Sri Lanka

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 04 September 2020

Ten-Year Review: Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 March 2018. Sri Lanka has participated in the convention’s meetings and served as president of the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in September 2019. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2019.

According to Sri Lanka’s initial transparency report provided in February 2019, it has never produced cluster munitions and does not possess a stockpile.

Policy

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

Sri Lanka stated in September 2019 that it was “exploring…internal processes” to see if “a separate legal enactment to give effect to the Convention is required” or if “adequate legal provisions already exist, to enable the implementation of all Convention related obligations.”[1] Previously, in February 2019, Sri Lanka said it was checking to determine if new legislation is needed to enforce its implementation of the convention’s provisions.[2]

Since its accession to the convention in 2018, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense has initiated a program to educate Sri Lanka’s security forces to ensure they comply with the convention’s provisions at all times.[3]

Sri Lanka submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention on 26 February 2019.[4]

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

Prior to its accession Sri Lanka participated as an observer in every meeting of the convention.[5] It participated as a State Party in the convention’s Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018. Sri Lanka served as President of the Ninth Meeting of States Parties, also in Geneva, in September 2019.

Sri Lanka has participated in several regional workshops on the convention, such as one hosted in Vientiane, Lao PDR in April 2019 and one held by the Philippines in Manila on 18–19 June 2019.

In December 2019, 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.”[6] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Sri Lanka has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2018.[7]

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

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

In February 2019, Sri Lanka reported that it has not produced cluster munitions and does not possess any stocks of cluster munitions, including for research and training purposes.[8]

Use

In September 2018, Sri Lanka stated that it “has never used cluster munitions.”[9] Previously, Sri Lankan officials repeatedly stated that its armed forces did not possess cluster munitions and never used the weapon.[10]

Past allegations of use

Sri Lanka has emphatically denied claims that it used cluster munitions in 2008–2009 in the northern Vanni region.[11] In 2017, Sri Lanka said that with respect to allegations of cluster munition use during its military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the “Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force re-iterated their earlier stand that they have never used Cluster Munitions”[12]

In 2016, it was reported that three mine clearance operators had cleared cluster munition remnants, including unexploded submunitions, from at least six different sites in the north of the country since 2009.[13] The reports quoted an operator, who said it could not be determined who used the cluster munitions or when, but said they could have been used “any time within the last three decades.”

The Sri Lankan Air Force possesses aircraft capable of delivering Soviet-made cluster munitions, while 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.



[1] Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 September 2019.

[2] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 26 February 2019.

[3] Statement on Clearance, Convention on Cluster Munitions Ninth Meeting of States Parties, 3 September 2019.

[4] The report covers an initial period and every form states ‘’nil’’ with the exception of Form A on national implementation measures. As of August 2020, Sri Lanka has not provided an annual updated report for the convention. The report was due by 30 April 2020.

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

[6]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.

[7]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018. Sri Lanka abstained from the vote on a similar resolution in December 2019.

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

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

[10] Statement of Sri Lanka, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 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.

[11] See, Human Rights Watch (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.” See also, “Flow of arms to terrorists must stop,” Daily News, 28 October 2009. In early 2009, a media report alleged that Sri Lankan forces used cluster munitions against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, while attacking Pudukkudyirippu Hospital. “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. See, “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. In 2011, a UN Panel of Experts report 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. Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, 31 March 2011, p. 47.

[12] Email from Mafusa Lafir, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, to Mary Wareham, Arms Division, HRW, 26 May 2017. In 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommended the Sri Lankan government investigate the allegations of past cluster munition use, stating that, “the High Commissioner calls for an independent and impartial investigation to be carried out” following “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.” See OHCHR, “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” A/HRC/32/CRP.4, 28 June 2016, p. 8.

[13] The Guardian published photographs showing clearance operators preparing to destroy the remnants of an RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb and reported that HALO Trust had cleared 42 cluster munitions—likely submunitions—from sites near Pachchilapalli. 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.


Impact

Last updated: 19 November 2021

Jump to a specific section of the profile:

Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country Summary

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), with Northern province most affected, and limited contamination remaining in Eastern and North Central provinces. The north of the country was the focus of three decades of armed conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009. Both sides made extensive use of mines, including belts of P4 Mk I and Mk II antipersonnel blast mines laid by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), and long defensive lines with a mixture of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) laid by LTTE.[1] Indian peacekeeping forces also used landmines during their presence in Sri Lanka from July 1987 to January 1990.[2]

Sri Lanka had initially projected completion of mine clearance by the end of 2020. However, it reported that insufficient international funding combined with the identification of 2.88km2 ofnew contamination in 2019 pushed the completion date beyond 2020.[3] Sri Lanka anticipates completing clearance by 2025,[4] and planned to develop a new national mine action strategy in 2021.[5]

Risk education is incorporated into the school curriculum in Northern and Eastern provinces.[6] Community risk education is provided by national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and is coordinated by the National Mine Action Center (NMAC). The Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO) in Kilinochchi provided risk education to local authorities and police officers in Northern province, to support the reporting of ordnance and implementation of the law regarding explosives harvesting.[7] The COVID-19 pandemic impacted risk education activities in Sri Lanka in 2020.

