonating cord to mortar and artillery shells.[8]

Sri Lanka remains contaminated with a wide range of ERW, including unexploded air-dropped bombs, artillery shells and missiles, mortar bombs, handheld anti-tank projectiles, and rifle and hand grenades. Large caches of AXO also exist, particularly in the north.[9] These are being cleared concurrently to the remaining minefields.[10]

In 2017, HALO Trust reported that the impact of mine contamination in its areas of operations in northern Sri Lanka is primarily socio-economic, with large areas of agricultural land and forest blocked for use or the collection of natural resources. However, the highest priority for clearance is land designated for the resettlement and return of internally displaced people (IDPs), mainly concentrated in areas around Muhamalai, Nagarkovil, and the Jaffna High Security Zone.[11]

Program Management

The Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Hindu Religious Affairs became the lead agency for mine action in 2015 as chair of the interministerial National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA). This body sets policy and is mandated to “manage linkages within the government, mine action community and donors.”[12] Its policies and decisions are implemented by the NMAC, set up in 2010[13] to: liaise with government ministries and development partners to determine mine action priorities; prepare a strategic plan; and set annual workplans to put it into effect. NMAC is also responsible for accrediting mine action operators, setting national standards, and acting as the secretariat of NSCMA.[14]

Clearance operations are coordinated, tasked, and quality managed by a Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO) in Kilinochchi, working in consultation with District Steering Committees for Mine Action. The committees are chaired by government agents heading district authorities.[15]

Under its National Mine Action Strategy for 2016–2020, the government of Sri Lanka intends to convene steering committee meetings for mine action up to twice per year at national level and at three regional levels, one for Eastern province and two for Northern province.[16]

Strategic planning

At the request of NMAC, Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Strategy for 2016–2020 was reviewed in April 2018, in a multi-stakeholder workshop facilitated by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), and in consultation with operators and the SLA. The strategy, which sets the goal of clearing all mines and ERW by 2020, contains the following strategic objectives:

  • The scope of the mine/ERW problem is identified, confirmed, and addressed using appropriate methodologies and resources.
  • Mine/ERW safe behavior among women, girls, boys, and men is promoted.
  • The needs of mine/ERW victims are determined and met and victims are integrated into society.
  • Sri Lanka accedes to the Mine Ban Treaty and complies with relevant obligations.
  • Long-term residual contamination is effectively managed by appropriate and sustainable national capacities.
  • The Sri Lanka mine action sector can access quality information for its strategic and operational decision-making.[17]

The review of the strategy was necessitated by the completion of re-survey efforts that concluded in early 2017 and in order to revise the remaining estimate of contamination.[18] Notably, one of the main objectives of the plan, that Sri Lanka accedes to the Mine Ban Treaty, was achieved in December 2017.

Sri Lanka has set out a district-by-district approach to completing clearance, under which, following completion of Batticaloa, clearance of Trincomalee and Jaffna districts are planned to be completed next.[19]

Since early 2009, resettlement of IDPs has been the focus of survey and clearance activities, including in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, and Vavuniya districts in the north, and Ampara, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee districts in the east.[20] Clearance is focused on high-priority areas for resettlement, agricultural land, irrigation tank areas, and other infrastructure and development initiatives, as well as of heavily mined areas such as around Kilinochchi and the Muhamalai Forward Defence Line.[21] In addition, in 2016, the government of Sri Lanka granted increased access to areas of the Jaffna High Security Zone allowing HALO Trust to conduct clearance and MAG to clear previously restricted areas in Eastern province, further expanding the reach of mine action in the country.[22]

Legislation and standards

There is no national mine action legislation in Sri Lanka, based on available information. According to HALO Trust and MAG, a review of Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) was carried out in May 2017 with the input of all demining operators, and support from the GICHD.[23] As of August 2018, however, the revised standards had yet to be finalized and distributed to operators.[24]

