Sri Lanka

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 23 October 2017

UPDATE: On 13 December 2017, Sri Lanka acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty, which will enter into force for it on 1 June 2018. Sri Lanka is the 163rd State Party to the Treaty. This profile will be more fully updated in the future.



The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.[1]

In December 2015, at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka stated, “Following the change of government since January 2015 elections there is a paradigm shift in the policy of the government. Presently my government is considering seriously to accede to the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty as a matter of priority. There are positive signals that my government may decide to be a state party within the course of the next year. The government wants to see Sri Lanka again a committed member of the International Community to promote disarmament and humanitarian mine action.”[2]

On 2 March 2016, at the pledging conference for Mine Ban Treaty organized by the Chilean Presidency, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka announced that Sri Lanka would accede to the convention. He stated that the decision had been taken earlier that day by the Cabinet in Colombo.[3]

In June 2017, Sri Lanka stated that, “The Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka, in March 2016, had approved Sri Lanka’s accession to the Ottawa Convention and we are presently working on domestic technical and other related processes required for Sri Lanka’s accession.”[4]

The Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) sent delegations to meet with key stakeholders in government during 2017 to urge near-term accession to the MBT. On 10 September 2017 the SLCBL urged, by letter, that President Maitripala Sirisena deliver Sri Lanka's accession to the Mine Ban Treaty while in New York to attend the UN's 72nd General Assembly meeting. 

SLCBL members also had meetings with the heads of other non-stakeholder Ministries and with members of parliament throughout the year to request their support for Sri Lanka's accession. Previously, in August 2016, the SLCBL mobilized a national petition requesting the government accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. The petition was signed by many key former civil servants, academic professors, business owners, and civil society activists. The petition was presented to Sirisena, on 25 August 2016. Also in August 2016, the SLCBL lobbied the Secretariat of the Reconciliation Task Force to request the government accede.

Sri Lanka participated, as an observer, in the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago, Chile in November – December 2016, as well as the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2017 in Geneva. Previously, Sri Lanka submitted a voluntary Article 7 report in 2005. It has not subsequently updated it to include information on its stockpile.

Sri Lanka voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 71/34 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty on 5 December 2016, as it has for every annual pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996.

Sri Lanka is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, but has not submitted its annual Article 13 report during the past four years.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

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.

There is no evidence that the government of Sri Lanka has ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. It has a stockpile, but its current size and composition are not known.

In April 2009, Brigadier Lasantha Wickramasuriya of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) acknowledged that the army had used antipersonnel mines in the past. He said the army had used non-detectable Belgian, Chinese, and Italian mines, as well as bounding and fragmentation mines of Pakistani, Portuguese, and United States (US) manufacture.[5] 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.[6]

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]

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.[8]

[1] In the past, the government stated that Sri Lanka’s accession was dependent on progress in the peace process and on an agreement to ban landmines by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The conflict in Sri Lanka ended on 20 May 2009.

[2] Statement by Amb. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Session on Universalization, Geneva, 1 December 2015.

[3] Press Release, “Sri Lanka soon to be the 163rd State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention,” Implementation Support Unit, Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpile, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.

[4] Statement by Sri Lanka, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Session on Universalization, Geneva, 8-9 June 2017.

[5] Presentation on Humanitarian Demining by Brig. Lasantha Wickramasuriya, SLA, Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia, 2 April 2009. The presentation included a section titled “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.

[6] 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.

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

[8] 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.