Victim assistance in Sri Lanka is coordinated by the NMAC and relevant government ministries, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and international and national NGOs.[8] Since 2010, the phasing out of services by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Humanity & Inclusion (HI), and UNICEF has resulted in a decrease in the availability of victim assistance.[9] In 2020, rehabilitation services continued to provide prosthetics and the NMAC commenced a needs assessment survey, to identify mine/ERW victims in Northern, Eastern, and North Central Provinces, with survey in Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts ongoing.[10]

Treaty Status

Treaty status overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party (Entry into force: 1 June 2018)

Article 5 clearance deadline: 1 June 2028

Convention on Cluster Munitions

State Party (Entry into force: 1 September 2018)

Article 4 clearance deadline: not applicable

 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party (Ratification: 8 February 2016)

 

Article 5 clearance deadline implentation

According to Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020, the NMAC had anticipated that clearance would be completed in 2020. However, this target was contingent upon receiving a projected amount of funding, which was not obtained. This, combined with the identification of new contamination in 2019, led NMAC to project that clearance would be completed after 2020, although not later than 2025.[11] In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was also reported to have created challenges, and Sri Lanka planned to develop a new national mine action strategy beyond 2020.[12]

In 2019, Sri Lanka estimated that US$20 million annual funding was needed to sustain the program.[13] In 2020, Sri Lanka reported that US$66 million was required from international donors to sustain operations at the existing level until completion.[14]

Management and Coordination

Mine action

Mine action management and coordination overview

Mine action commenced

2002

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 legislation

Draft Antipersonnel Mine Ban Bill

Mine action strategic and operational plans

National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020 (expired)

Mine action standards

National Mine Action Standards

 

Coordination

The Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs became the lead agency for mine action in Sri Lanka in 2015, as chair of the interministerial National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA). The NSCMA sets policy and manages linkages between the government, the mine action community, and donors.[15] Its policies and decisions are implemented by the NMAC, established in 2010. NMAC liaises with government ministries and development partners, and develops strategic plans and annual workplans. It is also responsible for accrediting operators, setting national standards, and acting as the secretariat of NSCMA.[16]

Clearance operations are coordinated, tasked, and quality managed by the RMAO in Kilinochchi, which works in consultation with District Steering Committees for Mine Action. The committees are chaired by government agents heading district authorities.[17]

Strategies and policies

Sri Lanka planned to update its national mine action strategy in 2021 after convening stakeholder workshops. The new strategy would revise the clearance timeframe based on the results of ongoing re-survey in Northern, Eastern and North Central provinces, which aims to establish an accurate picture of contamination. It was anticipated that a draft strategy would be submitted for government approval in December 2021.[18]

Legislation and standards

In September 2020, approval was obtained from the Cabinet of Ministers to proceed with the draft Antipersonnel Mine Ban Bill. Sri Lanka reported that several drafts were circulated to relevant departments in 2020, with the process continuing as of April 2021. Sri Lanka has not reported on a date by which final approval by the Cabinet of Ministers is expected.[19]

Sri Lanka has reported that its National Mine Action Standards are regularly updated in line with international standards.[20]

Information management

Sri Lanka’s Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) was updated in 2015 and has since undergone improvements, including to correct erroneous data, and to update data based on the results of re-survey, leading to a more accurate representation of remaining contamination.[21]

In 2020, NMAC used IMSMA Next Generation, and discussed an upgrade to IMSMA Core with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).[22]

Gender and diversity

Sri Lanka reported that gender and diversity are taken into consideration during the planning, implementation, and monitoring of mine action projects, and that it disaggregated data by age and sex. In 2020, it was reported that clearance operators were increasing the ratio of female employees in their programs.[23] The HALO Trust reported that 40% of their deminers in Sri Lanka were women, many of whom were previously displaced or war widows.[24]

Risk education

Risk education management and coordination overview

Government focal points

National Mine Action Center (NMAC)

Coordination mechanisms

No formal coordination mechanism reported

Risk education standards

Risk education chapter in the National Mine Action Standards

 

Coordination

UNICEF works with NMAC to support risk education activities, which are conducted in schools through the Ministry of Education, and at the community level through local NGOs.[25]

Victim assistance

Victim assistance management and coordination overview[26]

Government focal points

The Ministry of Social Services is the focal point for matters related to persons with disabilities

The ministries of defense, education, health, and social services coordinate on issues related to persons with disabilities and victim assistance

Coordination mechanisms

None specific, though NMAC is involved in the coordination of victim assistance programs

Plans/strategies

National Disability Policy 2003

National Action Plan 2019–2021 contains two commitments related to persons with disabilities

Survivor inclusion and participation

National Action Plan amended to require the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to consult with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations

 

Coordination

The Ministry of Social Services is the lead for the disability sector. The National Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities sits under both the Ministry of Social Services and the Ministry of Social Welfare. It works to ensure, promote, and improve the rights of persons with disabilities through guidance, support, coordination, implementation, and monitoring of development activities.[27]

The ministries of health, education, and defense, and the Directorate of Rehabilitation, are also involved in work related to injuries and disabilities.[28] Coordination between the mine action sector, the National Disability Council, and the Ministry of Health needed improvement.[29] A coordination meeting convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 2021 led to an agreement to further strengthen coordination between the activities of the Ministry of Health and NMAC, to improve the referral of mine victims to services.[30]

UNICEF supported NMAC in coordinating and providing victim assistance in Sri Lanka.[31] NMAC has a designated victim assistance focal point.[32] UNICEF also supported the Ministry of Social Services to implement a national coordination mechanism for assisting children with disabilities. This coordination mechanism includes government ministries, UNICEF, and NGOs.[33]

Laws and policies

Disability legislation, Act No. 28 of 1996, addresses the access of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka to education, employment, and public places.

Sri Lanka’s National Action Plan 2019–2021 contains two commitments related to persons with disabilities. Commitment No. 8 aims to minimize the economic and social disadvantages faced by persons with disabilities, by providing disability-friendly housing to 3,200 identified low-income families by 2020. Commitment No. 9 is intended to formulate a disability rights bill, with public participation, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The goal was to have this bill enacted by parliament before the end of 2020.[34] In 2021, it was reported that a preliminary draft bill and a government policy statement had been prepared, and that a stakeholder meeting would be convened prior to submission of the final draft. Guidelines also had to be prepared to support the implementation of the new legislation.[35] Once enacted, the Bill on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will replace Act No. 28 of 1996.

