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Bangladesh, Landmine Monitor Report 2007


State Party since

1 March 2001

Treaty implementing legislation


Last Article 7 report submitted on

28 February 2007

Article 4 (stockpile destruction)

Deadline: 1 March 2005

Completed: February 2005

Article 3 (mines retained)

Initially: 12,500

At end-2006: 12,500



Mine/ERW casualties in 2006

Total: 0 (2005: 8 from ERW)

Estimated mine/ERW survivors


Availability of services in 2006


Mine Ban Policy

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 7 May 1998, ratified it on 6 September 2000, and became a State Party on 1 March 2001. Bangladesh established a National Committee to oversee implementation of the treaty in August 2001. With respect to domestic legislation, Bangladesh in February 2007 again simply reported, “Necessary implementation measures are in progress.”[1] Bangladesh submitted its sixth annual Article 7 transparency report on 28 February 2007, covering the period from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2007.[2]

Bangladesh attended the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in September 2006, as well as the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2006 and April 2007, but did not make any statements in the meetings. Bangladesh has not engaged in the discussions that States Parties have had on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1 and 2. Thus, it has not made known its views on the issues of joint military operations with states not party to the treaty, foreign stockpiling and transit of antipersonnel mines, and antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices.

Bangladesh is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. It attended the Eighth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in November 2006. Its most recent annual Amended Protocol II Article 13 report covers the period February 2005 to January 2006; the report itself is dated February 2006, but the official UN date of submission is 26 October 2006.

Production, Transfer, Use and Stockpiling

Bangladesh has stated that it has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines, and has never used them within the country or along its borders.[3] Bangladesh completed destruction of 189,227 stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in February 2005.[4]

Several political organizations with militant wings, as well as Islamist militant groups, have made and used improvised explosive devices (IEDs), sometimes resulting in civilian casualties.[5] However, there have been no known reports of these groups manufacturing or using victim-activated devices functioning as antipersonnel mines.

Mines Retained for Research and Training

In its February 2007 Article 7 report Bangladesh stated that it was retaining 12,500 antipersonnel mines under Article 3 of the treaty.[6] While it had previously reported a total of 14,999, the number was in fact unchanged, since Bangladesh explained that it was no longer counting 2,499 M18A1 Iranian Claymore mines.[7] Bangladesh has not described what steps it has taken to ensure that these Claymore mines can only be used in command-detonated mode, as permitted by the Mine Ban Treaty.

The 12,500 retained is the fourth highest number among States Parties. Bangladesh has described it as the “minimum possible number.”[8] The total number has decreased by only one mine since first announced in 2002, indicating that mines are not being consumed (exploded) during training or research activities.[9]

Bangladesh’s 2006 and 2007 Article 7 reports do not include the new expanded Form D for reporting on retained mines that States Parties agreed in 2005 at the Sixth Meeting of States Parties. The form is intended to ensure that States Parties are transparent about the precise intended purposes, actual uses, and future plans for use of retained mines.

Bangladesh has offered a number of rationales for retaining so many mines. In the past it has cited Bangladeshi peacekeeping missions in mine-affected areas, its large number of engineering units, and the need for training in mine awareness, mine handling including breaching detection, clearance and destruction, and possible testing of mine clearance equipment.[10]

At a briefing in March 2007 the Bangladesh Army informed Landmine Monitor that it is providing mine-related training to police officials and also to university-level forestry students at eight training facilities throughout Bangladesh. The army teaches them how to deal with a situation when they come across mines and other explosives, and how to handle and defuze them immediately after recovery, before panic spreads. It increases their awareness of the differences between mines, improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordnance. Additionally, a senior army officer stated that deminers should be exposed to live mines during their training. He insisted that live mine training has a direct bearing on the achievement of the Bangladesh Army in UN peacekeeping programs across the globe.[11]

Recovered Mines

On 19 March 2007 the Bangladeshi border security forces recovered 26 Chinese antipersonnel mines at Dalapahar, Naikongchari, Bandarban district along the border with Burma.[12] Later that month Bangladeshi military authorities confirmed to Landmine Monitor that, in addition to the 26 Chinese mines, it had recovered 48 other antipersonnel mines in the previous year. They said all the mines were destroyed on the same day as they were discovered, maintaining all the necessary safety measures and following its treaty obligations.[13]

In previous years Bangladesh has recovered antipersonnel landmines in weapons caches in various parts of the country.[14] In response to questions about previous recoveries a military official said, “Mines recovered in the previous years were also destroyed as per treaty obligations maintaining all safety measures. Those were never listed in the inventory of the retained stockpiles for training purposes of the Bangladesh Army.” He said that as soon as mines are recovered they are taken to the nearest destruction site and immediately destroyed.[15]

States Parties have agreed that newly discovered stocks of antipersonnel mines should be reported and destroyed as soon as possible. None of the recovered mines listed above have appeared in Bangladesh’s Article 7 reports so far.

Landmine and ERW Problem

Bangladesh is affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW). Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance, including arms caches from World War II and the liberation war of 1971, are found in some areas.[16] In 2005 they caused the only known casualties. The last recorded casualties caused by a mine incident in Bangladesh occurred in June 2001 on the border with Burma.