Information management

Sri Lanka’s Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database has reportedly undergone substantial and continuing improvements since the installation of an updated version of the software in 2015 and the initiation of a process of data entry and ground verification.[25] Since that time, operators have reported that significant efforts have been exerted by stakeholders to correct erroneous data entered into IMSMA and to update the database on the basis of re-survey results, leading to a complete overhaul of the database and a more accurate representation of remaining contamination.[26]

However, despite the improvements to the quality of the database, in 2017 significant delays persisted in the provision of transparent and timely updates by NMAC in response to information requests from international mine action stakeholders and discrepancies continued to be reported between the information reported from the IMSMA database and operators’ records.

Operators

In 2017, demining was conducted by the SLA; a national NGO, DASH and its subcontractor national organization SHARP; and the two international NGOs, HALO Trust and MAG.

HALO Trust reported that as of December 2017, its operations staff capacity had increased by 62% over the previous year to a total of 715 (65 manual clearance teams, 12 mechanical clearance teams, and two survey/explosive ordnance disposal teams)—the result of greater funding from existing and new donors. As of 31 December 2017, mechanical assets comprised six front-end loaders, one tracked Caterpillar, one excavator, one tiller, one sifter, and one stone crusher. It also shared a second excavator with MAG. Machines are proving especially valuable in clearing mine lines in the Muhamalai minefield.[27]

MAG’s capacity in 2017 remained largely consistent with the previous year at 15 manual clearance teams, eight mechanical teams, as well as two community liaison teams and nine medical teams.[28]

According to NMAC, in 2017, the SLA’s demining unit deployed a total of 418 persons in demining operations, while DASH employed 369 staff in its demining activities, and its subcontractor, SHARP, employed a further 115 persons. The SLA had a total of 33 mini-flail machines, of which 12 were serviceable in 2017, along with a total of 12 mine detection dogs, of which 11 were deployed. Additionally, DASH deployed a mechanical rake machine during the year.[29]

Land Release

A total of just over 5.7km2 of antipersonnel mine contamination was reported released in 2017: nearly 4.8km2 by clearance and technical survey and close to 1km2 cancelled by non-technical survey.[30] This was a significant decrease from the overall land release reported in 2016 of nearly 38.5km2 (6.5km2 by clearance and technical survey and 32km2 cancelled).[31] This sharp decline in land release output was primarily due to the large drop in cancellation reported in 2017, due to the completion of a massive district-by-district re-survey at the beginning of the year.

The non-technical survey that began in June 2015 was completed in February 2017 with the cancellation of 42.4km2 of SHA, reducing total contamination from 68.4km2 to close to 26km2.[32]

Survey in 2017

A total of just under 0.96km2 was reported cancelled by non-technical survey by MAG and HALO Trust in their areas of operations in 2017, while close to 0.76km2 was confirmed as mined.[33] A total of just over 1.5km2 was reduced through technical survey by all operators during the year.[34] This compares to MAG and HALO’s survey output in 2016, when a total of 32km2was cancelled by non-technical survey and 22km2was confirmed as mined, along with a total of just under 4.2km2 reportedly reduced by technical survey by all operators.[35]

As stated, the sharp decline in cancellation reported by MAG and HALO in 2017 was due to the completion of large-scale re-survey efforts early in the year, after which operations focused on clearing the defined confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs).[36]

Mined area survey in 2017[37]

Operator

SHAs cancelled

Area cancelled (m²)

SHAs confirmed as mined

Area confirmed (m²)

Area reduced by TS (m2)

DASH

0

0

0

0

235,386

MAG

3

342,785

38

648,230

802,833

HALO

18

616,388

11

114,276

188,532

SHARP

0

0

0

0

0

SLA

0

0

0

0

315,014

Total

21

959,173

49

762,506

1,541,765

Note: TS = technical survey.