In its most recent Mine Ban Treaty transparency report submitted in 2021, Sri Lanka said a multi-stakeholder workshop was held to consult on updating the National Action Plan on the Equalization of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was organized by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, with support from the Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit and the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).[36] Inclusive consultations were carried out at provincial level with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.[37] The plan was amended to require the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to consult with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in planning, executing, and monitoring public decision-making processes.[38]

Various laws, including the National Disability Policy of 2003, prohibit discrimination against any person with disabilities in employment, education, air travel, other public transport, and access to healthcare. In practice, however, discrimination occurred in employment, education, and provision of state services, including public transportation. Sri Lanka has regulations on accessibility, though accommodation for access to buildings and public transportation for persons with disabilities was rare. Children with disabilities in Sri Lanka attended school at a lower rate than other persons.[39]

Impact

Contamination

Contamination overview (as of March 2021)[40]

Landmines

12.79km² (11.44km² CHA; 1.35km² SHA)

Extent of contamination: Medium

Cluster munition remnants

Unknown

Other ERW contamination

Unknown

Note: CHA=confirmed hazardous area; SHA=suspected hazardous area; ERW=explosive remnants of war.

Landmine contamination

Mine contamination remains in Northern, Eastern, and North Central provinces. In total, 12.79km² of contaminated land covers 304 confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs) and nine suspected hazardous areas (SHAs), as of March 2021.[41] The most significant mine contamination (12.38km²) is found in Northern province, which was the scene of intense fighting during the civil war. Thirteen areas in Eastern province cover 0.31km², and three areas in North Central province cover 0.1km².[42]

The total number of CHAs and SHAs in Sri Lanka has increased slightly since 2017, as a result of development activities and the livelihood activities of resettled internally displaced persons (IDPs) leading to the identification of new SHAs.[43] A re-survey of nine districts in Northern, Eastern, and North Central provinces was completed in 2017.[44] Re-survey is continuing across these provinces, in order to inform the strategy and workplan to completion.[45]

Batticaloa district in Eastern province was the first district to be declared free of landmines in June 2017.[46]

The SLA used both antipersonnel and antivehicle mines during the civil war, with all use said to have been recorded.[47] Operators in Sri Lanka have encountered a wide range of LTTE devices, including antipersonnel landmines with anti-tilt and anti-lift mechanisms. Tripwire-activated Claymore-type mines and, to a lesser extent, antivehicle mines, were also used by LTTE, along with a number of improvised devices.[48]

It is estimated that 80% of those living in contaminated rural areas in northern Sri Lanka are farmers or fishermen, who rely directly on the land to survive. Mine contamination is therefore increasing disparities in wealth and development between the north and south of the country.[49]

Cluster munition remnants contamination

Since 2009, three demining organizations have reported clearing cluster munition remnants in Sri Lanka, including unexploded submunitions, from at least six different sites in the north of the country.[50] A 2016 media report quoted an operator, who said it could not be determined who used the cluster munitions or when, but that they could have been used “any time within the last three decades.”[51] Sri Lanka’s initial Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report submitted in 2019, and its subsequent 2020 Article 7 report, stated that there was no cluster munition contamination.[52]

ERW contamination

Sri Lanka remains contaminated with numerous types of ERW, including unexploded air-dropped bombs, artillery shells and missiles, mortar bombs, hand-held antitank projectiles, rifle grenades, and hand grenades. Large caches of abandoned explosive ordnance also exist, particularly in the north.[53] These are being cleared concurrently to the remaining minefields.[54]

Casualties

Casualties overview[55]

Casualties

All known mine/ERW casualties (from 1999 to 2020)

1,197 (144 killed, 581 injured, 472 unknown)

 

Casualties in 2020

Annual total

2 (decrease from 10 in 2019)

 

Survival outcome

2 injured

Device type causing casualties

2 unspecified mine type

Civilian status

1 civilian, 1 deminer

Age and gender

2 adults (1 man, 1 woman)

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war.

Casualties in 2020: details

Two mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Sri Lanka in 2020—a decrease from the 10 casualties recorded in 2019. The IMSMA database reported that a man was injured in an incident in Jaffna district, Northern province.[56] A female deminer working for the HALO Trust was also injured in an accident in Kilinochchi, Northern province, in July 2020.[57]

From 1999 until the end of 2020, the Monitor identified 1,197 mine/ERW casualties in Sri Lanka (144 killed, 581 injured, 472 survival outcome unknown). In April 2010, it was reported that since the 1980s, there had been a total of 21,993 mine casualties in Sri Lanka—including 1,419 civilian returnees; 3,770 recorded amputees among the armed forces, police, and civil defense forces; and 16,804 mine casualties among LTTE members.[58] In 2015, UNICEF reported that 22,177 casualties had been recorded since the 1980s, including 1,603 civilians. From 2006–2009, accurate casualty information was difficult to access amid ongoing conflict, resulting in under-reporting.[59] NMAC maintains an IMSMA database of mine/ERW victims in Sri Lanka, and reported 1,716 casualties since 1995 including two casualties in Mullaitivu, Northern province, in the first quarter of 2021.[60]

No cluster munition casualties have been recorded in Sri Lanka by the Monitor. The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) published a report in 2019, including casualties and injuries from what were described as cluster munitions. However, the weapon was reported with the designation OFAB 500 ShR—a parachute-retarded aerial bomb with multiple warheads which, due to its size and weight, does not meet the Convention on Cluster Munitions definition of a cluster munition.[61] This designation was consistent with reporting and images from use of OFAB 500 ShR in 2008.[62]

