03 March 2016

India, Nepal and Pakistan are the only South Asian countries outside the treaty

SL Ambassador Pledgeconf 2 March ISU

Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva H.E. Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha, 2 March 2016 @MBT-ISU

On 2 March 2016 Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva H.E. Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha announced that the Sri Lankan cabinet of ministers has approved accession to the Mine Ban Treaty.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) congratulates Sri Lanka and looks forward to welcoming Sri Lanka as the 163rd State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty soon.

Sri Lanka has been heavily affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. According to the Landmine Monitor over 22,100 people have been killed or injured by landmines or explosive remnants of war over time in the country. Sri Lanka estimates that the total mine and explosive remnants of war contamination has fallen sharply, from 506km2 at the end of 2010 to about 78km2 at the end of 2014. Ambassador Aryasinha in his speech at the First International Pledging Conference for the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty on 2 March reported that to date 64km2 of mine fields remains contaminated.

Sri Lanka has developed a plan for the period of 2016 to 2020 aiming to make the country ‘mine threat free’ by the year 2020. The plan will be officially launched on 4 April, the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The Mine Ban Treaty requires the clearance of all contaminated areas, including those that do not pose an immediate threat to populations.

“After years of campaigning, I am delighted that Sri Lanka has decided to join the international community in ridding the world of landmines. Accession to the Mine Ban Treaty reconnects Sri Lanka to the world map of disarmament. Sri Lanka should also join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and other disarmament regimes”, said Vidya Abhayagunawardena, Coordinator of the Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines.

Vidya A

Vidya Abhayagunawardena, 27/2/2014 © Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines

With Sri Lanka’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, India, Nepal and Pakistan are the only countries in South Asia that remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty, while all the three countries have been affected by landmines. 

Sri Lanka also announced that it started consultations with a view to join Protocol V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons.