The Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) congratulates the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) on their 30th and 25th Anniversaries this year. The SLCBL commends them for their tireless efforts towards creating a world free of the use, suffering and casualties of anti-personnel mines. 

On the 16th December, the SLCBL travelled to the operational areas of The Halo Trust and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) as they celebrate their 20th work Anniversary in Sri Lanka. The HALO Trust and MAG are key operators involved in mine clearance and completion in Sri Lanka. Further, SLCBL thanks them for their work in making Sri Lanka the first mine-free nation in Asia, before 2028.







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Today, the Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD) engaged in a discussion with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the "Way Forward for Sri Lanka's Disarmament Sector for 2022/2023" at the Ministry. The discussion was broadly based on improving the country's human security, which will eventually benefit its national security, human rights, non-aligned foreign policy, and becoming a soft-power in the South Asian region. On many occasions in the past, Sri Lanka has been recognized as a “Champion of Disarmament”. 

At the discussion, the FDD urged Sri Lanka to become party to and ratify the Total Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); as well as create a local regulation to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and the UN  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It was also highlighted that Sri Lanka needs to re-engage with the UN Programe of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UN PoA). Continued support from the Government on prohibition of autonomous weapons and submitting relevant documents on the CCM to the CCM Secretariat was also encouraged. 

The FDD also handed over a copy of a 2008 report published by the National Commission Against Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms (NCAPISA) to the Ministry and stressed the importance of re-establishment of the NCAPISA which was dismantled since 2009.  

Click the link below to access the key discussion points with the Ministry today. 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/1FHqZUH3OmSsBecYmdlTbjWj3s3ZawK-g/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msword

Today, the Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD) participated in a meeting organized by the Ministry of Justice on finalizing the Draft Bill on Disability Rights. Sri Lanka signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on the 30th of March 2007, and ratified the same on the 8th of February 2016. At today's discussion, all the parties agreed that two draft documents by the Ministry of Social Services and Disability Organizations on the Draft Bill should amalgamated into one document and presented at the next meeting on the 9th of November. 

During the discussion, FDD stressed the importance of mentioning in the introduction section of the Draft Bill that "This national law has been developed to domesticate the UN CRPD, Child Rights Convention (CRC) as well as International Humanitarian Law (IHL), especially the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC). 

Senior Officials of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Social Services, Presidential Secretariat, Attorney General's Department, Legal Draftsman's Department and Disability Organizations participated in today’s meeting. The meeting was chaired by Member of Parliament Ajith Mannaperuma who was appointed by the Minister of Justice to this Committee. The FDD is hopeful that the Draft Disability Bill will be presented to Parliament soon.



Another meeting on linking the railway line to Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) was held at the Sri Lanka Railway Department Headquarters today. The Chairman and Officers of the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Ltd , Sri Lanka Railway and FDD were among the participants at today’s meeting.





Today, Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD) participated in another meeting organized by the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Ltd—on linking the railway line to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with the officials of the Railway Department, Board of Investment (BoI) and other relevant government agencies. The meeting discussed various opportunities on linking the railway line to the BIA. After the meeting, FDD visited the existing railway line near the BIA with the officials of Sri Lanka Railway. The next meeting on the matter will be held later this month.












Today, the Sri Lanka Railway Department conducted a meeting on linking the Railway to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake at the Railway Department Headquarters in Colombo. The discussion  mainly focused on starting the new connection from the BIA to the Fort Railway Station with available resources. 

The FDD pointed out that starting the project will benefit many sectors in various ways and help improve the country's overall human security. In the short term, due to the current fuel shortages in the country, transport service charges to the airport has increased significantly—which may be reduced if the train service is made available for travelling. 

The next round of discussions on the matter will take place at the Railway line located at the BIA this month. The FDD has been engaging with the Government and advocating on the matter for several years, and ongoing discussions are very positive from both parties; the Railway Department and Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Ltd on linking the railway line to the BIA. 

Today’s discussion was attended by W. A. D. S. Gunasinghe,  General Manager Railway; Gamini Seneviratne, Deputy General Manager Railway; Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Chairman, Airport and Aviation Services (participated over the phone); Renuka Weerasinghe, Airport and Aviation Services; Vidya Abhayagunawardena Coordinator, FDD and other senior officials of the Railway Department.



The youth campaigners of the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) had the opportunity to participate in the Mine Action Fellows Forum organized by the Mines Action Canada alongside the 10th Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland from 29th August to 2nd September.





As Mine Action Fellows, they were able to learn about the work of their peers at the Forum, and speak to delegations from around the world, focusing particularly on the importance of the #universalization of the Convention.

The fellows took a strong stance against the use of cluster munitions by anyone, anywhere and urged governments to join the Convention and fulfill the obligations of the Convention. The fellows delivered their statement on the 2nd September during the 10th Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) met with its youth wing today, and greeted three youth campaigners (Nimaya Dahanayake, Sinthuya Thurairaya and Adithya Ramanitharan) leaving for Switzerland to attend the Mine Action Fellows Forum during the 10th Meeting of the State Parties (10 MSP) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) from the 29th of August to the 2nd of September 2022. The 10MSP of the CCM will be held at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The previously held Mine Action Fellows Forum saw the participation of Nillasi Liyanage during the 16th MSP of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) which was held in Austria (2017) and 4th Review Conference of the MBT which was held in Norway (2019). Sinthuya Thurairaya and Sindhu Ratnarajan attended the 4th Review Conference of the MBT which was held in Norway in 2019. The Mine Action Fellows Forum is organized by the Mines Action Canada (MAC).
Front row from the left: Nimaya Dahanayake, Sinthuya Thurairaya and Adithya Ramanitharan. Back row from the left: Nillasi Liyanage, Vidya Abhayagunawardena (Coordinator SLCBL) and Sindhu Ratnarajan.