In January 2020, NMAC began a survey to identify mine/ERW victims in Northern, Eastern, and North Central provinces. It had completed the survey in five districts as of the end of March 2021, identifying 403 victims. NMAC reported that the survey was collecting information on the gender, age, disabilities, and needs of mine/ERW victims.[63]

Addressing the Impact

Mine action

Clearance operators[64]

National

Sri Lankan Army-Humanitarian Demining Unit (SLA-HDU)

Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH), since 2010

Skavita Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP), working as a national subcontractor of DASH

International

The HALO Trust, since 2002

Mines Advisory Group (MAG), since 2002

 

Clearance

Land release overview[65]

Landmine clearance in 2020

4.59km² minefield clearance, 2.1km² battle area clearance

 

Total land released: 6.69km2

Landmines destroyed in 2020

43,157 antipersonnel mines, 45 antivehicle mines

Landmine clearance in 2016-2020

2016: 2.35km²

2017: 3.25km²

2018: 3.46km²

2019: 2.88km²

2020: 4.59km²

 

Total: 16.53km²

Other ordnance destroyed in 2020

5,430 ERW; 36,666 small arms and ammunition

Progress

Sri Lanka reported that insufficient international funding and new contamination identified in 2019, meant that completion of clearance was pushed beyond 2020 and was expected by 2025

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war.

Land release: landmines

In 2020, Sri Lanka reported releasing a total land area of 6.69km², of which 4.59km² was released through the clearance of minefields and 2.1km² through battle area clearance. Since humanitarian mine clearance operations began in 2002 up to 31 March 2021, Sri Lanka has reported releasing 1,295.06km², of which 142.38km² was released through clearance.[66]

From 1 January to 31 March 2021, Sri Lanka reported having released 0.67km², of which 0.66km² was through mine clearance and 0.1km2 through battle area clearance.[67]

NMAC commenced re-survey in Northern, Eastern, and North Central provinces in 2020, in order to identify the exact remaining CHAs and inform a realistic timeline to complete clearance.[68]

The HALO Trust undertook survey and clearance operations in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu districts in 2020. Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) also had seven clearance teams operating in these districts. Mines Advisory Group (MAG) focused on survey of newly accessible areas and clearance in Mannar, Trincomalee, and Vavuniya districts.[69]

Residual hazards

Sri Lanka anticipates that the Sri Lankan Army-Humanitarian Demining Unit (SLA-HDU) will be able to manage longer-term residual contamination, in particular a demining unit established at the SLA Engineering Brigade Headquarters at Boo-Oya, in Vauniya district, Northern province. Mine action operations, including risk education and management of the national IMSMA database, will be continued by the SLA-HDU.[70]

In 2020, NMAC initiated a survey, with the support of MAG, to inform a demobilization plan and livelihood options for deminers, in preparation for the downscaling of the demining program.[71]

Risk education

Risk education operators[72]

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Governmental

National Mine Action Center (NMAC)

Coordination of risk education activities, with support of UNICEF

Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO)

Risk education for district and local officials

National Police

Provision of risk education messages, and prevention of illegal risk-taking activities

Ministry of Education

Oversees the inclusion of risk education into the school curriculum in Northern and Eastern provinces

National

Local NGOs

Conduct risk education under coordination of NMAC

International

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Supports risk education activities of NGOs and the Ministry of Education

Note: NGO=non-governmental organization.

In 2020, UNICEF provided risk education messages to 2,683 children (1,511 boys and 1,172 girls) in Sri Lanka. UNICEF reached nine children with disabilities, and provided training to 122 people to deliver risk education.[73]

From January 2009 to 31 March 2021, Sri Lanka reported that approximately 562,500 community members received risk education, though the data was not disaggregated by age or sex.[74]

Target groups

NMAC has reported that people from southern Sri Lanka who visit the north and east are at higher risk from mines/ERW, due to a lack of knowledge on contamination. Specific livelihood activities such as scrap metal collection, firewood collection, and farming were also considered high risk.[75]

In 2020, risk education was provided to forest officers in all districts of Northern province. They are considered a high-risk group due to their work in forested and potentially mined areas. Several new hazardous areas were reported following risk education sessions with forest officers.[76]

Resettled civilians were targeted to raise awareness of the risk of mines and ERW during livelihood activities, and to ensure suspicious objects or areas were reported. Due to a number of mine/ERW incidents resulting from new development projects in conflict-affected districts, illegal explosives harvesting, and sand mining, risk education was provided to people involved in those activities in Sri Lanka. Cooperation was established with the National Police and security forces to control the illegal harvesting of explosives.[77] In 2020, RMAO conducted risk education sessions with police officers in Northern province, which supported explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) reporting and implementation of the law regarding explosives harvesting.[78]

Delivery methods

Age-appropriate risk education was incorporated into the school curriculum under “Life Skills and Civic Education” in Northern and Eastern provinces in 2011, with UNICEF support.[79] UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education to incorporate lessons in schools for grades 6 to 9, and to train teachers.[80]

Community liaison teams from several national risk education organizations—including Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar, People Vision, the Rural Development Foundation, Sarvodaya, and Social Organizations Networking for Development (SOND)—also conduct risk education in Sri Lanka.[81] Women and schoolgirls work with these organizations to reach out to families and act as peer group influencers.[82]

RMAO provides risk education in schools in high-risk areas and through District Secretariat staff, Divisional Secretaries, Grama Niladari Officers (village administrators), government departments, and police officers. Hazardous areas are recorded and spot tasks are generated through these target groups, as they have greater risk education knowledge.[83]

Major developments in 2020

NMAC does not usually permit international NGOs to deliver risk education in Sri Lanka,[84] but in 2020 the government requested them to provide risk education in their operational areas in 2021.[85]