 

There are discrepancies between the data provided by the NMAC and operators. The table above presents the figures provided by HALO Trust and MAG. NMAC reported that MAG cancelled four areas with a size of 1,067,642m2 and reduced a further 385,230m2 of antipersonnel mine contamination by technical survey, while confirming six areas with a size of 1,179,834m2 as mined. It reported that HALO cancelled 18 SHAs with a size of 238,673m2 and reduced a total of 16,596m2 by technical survey, confirming an additional four areas with a size of 186,618m2. HALO reported that it canceled CHAs, not SHAs. It stated that the 11 areas confirmed were not SHAs, but rather newly identified as CHAs immediately during non-technical survey.[38]

Clearance in 2017

More than 3.2km2 of mined area was reportedly cleared in 2017, with a total of 31,012 antipersonnel mines, 157 antivehicle mines, and 6,243 items of UXO destroyed.[39]This is an increase in clearance output from 2016, when a total of 2.3km2 of mined area was reportedly cleared. However, there was a significant decrease in the number of antipersonnel mines reportedly destroyed, down from a total of 59,304 antipersonnel mines in 2016.[40]

Mine clearance in 2017[41]

Operator

Areas cleared

Area cleared (m²)

AP mines destroyed

AV mines destroyed

UXO destroyed

DASH

29

920,511

18,083

50

2,274

MAG

39

632,686

1,711

0

69

HALO

14

1,303,209

6,592

46

3,116

SHARP

3

183,517

481

61

690

SLA

11

205,908

4,145

0

94

Total

96

3,245,831

31,012

157

6,243

Note: AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle.

 

There are discrepancies between the data provided by the NMAC and operators. The table above presents the figures provided by HALO and MAG. NMAC reported that MAG cleared 584,278m2 of antipersonnel mine contamination, destroying 1,723 antipersonnel mines, two antivehicle mines, and 128 UXO. It reported that HALO cleared 531,588m2 of antipersonnel mines contamination, destroying 8,788 antipersonnel mines, eight antivehicle mines, and 1,554 UXO. According to the NMAC and HALO, the discrepancies in reporting could be due to the NMAC’s receiving and reporting on the basis of completion reports from operators.[42]

During 2017, HALO Trust continued to focus clearance on areas of the Muhamalai minefield pegged for resettlement. In December 2017, the government of Sri Lanka released two additional sectors of the Muhamalai minefield, following completion of clearance by HALO, for a total of six out of 21 sectors completed by HALO. The areas were cleared and released for the purpose of resettlement at Intherapuram village, facilitating the resettlement of 24 displaced families, and opening land for agriculture, specifically for coconut cultivation.[43]

MAG, with support from the SLA, completed clearance of Batticaloa district, Eastern province in June 2017. MAG reported that following completion of re-survey of the district, it began clearance in October 2016 and finished in May 2017, releasing a total of 246,266m2: 79,817m2 through clearance and 146,567m2 by technical survey, with the destruction of 383 antipersonnel mines and two items of UXO.[44]

In 2017, MAG’s main operational focus continued to be Mannar district, where it reported that more than 100,000 IDPs had been resettled since 2010. According to MAG, more than 70% of the population in Mannar district rely on agricultural activities for their livelihood. MAG remained the only clearance operator in Mannar district and continued to support its district development plans.[45]

Deminer safety

In 2017, four DASH deminers were injured in three demining accidents in Muhamalai, Kilinochchi district. In another incident in June 2017, in Trincomalee district, an SLA deminer was injured in a demining accident.[46]

HALO Trust reported that while working in the Muhamalai minefield one deminer was involved in a demining accident in June 2017. He detonated a so-called “onion blast,” a local term for a small homemade device that is placed on the ground with the intention of killing or incapacitating animals, such as wild pigs. According to HALO Trust, typically these items are used to hunt animals and not people. They are typically packed with commercially available low-grade explosives and ball bearings or other fragmentation, are wrapped in paper or plastic, and the devices are around two centimeters in diameter. The deminer sustained only light injuries to a finger.[47]

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Sri Lanka is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 June 2028. The National Mine Action Strategy sets the goal of completion of mine and ERW clearance by 2020.