 

The Sri Lanka National Mine Action Strategy Stakeholder Workshop (for drafting 2023-2027 strategy) organized by the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC) in collaboration with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), successfully concluded on the 30th of June 2022, at the Galle Face Hotel.

The three day, interactive workshop saw different stakeholders including demining operators (Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit, The HALO Trust, MAG, DASH and SHARP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines; come together, to discuss Sri Lanka's final National Mine Action Strategy.

During the workshop, Sri Lanka's mine action story was praised as a success story, with clearance completion expected in the year 2027. During the workshop, it was brought to the attention of the participants, the importance of collaboration and dialogue between key stakeholders of the mine action community as a means of overcoming that lie ahead of Sri Lanka's journey to becoming a mine-free nation. The approved National Mine Action Strategy 2023-2027 will be launched end of this year by the Government of Sri Lanka with the support of GICHD. 









In light of the rise in incidents of gun violence across Sri Lanka, the FDD encourages Sri Lanka to become a party to the Arms Trade Treaty, and re-engage with the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA). Further, it is crucial that we amend outdated local legislation and re-establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms (NCAPISA) for coordinating the approaches related to small-arms related problems in Sri Lanka.


https://www.dailymirror.lk/recomended-news/Sri-Lankas-Al-Capone-Syndrome-threatens-human-security/277-239125?fbclid=IwAR19iLmOEDTYPEe4t2BWOEwk9m7NsgmTyEwwjcWTduFrbw3pcHD2MeXNgjA




Vidya Abhayagunawardena, Coordinator for the Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD) delivered two guest lectures on 'War Prevention Role of Science and Technology' and the 'Impact of Culture and Ethics on Science, Technology and National Security' at the National Defence College (Sri Lanka) on the 19th and 20th of April, 2022.

During the two lectures, he highlighted the importance of Sri Lanka’s accession to the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), as well as the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). He also spoke of FDD’s regional approach on disarmament matters.








 

The Sri Lankan Parliament recently passed an Act implementing the prohibition of anti-personnel mines. The Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines Act No. 3 of 2022, seeks to prohibit the use, stockpiling, production, transfer of anti-personnel mines. The text of the Act in English, Sinhala and Tamil languages is attached below. 

English: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12L3NDudCv4iELDuNP2Vq5YrYWJqU3uch/view?usp=sharing

Sinhala:https://drive.google.com/file/d/13mgfT98GgToCUqkZ-KbzZmnx-jZzu_Pr/view?usp=sharing

Tamil: https://drive.google.com/file/d/112CJNc8qzjNKQrKjvE-r6V-I8vFWlw83/view?usp=sharing

 





Today, Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) met the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) of Sri Lanka and presented a translated version (Sinhala and Tamil) of Sri Lanka's section of Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2021.  

During the discussion with the NMAC, SLCBL thanked the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) for presenting the Bill on the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) to the Parliament on the 10th of November 2021. We hope the Bill will be passed and become part of the national legislation, whereby accepted norms and provisions will be implemented in the country without delay. The SLCBL also highlighted the importance of having the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) principles incorporated into national legislation in order to implement convention norms and provisions without delay. Sri Lanka ratified the CRPD in 2016 acceded to the MBT and CCM in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

As of December 2021, 13.1.km2  of  mine-affected lands are to be cleared in Sri Lanka. The NMAC informed the SLCBL today, that subsequent to the completion of the ongoing Non-Technical Survey (NTS) in March 2022, land in need clearance may increase given the current survey statistics. Further, NMAC revealed to SLCBL, that the new Mine Action Strategy will be developed in March 2022, after the completion of NTS with the support of Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Disarmament (GICHD).   

The participants on this occasion included: Mr. V. Premachandran Deputy Director NMAC; Mr.  Mahinda Bandara Wickremasinghe Assistant Director NMAC; Mr. Rohana Jayalath IMSMA (Information Management System for Mine Action) Officer at NMAC; Mr. Vidya Abhayagunawardena Coordinator SLCBL and Ms. Nimaya Dahanayake, Youth Campaigner SLCBL. The translation work of the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor was supported by the Investing in Action, a project of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalitions. 

SLCBL will continue in its efforts to reach out to the South Asian region on advocacy on the MBT and CCM.  Since 2018, the SLCBL secretariat, the Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD)  has been advocating the ratification or accession to several Disarmament Conventions by the Regional Governments. In this regard, FDD advocated the accession to the CCM by the Governments of Maldives and Bangladesh. The successful advocacy work by the FDD, led to accession of the Maldives Government to the CCM on the 27th of September 2019. The FDD is continuously advocating the accession to the CCM by the Government of Bangladesh.