NMAC reported that a lack of funding for both local and international organizations had reduced the frequency of risk education activities in Sri Lanka in 2020.[86] Risk education activities planned by RMAO were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, though resumed in 2021 with the support of demining operators.[87]

Marking

Areas known or suspected to contain antipersonnel mines in Sri Lanka have all been prominently marked with signs and signboards, displayed in the Sinhala, Tamil, and English languages. Signs are maintained and replaced on a regular basis.[88]

Victim assistance

Victim assistance operators[89]

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity

Governmental

Ministry of Social Services

Oversees matters related to persons with disabilities

Ranaviru Sevana Rehabilitation Centre (RSRC)

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

National

Jaffna Jaipur Centre for Disability Rehabilitation (JJCDR)

Rehabilitation services, prosthetics, and psychosocial support

Social Organizations Networking for Development (SOND)

Emergency assistance and economic assistance to new survivors

Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar

Prosthetics and mobility devices

International

Meththa Foundation

Prosthetics and mobility devices

Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Rehabilitation and disability inclusion projects

 

Needs assessment

The Ministry of Health established and rolled out an injury surveillance system at 14 hospitals in 2017. By 2019, this had expanded to 126 hospitals. NMAC started a needs assessment survey in 2020 to identify mine/ERW victims in Northern, Eastern, and North Central provinces, with survey in Jaffna and Killinochchi Districts ongoing.[90]

Medical care and rehabilitation

Sri Lanka reported significant improvements in medical care, and that people with traumatic lower limb injuries from mines/ERW received adequate services.[91]

The Jaffna Jaipur Centre for Disability Rehabilitation (JJCDR) provided prosthetics using ICRC technology, rehabilitation, and socio-economic support; and visited amputees at the government-run Jaffna Teaching Hospital for post-amputation care. JJCDR also made field visits to mine/ERW survivors, people with war-related disabilities, and other persons with disabilities, to refer them to services. JJCDR was established informally in 1987 to provide prosthetics to civilian war victims, and was officially registered in 2001. In September 2020, a special discussion was held at JJCDR on its sustainability, and a “dire need” for follow-up on future resourcing was recognized.[92]

Sri Lanka reported five rehabilitation hospitals as operational and assisting mine/ERW survivors, in Digana, Jayanthipura, Kandagolla, Maliban, and Ragama. The Ragama hospital functions as a national hospital, while the other four function at the provincial level.[93] National and international NGOs were involved in provision of rehabilitation services in the north and east of the country.[94]

The Jaffna Teaching Hospital is the only hospital in the province run by the central government in Colombo. In July 2019, the Sabah Al Ahmad Center for Physical Rehabilitation was opened at the hospital. The project was funded by the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, at the request of the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka.[95]

Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar works directly with NMAC to provide victim assistance services. It provides prosthetics and mobility devices at the Mannar Rehabilitation Center and runs an outreach program covering areas including Kilinochchi, Mullaithievu, and Puttalam.[96] In 2020, it reported supporting 264 beneficiaries with prosthetics, orthotics, and assistive devices.[97]

The government-run Ranaviru Sevana Rehabilitation Centre provides physical rehabilitation, social support, economic inclusion, and other assistance to disabled veterans.[98]

Sri Lanka reported several initiatives to improve the rehabilitation services, including the adoption of the Essential Service Package of Sri Lanka, National Guidelines on Rehabilitation Services, and the adaptation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Assistive Devices List to the Sri Lanka context.[99]

The Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported the WHO and Results for Development (R4D) to strengthen and integrate rehabilitation services into Sri Lanka’s existing healthcare systems.[100]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

There is a general absence of efforts to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities—including mine/ERW survivors—to live independently and be included in communities, particularly in rural areas.[101] NMAC reported allocating 18 million Sri Lankan rupees (approximately US$90,000) in 2021 to provide immediate assistance to mine/ERW victims, including livelihood assistance, water and sanitation facilities, prosthetics, orthotics, and assistive devices.[102]

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) supported an inclusive livelihood project in 2020 for vulnerable people including women, IDPs, returnees, and persons with disabilities, in Central and Uva provinces.[103]

Sri Lanka reported that mental health services provided by a consultant psychiatrist, Mental Health Medical Officer, and a Community Support Officer were available across Northern province.[104] A mental health network functioned across all national hospitals, and basic counselling services were available and being further developed through training field-level health staff.[105] Psychiatric social workers were based in hospitals, with responsibility for patient support following hospital release, while community support officers were based in the District Secretariat Office.[106]

A National Mental Health Strategy, which drew on the experiences of mine/ERW survivors, was in the process of being finalized by the Ministry of Health in 2020.[107]



[1] 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.

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

[3] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 3. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[4] Madeline Keck, “Sri Lanka Set to Be Landmine-Free by 2025 Thanks to New Australian Aid Injection,” Global Citizen, 25 August 2020.

[5] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 18.

[6] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 13.

[7] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 33

[8] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), pp. 15–16.

[9] Vidya Abhayagunawardena and Sindhu Ratnarajan, “Sri Lanka Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Victim Assistance (VA),” in Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL),“Sri Lanka’s Mine Action Story: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities,” 2019, p. 36.

[10] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 23.

[11] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 3; and Madeleine Keck, “Sri Lanka Set to Be Landmine-Free by 2025 Thanks to New Australian Aid Injection,” Global Citizen, 25 August 2020.

[12] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 3.

[13] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 13.

[14] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 17.

[15] Ministry of Economic Development, “The National Strategy for Mine Action in Sri Lanka,” September 2010, p. 9; and email from Sri Mallikarachchi, Senior Information Management System for Mine Action (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, and responsibility for the national mine action program was assigned to the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs. See, “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 10.