The NMAC reported that according to its revised National Mine Action Strategy, the national target for antipersonnel mine clearance in 2018 is 9km2.[48]

In December 2017, Sri Lanka informed States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty that 98% of its mine contamination had been cleared, with assistance from NGOs and the international donor community.[49]

The NMAC has reported that, cumulatively, a total of 137km2 of mined area was reduced or cleared between 2002 and May 2018, and a total of 735,444 antipersonnel mines, 2,073 antivehicle mines, and 556,384 items of UXO were destroyed during that timeframe.[50] Clearance dropped significantly in 2013 following a decline in capacity after closure of operations by the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in 2013 and two Indian demining NGOs (Horizon and Sarvatra) in 2012.

Mine clearance in 2013–2017[51]

Year

Area cleared (km2) reported in previous years[52]

Area cleared (km2) following data verification in October 2018[53]

2017

3.25

3.25

2016

2.35

2.80

2015

3.52

3.58

2014

3.75

2.66

2013

6.44

2.35

Total

19.31

14.64

 

 

 

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from“Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.



[1] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, Assistant Director Operations, Quality Management, and Planning, Chairman Accreditation Committee, NMAC, 8 and 9 October 2018.

[2] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 27 September 2017.

[3] Ibid., 8 August 2018.

[4] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 8 and 9 October 2018.

[5] Interviews with demining operators, Colombo, 29 March–2 April 2010; and with Maj. Pradeep Gamage, Officer-in-Charge, North Jaffna Humanitarian Demining Unit (HDU), Jaffna, 3 April 2007.

[6] Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Hindu Religious Affairs, “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 6.

[7] Ibid.; and interview with Rob Syfret, Operations Manager, HALO Trust, in Kilinochchi, 12 September 2016.

[8] Email from Valon Kumnova, HALO Trust, 11 April 2014; and “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 6.

[9] “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 6.

[10] Email from Matthew Hovell, Regional Director, HALO Trust, 30 September 2018.

[11] Email from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018.

[12] “The National Strategy for Mine Action in Sri Lanka,” Ministry of Economic Development, September 2010, p. 9; and email from Sri Mallikarachchi, Senior IMSMA Officer, NMAC, 13 October 2015. After Sri Lanka’s January 2015 presidential elections and change of government, the Ministry of Economic Development, which formerly housed NMAC, was dismantled. A March 2015 cabinet memorandum then assigned development activity, implemented by the former Ministry of Economic Development, to other relevant ministries. This resulted in responsibility for the national mine action program being assigned to the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Hindu Religious Affairs. “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 10.

[13] The cabinet formally approved the creation of the NMAC on 10 July 2010.


[14] Email from Amanthi Wickramasinghe, Programme Officer − Peace and Recovery, UNDP, Colombo, 11 March 2011. 


[15] “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 9. It states that: “Steering committees used to play an important role in providing guidance to the mine action programme and in promoting transparency and accountability. At the national level the Steering Committee fulfilled the role of a National Mine Action Authority. It used to convene key national stakeholders including the SLA and relevant Ministries, mine action NGOs and main development partners. At regional and district levels, steering committees were tasked to ensure priority-setting of survey, clearance and MRE activities.”

[16] “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 10.

[17] Ibid., p. 11.

[18] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[19] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018; and presentation by Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, “Key Achievements and Way Forward,” Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7–8 June 2018.

[20] “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 7.

[21] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 7 October 2016.

[22] Emails from Alistair Moir, MAG, 21 August 2017; and from Helaine Boyd, Programme Support Officer, HALO Trust, 25 April and 28 September 2017.

[23] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[24] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[26] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018, and 21 August 2017; and from Helaine Boyd, HALO Trust, 25 April 2017.

[27] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Matthew Hovell, 30 September 2018.

[28] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[29] Email from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September 2018.

[30] Ibid.; and 8 October 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; from and Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[31] Emails from Alistair Moir, MAG, 21 August 2017; and from Helaine Boyd, HALO Trust, 25 April 2017; and presentation by Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, “1stQuarter Meeting 2017,” undated.

[32] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 27 September 2017.

[33] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September and 8 October 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[34] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September and 8 October 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[35] Emails from Alistair Moir, MAG, 21 August 2017; and from Helaine Boyd, HALO Trust, 25 April 2017; and presentation by Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, “1st Quarter Meeting 2017,” undated.

[36] Emails from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[37] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September and 8 October 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[40] Emails from Alistair Moir, MAG, 21 August 2017; and from Helaine Boyd, HALO Trust, 25 April 2017; and presentation by Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, “1stQuarter Meeting 2017,” undated.

[41] Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September and 8 October 2018; from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018; from Camille Wallen, Head of Policy and Evaluation, HALO Trust, 9 October 2018; and from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[42] Email from Alistair Moir, MAG, 8 August 2018.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Email from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September 2018.

[47] Email from Bartholomew Digby, HALO Trust, 5 March 2018.

[48] Email from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 27 September 2018.

[49] Statement of Sri Lanka, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 18–21 December 2017.

[50] Presentation by Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, “Key Achievements and Way Forward,” Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7–8 June 2018.

[51] As a result, however, NMAC reported that the total amount of antipersonnel mine clearance output per year had been adjusted from that previously reported (as contained in the table) to approx. 2.35km2in 2013; 2.66km2in 2014; 3.58km2in 2015; and 2.80km2in 2016.

[52] See previous Monitor reports.

[53] In October 2018, NMAC reported that a process to verify and re-enter all completion reports from 2002 to present into the IMSMA database had been completed, with the assistance of operators. The NMAC stated that this had rectified a number of data entry errors and missing data that was not transferred during a migration from an older IMSMA legacy version of the database to the newer IMSMA NG software. Emails from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 8 and 9 October 2018.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 08 November 2018

In 2017, international contributions from four states supporting clearance and risk education activities in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka totaled US$8.5 million, which represents an increase of nearly $4 million (86%) compared to 2016.[1]

The largest contributions came from the United States (US) ($5 million) and Japan ($2.5 million) for clearance and risk education activities.

Sri Lanka has never reported its financial contribution to its mine action program. However, in a speech on the 2012 budget, President Mahinda Rajapaksa indicated that it was substantial, stating that since 2009 the army has been engaged in demining, rebuilding, and urban development at a cost of LKR5.4 billion (approximately US$42 million).[2]

International contributions: 2017[3]

Donor

Sector

Amount (national currency)

Amount (US$)

US

Clearance and risk education

$5,000,000

5,000,000

Japan

Clearance

¥227,957,891

2,479,553

United Kingdom

Clearance

£602,843

777,065

Canada

Clearance and risk education

C$337,513

259,945

Total

   

8,516,563

 

Since 2013, international contributions to mine action in Sri Lanka totaled nearly $37 million, and averaged some $7.4 million per year.

International assistance to mine action has considerably varied in recent years, ranging from a low of $4.6 million in 2016 to a high of $9.8 in 2013.

Summary of contributions: 2013–2017[4]

Year

Amount (US$)

% change from previous year

2017

8,516,563

+86

2016

4,583,251

-18

2015

5,614,583

-34

2014

8,449,142

-19

2013

9,814,785

-21

Total

36,978,324

 

 



[1] Canada, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 1 May 2018; Japan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2018; United Kingdom, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2018; and emails from Katherine Baker, Foreign Affairs Officer, Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State, 9 and 24 October 2018.

[2] Ministry of Economic Development, “2012 Budget 100 Proposals for Development His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented the 2012 budget proposals to the parliament,” undated. Average exchange rate for 2012: LKR127.231=US$1, Oanda.com, Historical Exchange Rates.