[16] Email from Amanthi Wickramasinghe, Programme Officer, Peace and Recovery, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 11 March 2011.

[17]Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 9. The strategy 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.”

[18] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 18.

[19] Ibid., p. 3.

[20] Ibid., p. 12.

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

[22] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 10.

[23] Ibid., p. 19.

[24] HALO Trust, “Where We Work: Sri Lanka,” undated.

[25] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 22.

[26] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 27; Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 15; and Nillasi Liyanage, “Women In The Context Of Post-War Sri Lanka’s Mine Action,” Colombo Telegraph, 4 April 2019.

[27] See, Sahanaya Resource and Information Center (SRIC), “Centres for physically challenged,” undated.

[28] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 26.

[29] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 20.

[30] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 26.

[31] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 15.

[32] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 23.

[33] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 15.

[34] Open Government Partnership, “Sri Lanka Action Plan 2019–2021,” 3 April 2019, pp. 3 and 18.

[35] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 24.

[36] Ibid., p. 27.

[37] Ibid., p. 23.

[38] Ibid., p. 27.

[39] United States (US) Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Sri Lanka,” 30 March 2021, p. 28.

[40] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 11. Sri Lanka provides a total contamination figure of 12.85km² on p. 11 of its Article 7 Report. However, this figure is incorrect, given the total figures for CHA and SHA across the three provinces provided by Sri Lanka.

[41] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 11.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 12.

[44] Ibid., p. 10.

[45] Ibid., p. 18.

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

[47] Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 6; and interview with Rob Syfret, Operations Manager, HALO Trust, in Kilinochchi, 12 September 2016.

[48] Email from Valon Kumnova, HALO Trust, 11 April 2014; and “Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy 2016–2020,” May 2016, p. 6. The improvised devices emplaced by LTTE included those designed to act as fragmentation mines, bar mines, electrical and magnetically-initiated explosive devices, and mines connected to detonating cord to mortar and artillery shells.

[49] Nicholas Muller, “Sri Lanka’s Landmine Legacy,” The Diplomat, 28 January 2020.

[50] The Guardian published photographs that showed clearance operators preparing to destroy the remnants of an RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb. It reported that the HALO Trust cleared 42 cluster munition remnants (likely submunitions) from sites near Pachchilapalli, which saw fighting between government and LTTE forces at the end of the war. The HALO Trust said it reported the clearance at the time by submitting the records to the government-run mine action center. See, Emanuel Stoakes, “Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons,” The Guardian, 26 June 2016. See also, Emanuel Stoakes, “Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka’s civil war, leaked photos suggest,” The Guardian, 20 June 2016.

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

[52] Sri Lanka Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 26 February 2019; and Sri Lanka Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019). See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.

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

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

[55] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), pp. 30–31. The Monitor also conducted an analysis of media reports during 2020, to supplement figures provided by NMAC in Sri Lanka’s Article 7 Report.

[56] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 30

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

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

[60] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 30. On p. 24 of the Article 7 report, Sri Lanka reports a slightly different total, of 1,690 casualties since 1995.

[63] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 24.

[64] Ibid., pp. 12 and 14.

[65] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), pp. 13 and 14; and Madeleine Keck, “Sri Lanka Set to Be Landmine-Free by 2025 Thanks to New Australian Aid Injection,” Global Citizen, 25 August 2020. For 2016–2017 clearance data, see previous Landmine Monitor reports. Sri Lanka presented cumulative totals of clearance from 2002–2019 in its 2018 and 2019 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports. The clearance figures for 2018 and 2019 presented in the table are based on the Monitor’s calculation of the difference between these totals.

[66] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), pp. 12–13.

[67] Ibid., p. 15.

[68] Ibid., p. 18.

[69] US Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), “To Walk the Earth in Safety: January–December 2020,” April 2021, p. 51.

[70] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 19.

[71] Ibid., p. 20.

[72] Ibid., pp. 13 and 15; and UNICEF, “Mine Action 2020: Summary of Results,” May 2021.

[73] UNICEF, “Mine Action 2020: Summary of Results,” May 2021.

[74] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 32.

[75] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 22.

[76] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 33.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 13; and Sebastian Kasack and Mihlar Mohamed, “Mine Risk Education: A Proven Life-Saver in Post-War Sri Lanka,” in SLCBL,“Sri Lanka’s Mine Action Story: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities,”2019, p. 49.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Nillasi Liyanage, “Women In The Context Of Post-War Sri Lanka’s Mine Action,” Colombo Telegraph, 4 April 2019.

[83] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 32.

[84] Email from Valentina Stivanello, Country Director, MAG Sri Lanka, 15 May 2020.

[85] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 33; and email from Lousica Gajendiran, Community Liaison Manager, MAG Sri Lanka, 15 March 2021.

[86] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 32.

[87] Ibid., p. 33.

[88] Ibid., p. 18.

[89] Ibid., pp. 23–27; Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 16; Manohari Katugampala, “Getting them on their feet,” Daily News, 9 December 2020; and Vidya Abhayagunawardena and Sindhu Ratnarajan, “Sri Lanka Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Victim Assistance (VA),” in SLCBL, “Sri Lanka’s Mine Action Story: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities,” 2019, p. 36. See also, Jaffna Jaipur Centre for Disability Rehabilitation website; SOND website; Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar website;Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar, “Annual Report 2020,” 14 December 2020; Meththa Foundation website; HI, “Sri Lanka,” undated.

[90] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 23.

[91] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 18.

[92] JJCDR, “Discussion on Sustainability,” 25 September 2020.

[93] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 25.

[94] Ibid.