[3] Average exchange rate for 2017: C$1.2984=US$1; ¥112.1=US$1; £1=US$1.2890. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 11 January 2018.

[4] See previous Monitor reports. Total for international support in 2013 has been rectified as a result of revised international funding data.


Casualties

Last updated: 23 January 2018

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2016

22,193 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties

Casualties occurring in 2016

8 (2015: 8)

2016 casualties by survival outcome

8 (1 killed; 7 injured)

2016 casualties by device type

2 antivehicle mines; 1 antipersonnel mine; 5 ERW

In 2016, eight adult male mine/ERW casualties were recorded in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in six incidents.[1] Eight adult male casualties were also recorded  in 2015, in five mine/ERW incidents.[2] This marked a significant decrease in annual casualties compared to the 21 and 22 mine/ERW casualties, in 2014 and 2013 respectively.[3] Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020 reports different annual total casualty figures for the two years prior to 2015: with 16 casualties in 2014 and 21 in 2013 recorded.[4]

In 2014, UNICEF reported that since the 1980s some 22,177 mine/ERW casualties had been recorded, including 1,603 civilian casualties. However, from 2006 to 2009 accurate casualty information was difficult to access due to ongoing conflict, likely resulting in under-reporting.[5] In April 2010, it was reported that since the 1980s there were a total of 21,993 mine casualties, including 1,419 civilian returnees; 3,770 recorded amputees among the armed forces, police, and civil defense forces; and 16,804 mine casualties among the non-state armed group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).[6] From 1999 to the end of 2016, the Monitor identified 1,185 casualties in Sri Lanka (144 killed; 577 injured; 464 unknown).



[1] Email from Mihlar Mohamed, UNICEF, Colombo, 11 July 2017.

[2] Ibid., 11 May 2016; and “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 19.

[3] Emails from Mihlar Mohamed, UNICEF, Colombo, 11 May 2015; and from Vidya Abhayagunawardena, Monitor Researcher 19 May 2015.

[5] Email from Mihlar Mohamed, UNICEF, Colombo, 11 May 2015.

[6] Statement by Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, Chief Field Engineer, Sri Lanka Army, in “On landmines and explosive remnants of war: raising awareness and taking Action,” Asian Tribune (Colombo), 30 April 2010. Although not stated, presumably all these casualties were included in the 30-year total.


Victim Assistance

Last updated: 26 November 2018

Victim assistance action points

  • Conduct a comprehensive victim needs assessment, in collaboration with relevant ministries
  • Develop a victim assistance data base
  • Designate government victim assistance focal points

Victim assistance planning and coordination

Government focal points

None. It was planned that victim assistance focal points should be designated in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage (Ministry of Social Empowerment, formerly the Ministry of Social Services, MoSS) by November 2018

Coordination activities

 

None. A specific budget was planned to be allocated to victim assistance in 2019. National Mine Action Center (NMAC) submitted a budget proposal in 2018.[1] This was in accordance with NMAC’s strategic role of coordinating with state and non-state victim assistance partners to improve access to existing services for mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors and to address the gaps in service availability[2]

Plans/strategies

None. However, some victim assistance objectives are included in the National Strategy for Mine Action in Sri Lanka[3]

Disability sector integration

None reported. Ministries that should have responsibly for victim assistance include the Ministry of Social Empowerment, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Defense, which acts as the Directorate of Rehabilitation[4]

Survivor inclusion and participation

Minimal involvement survivors and/or their representative organizations in planning and the provision of services[5]

Reporting

Sri Lanka’s initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report is due on 28 November 2018.

 

International commitments and obligations

Sri Lanka is responsible for a significant number of landmine survivors and survivors of other ERW. Sri Lanka has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty and has ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Mine Ban Treaty

Yes

Convention on Cluster Munitions

Yes

Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V

No

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disablities (CRPD)

Yes

 

Laws and policies

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka lacked adequate legislation to adequately protect and respect the rights of persons with disabilities. An amended Draft Disability Rights Bill was being reviewed by the Ministry of Social Empowerment in 2017.[6] No progress on its adoption was reported through October 2018.

Legislation prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, public transportation, and access to healthcare. Discrimination continued to occur in employment, education, and the provision of state services, including public transportation. Regulations on accessibility exist, but access to buildings and public transportation for persons with disabilities remained rare.[7]

Major Developments in 2017–2018

Due to budget constraints and a decrease in the number of new casualties, UNICEF reduced its efforts towards victim assistance. It noted that it became challenging to provide continued support to victims.[8]

Needs assessment

Sri Lanka planned to develop a victim assistance database in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, NMAC planned to transfer between Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) platforms, from “ng” to “core,” by end of year and was in discussion on the developing of a victim assistance component within the new system.[9]

In May 2018, a national stakeholder consultation on disability data collection in the national statistical system for Incheon Strategy indicators was organized by the Social Development Division of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Primary Industries.[10]

Medical care and rehabilitation

In the period 2017–2018, the Jaffna Jaipur Center for Disability Rehabilitation (JJCDR) provided prosthetic limbs for 103 mine/ERW survivors.[11]

Social Organizations Networking for Development (SOND) provided emergency assistance to and livelihood support to survivors.[12] SOND remained engaged in mine risk education as it had for nine years, no survivors had received victim assistance services in 2018 to October due to the small number of new casualties.[13]

 

Victim assistance providers and activities

Name of organization

Type of activity

Government

Ministry of Social Empowerment (formerly the MoSS)

Community-based rehabilitation including self-help groups, medical care, assistive devices, income-generation projects, assistance with housing, and self-employment

Ministry of Health

Management of rehabilitation centers in Batticaloa and Kilinochchi

Ranaviru Sevana Rehabilitation Centre

Physical rehabilitation, social support, economic inclusion, and other assistance to disabled veterans

National

Jaffna Jaipur Center for Disability Rehabilitation (JJCDR)

The only center providing physical rehabilitation on the Jaffna peninsula; produced prostheses for amputees, wheelchairs, and other mobility devices, and provided micro-credit for persons with disabilities and financial support for students with disabilities; operated an outreach program for those unable to travel to the center

Sarvodaya

Psychological assistance

Social Organizations Networking for Development (SOND)

Mobility devices, psychosocial support, referrals, support for medical assistance, and economic inclusion

Valvuthayam Caritas

Prosthetics and mobility devices through Mannar Rehabilitation Center; outreach to areas such as Kilinochchi, Mullaithievu, and Puttalam

Leonard Cheshire Disability Resource Center

Access to livelihood for persons with disabilities in Gampaha district

Meththa Foundation

Prosthetic and mobility devices

International

Motivation

Supporting provision of prosthetics and wheelchairs

UNICEF

Support to Ministry of Social Empowerment and NGO rehabilitation services; referrals

 



[1] Email from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, Assistant Director of Operations, Quality Management, and Planning, NMAC, 31 October 2018.

[3] Ibid., p. 17.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Responses to Monitor questionnaire by Mihlar Mohamed, UNICEF, Colombo, 13 October 2017; and by Jayashanka Basnayake, Humanity & Inclusion (HI), Sri Lanka, 4 August 2016.

[6] Letter from the Ministry of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, 17 October 2017.

[7] United States Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017: Sri Lanka,” Washington, DC, 20 April 2018.

[8] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Mihlar Mohamed, UNICEF, Colombo, 13 October 2017.

[9] Email from Mahinda Bandara Wickramasingha, NMAC, 31 October 2018.

[11] Email from Dr. J. Ganeshamoorthy, Chairperson, JJCDR, 12 October 2018.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by S. Senthurajah, Executive Director, SOND, 5 November 2016; and email, 8 October 2017.

[13] Email from S. Senthurajah, Executive Director, SOND, 10 October 2018.