[95]Rajitha declares open Kuwait Red Crescent Rehabilitation Centre at Jaffna Teaching Hospital,” Omlanka, 25 July 2019; “Kuwait sets up physical rehabilitation center in Sri Lanka,” Kuwait News Agency, 25 July 2019; and Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2019), p. 18.

[96] See, Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar website; and Vidya Abhayagunawardena and Sindhu Ratnarajan, “Sri Lanka Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Victim Assistance (VA),” in SLCBL, “Sri Lanka’s Mine Action Story: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities,” 2019, p. 36.

[97] Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar, “Annual Report 2020,” 14 December 2020.

[98] Manohari Katugampala, “Getting them on their feet,” Daily News, 9 December 2020.

[99] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 25.

[100] US Department of State, PM/WRA, “To Walk the Earth in Safety: January–December 2020,” April 2021, p. 51.

[101] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 20.

[102] Ibid., p. 27. Average exchange rate for 2021: US$1=SLR 199.000. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 31 August 2021.

[103] HI, “Country Card: Sri Lanka,” updated September 2020.

[104] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 26.

[105] Ibid.

[106] Ibid.

[107] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2020), p. 23.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 17 November 2021

Policy

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 13 December 2017, and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 June 2018.

Sri Lanka reported that it is in the process of creating implementation legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty.[1] In June 2021, Sri Lanka reported that “Cabinet approval was obtained in September 2020 to proceed with the draft of the prohibition of Anti-Personal Mines Bill.” It noted that several drafts of the bill had been circulated between the Department of Legal Draftsman, the Ministry of Justice, and the Attorney General’s Department. As of April 2021, the bill was with the Department of Legal Draftsman to incorporate all input, after which the Attorney General will place it before the Cabinet of Ministers.[2]

In November 2018, Sri Lanka provided an initial Article 7 report, which provided information “as of 28 November 2018.” Sri Lanka provided updated Article 7 transparency reports in 2019, 2020, and 2021.[3] Previously, Sri Lanka submitted a voluntary Article 7 report in 2005.

Sri Lanka participated in the Mine Ban Treaty Eighteenth Meeting of States Parties, held virtually in November 2020, where it made a statement on clearance. Sri Lanka will serve on the Committee on Article 5 Implementation until the end of the Twentieth Meeting of the States Parties. Sri Lanka participated in the Fourth Review Conference in Oslo in November 2019, where it made statements in the High-Level segment, and during sessions on victim assistance and international cooperation and assistance. Sri Lanka also participated in the virtual intersessional meetings in June–July 2020.

Sri Lanka is a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is also party to 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 landmines. Sri Lanka’s declared stockpile of antipersonnel landmines includes mines of Belgian, Chinese, Italian (or Singaporean), and Pakistani origin, as well as unknown mine types.[4]

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, Sri Lanka 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,” adding that mined areas are “marked accordingly…and relevant records systematically maintained.”[5] Earlier in 2009, Brigadier Lasantha Wickramasuriya acknowledged that the Sri Lanka Army had used antipersonnel mines in the past, including non-detectable Belgian, Chinese, and Italian mines, as well as bounding and fragmentation mines of Pakistani, Portuguese, and United States (US) manufacture.[6]

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 across the north of Sri Lanka.[7] 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 antihandling features—as well as Amman 2000 MK1 and MKII antivehicle mines.[8]

Between 1987–1990, the Indian military/peacekeeping forces also used landmines in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.[9]

Stockpiling and destruction

Sri Lanka initially declared a significant stockpile of 77,865 antipersonnel mines. Its deadline for stockpile destruction was 1 June 2022.[10]

Stockpiled antipersonnel mines initially declared by Sri Lanka[11]

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

Total

77,865

 

In its June 2021 Article 7 report, Sri Lanka declared the destruction of 106,113 antipersonnel mines since its previous report, submitted in 2020.[12] This is shown in the following table.

Stockpiled antipersonnel mines destroyed by Sri Lanka (as of June 2021)

Mine Type

Quantity destroyed

Quantity remaining

P4MK I

438

0

P4MK II

54,993

11,840

Type 72

256

0

VS50

210

0

Type 1969

52

0

PRB 409

4

0

NEL (POF)

48,792

0

NEL (CH)

1,368

0

Total

106,113

11,840

 

Sri Lanka announced in October 2021 that it had completed its obligation to destroy its stockpile during the late summer of 2021.[13] The remaining 11,840 antipersonnel landmines were destroyed in Kilinochchi district, Northern province, well in advance of its deadline.[14]

Retention

In its initial Article 7 report, Sri Lanka declared the retention of 21,153 antipersonnel landmines. However, in June 2021, Sri Lanka reported that the quantity retained for training had decreased to 16,718 as a result of mines being consumed by its training program.[15]

Sri Lanka states that its retained antipersonnel mines “are used for training of mine detection dogs, training and testing on mechanical assets and equipment used in de-mining activities and testing de-miners PPE [personal protective equipment] in consideration of blast effects produced by different types of antipersonnel mines.” Sri Lanka also reported that its army, navy, air force, and the police use retained mines in training programs at their own facilities, but added that “part of retained mines are used in training which are conducted by the Institute of Peacekeeping Support Operations in Sri Lanka (IPSOT-SL), for the benefit of the SLA [Sri Lanka Army] troops in peacekeeping missions.”[16]

Antipersonnel mines retained by Sri Lanka (as of June 2021)

Type

Quantity retained

Mines consumed during training

P4MK I

1,778

759

P4MK II

12,619

210

Type 72

1,078

256

VS50

998

210

Type 1969

202

52

PRB 409

43

4

P4MK 2

0

2,944

Total

16,718

4,435

 

This represents the largest number of landmines currently retained by any State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Sri Lanka’s most recent Article 7 report, submitted in June 2021, states that the mines will be retained for training by the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force, Navy, and the police.



[1] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, April 2019. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database. 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.” Sri Lanka previously reported that the draft legislation was being reviewed by “key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Defence,” prior to being submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers for final approval. See, Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, November 2018, Form A.

[2] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021, Form A.

[3] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, April 2019; Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, (undated, contains information for both 2019 and 2020); and Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021.

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

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

[6] Presentation on Humanitarian Demining by Brig. Lasantha Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka Army, 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 (Pakistani antipersonnel mine); M72 (Chinese antipersonnel mine); VS-50 (Italian antipersonnel mine); M16A1 (US bounding antipersonnel mine, however the photograph shows what appears to be a P7 MK 1 Pakistani or PRBM966 Portuguese bounding mine); PRB 415 (photograph shows what appears to be an NR 409 Belgian antipersonnel mine); PRB 413 (photograph shows what appears to be a Portuguese M421 antipersonnel mine); M15 and ND MK1 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). See, Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report, 13 June 2005, Forms C and H. 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 mines (US). See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, October 2004), p. 1,118; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2005: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2005,) p. 881.

[7] See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), p. 14.

[8] Presentation on Humanitarian Demining by Brig. Lasantha Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka Army, Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia, 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. Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Voluntary Article 7 Report, 13 June 2005, Form H. See also, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2008), p. 1017. Maj. Mangala Balasuriya of the Sri Lanka Army’s Field Engineering Brigade stated that during the last stages of the war they encountered a modified antipersonnel landmine that used white phosphorus. Monitor telephone interview with Maj. Mangala Herath, Field Engineering Brigade, Sri Lanka Army, 25 June 2009.

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

[10] In November 2018, Sri Lanka announced that physical destruction of its stockpile had already started and that the destruction of 57,033 antipersonnel mines had occurred prior to November 2018. Sri Lanka’s total stockpile prior to destruction commencing was 134,898 antipersonnel mines, including mines intended to be retained for training and research. Sri Lanka also stated its intent to complete stockpile destruction by the end of 2020. See, Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, November 2018, Form B. In its June 2021 Article 7 report, Sri Lanka declared a remaining stockpile of 11,840 antipersonnel landmines and projected their destruction would be complete in July 2021. See, Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021, Section 3, Table 2.

[11] The total number of P4MK 2 mines combines 3,912 reported by the Air Force and 693 reported by the police.

[12] This figure appears to include mines consumed in training. There is a discrepancy of 227 mines in the totals reported in Sri Lanka’s June 2021 Article 7 report and its initial Article 7 report, submitted in 2018.

[13] In its initial Article 7 report, submitted on 28 November 2018, Sri Lanka declared a stockpile of 77,865 antipersonnel mines. See also, Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021, Section 3, Table 2.

[14] Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit (ISU) press release, “Nearly 12,000 landmines destroyed by Sri Lanka under the Mine Ban Convention,” 1 October 2021.

[15] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021, Sections 3 and 4. The report states, “The quantity has decreased to 16,718 as a result of being used for training of mine detection dogs, training and testing on mechanical assets and equipment used in de-mining activities.”

[16] Sri Lanka Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, June 2021, Sections 3 and 4.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 16 November 2020

In 2019, international contributions from nine states and the European Union (EU) supporting clearance and risk education activities in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka totaled US$15 million; which represents an increase of more than $7 million (105%) compared to 2018.[1]

Five donors contributed more than US$2 million each: the EU, Japan, the United States (US), Germany, and Norway. Sri Lanka did not receive international support for victim assistance in 2019. Instead, all funds were allocated to capacity-building, clearance, and risk education.

Sri Lanka has never reported its financial contribution to its mine action program. However, in a speech on the 2012 budget, then-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 $42 million).[2]

International contributions: 2019[3]

Donor

Sector

Amount (national currency)

Amount

(US$)

EU

Clearance

€2,500,000

2,798,500

Japan

Clearance

¥276,068,402

2,532,273

US

Clearance and risk education

$2,500,000

2,500,000

Germany

Clearance

€2,000,000

2,238,800

Norway

Clearance and risk education

NOK20,000,000

2,272,701

United Kingdom

Clearance

£1,480,893

1,890,804

Australia

Clearance

A$450,000

312,840

Sweden

Clearance

SEK2,169,953

229,372

Switzerland

Clearance

CHF160,000

161,014

Canada

Clearance and risk education

C$94,901

71,521

Total

 

N/A

15,007,825

Note: N/A=not applicable.

Since 2015, international contributions to mine action in Sri Lanka have totaled over $41 million, and averaged some $8.2 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 $15 million in 2019.

Summary of contributions: 2015–2019[4]

Year

Amount

(US$)

2019

15,007,825

2018

7,280,458

2017

8,516,563

2016

4,583,251

2015

5,614,583

Total

41,002,680



[1] Australia Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 3 January 2020; Canada Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 11 June 2020; email from Frank Meeussen, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service, 30 August 2020; Germany Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 16 March 2020; Japan Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 March 2020; email from Ingrid Schøyen, Senior Advisor, Humanitarian Affairs, Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 5 June 2020; email from Kajsa Aulin, Assistant Health Affairs and Disarmament, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in Geneva, 24 September 2020; Switzerland Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 28 April 2020; United Kingdom Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2020; and US Department of State Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), “To Walk the Earth in Safety 2019,” 2 April 2020.

[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 rates for 2019: A$1=US$0.6952; €1=US$1.1194; NOK8.8001=US$1; C$1.3269=US$1; ¥109.02=US$1; SEK9.4604=US$1; CHF0.9937=US$1; £1=US$1.2768. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2020.

[4] See previous Monitor reports.