In its Article 7 reports the government has claimed that there are no known or suspected mined areas in Bangladesh.[17] Military officials have said there are no mined areas inside Bangladesh, pointing out that Bangladesh has not been at war since the country emerged in 1971 and that the army never planted mines.[18]

Bangladesh is located between non-signatory and insurgency-prone countries, and its borders are “porous.”[19] Mine survivors can be found in villages along the border with Burma (Myanmar).[20] The Bangladesh Army, commenting in 2005 on Landmine Monitor findings, said it had also “learned that mines were laid by the Na Sa Ka [Burmese border security forces] but they [the Na Sa Ka] denied the existence of any landmines along the border.”[21] However, Landmine Monitor interviews with inhabitants of the Ukhia and Ramu subdistricts of Cox’s Bazar district and the Alikadam, Thansi and Naikongchari subdistricts of Bandarban district, found that no mines had been encountered in forests previously considered as potentially contaminated.[22] One mine survivor in Ukhia said, “All village peoples close to the border have been going to collect firewood and bamboo from the hill for [the] last couple of years without any difficulties; all mines [have] gone.”[23]

Mine Action

Bangladesh has no civilian demining program. The Army Corps of Engineers is the main organization responsible for using or clearing mines on behalf of the military but the army has stated that it is ready to assist the civil administration with emergencies involving bombs and other explosive ordnance. [24] The Bangladesh Rifles, a paramilitary border security force, conducted mine clearance along the border with Burma in the past, but the army says the mine problem ended in 2001. [25]

Mine risk education (MRE) is not officially undertaken in Bangladesh; the most recent MRE training course was in June 2004.  However, the army stated that awareness programs would be helpful to raise awareness about ERW and IEDs among the general population.[26]

Support to Mine Action

In 2006 the Bangladesh Army battalions with mine clearance capabilities were engaged in demining on behalf of UN peacekeeping missions in Eritrea, Kuwait, Liberia and Sudan. Bangladesh, with 8,532 personnel deployed with UN peacekeeping missions, provides the second largest military contingent working for the UN.[27]

Bangladesh Army deminers working in Eritrea and Ethiopia from 2001 to 2006 cleared a total of 4,274,843 square meters of land. Bangladeshi deminers deployed to Sudan in 2006 had cleared 87 antipersonnel mines and 29 antivehicle mines by March 2007. In Kuwait, Bangladeshi military personnel have worked under a government-to-government contract since the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Bangladeshi deminers had cleared 24,257 items of UXO and 8,077 metric tons of explosives from 7,752 square meters of land by March 2007.[28]

Two Bangladeshi deminers have died during UN demining operations and two have been injured. In Kuwait, 13 Bangladeshi deminers have been killed and 34 have been injured during operations.[29]

Landmine/ERW Casualties

In 2006 and January-May 2007 no new mine/ERW casualties were reported in Bangladesh. The last reported mine casualties were in June 2001 and the last reported ERW casualties were in 2005 (three people killed and five injured).[30] Given there is no nationwide casualty data collection in Bangladesh, it is likely that some incidents have not been reported.

In Kuwait at least three Bangladeshi men were involved in mine incidents during 2006, including one deminer killed and two civilians injured. On 12 February 2006 a Bangladeshi deminer was killed by an antivehicle mine during demining in the Umm al-Qawati area of northwest Kuwait. On 30 April a Bangladeshi civilian was injured by a landmine near Jahra industrial area. In May another civilian was injured by a mine while herding cattle in Wafra.[31]

Bangladeshi casualties continued to occur in Kuwait in 2007, with at least three killed and eight injured. One man was killed when shepherding in March 2007. Also in March, one person was killed and five injured when their vehicle drove over an antivehicle mine near a military camp. In April, one Bangladeshi was killed and three injured while collecting wood.[32]

The total number of landmine casualties in Bangladesh is not known. Between 1993 and June 2001 at least 64 people were killed and 131 injured in reported landmine incidents.[33] The Bangladesh Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust identified 148 people who lost limbs in antipersonnel mine incidents during the 1971 independence war.[34] Casualties have also been reported as a result of UXO dating from World War II and the 1971 war.

Nonviolence International-Bangladesh conducted a study on incidents involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The initial report found that 163 people were killed and 1,281 were injured by IEDs from March 1999 to December 2005.[35] The updated study found that between January and December 2006, 18 people were killed and 354 were injured by IEDs. Between January and March 2007, seven people were killed and six injured.[36]

Survivor Assistance

Assistance to mine/UXO survivors remains scarce and is not part of national policy or humanitarian programs, although the government acknowledges that there are mine survivors in Bangladesh.[37] The government budget for providing assistance to people with disabilities is 500 million Bangladeshi Taka (some US$7.5 million).[38]

The survey conducted by Nonviolence International-Bangladesh found that only a limited number of families with IED casualties had received compensation from the government since 1999.[39] As of May 2007, another 22 survivors had received treatment from local NGOs.[40]

There are four main hospitals near mine/UXO-affected areas, including one government district hospital. The only hospital with specialized facilities, including a prosthetic workshop, is Memorial Christian Hospital situated in Cox’s Bazar. It distributes prostheses free of charge, including at medical camps held every year in different parts of the country, mainly in remote areas.[41] Between 10 and 19 February 2007 the Memorial Christian Hospital distributed 22 prostheses during the medical camp in Harbang, north of Chakria subdistrict in Cox’s Bazar. Military mine casualties receive assistance at military hospitals and facilities.[42]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) noted that the two physical rehabilitation centers in Dhaka, BRAC Limb and Brace fitting Center and the Center for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed, increased prosthetic production by 48 percent. It said the centers were ready for complete ICRC handover in 2007 with the return of technicians currently in training.[43]

Survivors are generally not aware that free prostheses are available.[44] Bangladeshi mine survivors have received limited assistance from Hope Foundation, Jaipur Foot Centre, and the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for Trauma Victims.[45]

During field research in Naikongchari and Ukhia in December 2006 and February 2007, the socioeconomic situation of survivors and their families was found to be poor, with lack of access to direct assistance and transportation for prosthetic services.[46]

Several private initiatives exist for medical and vocational rehabilitation, as well as employment of people with disabilities, including mine survivors.[47]

Bangladesh has legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities, including mine survivors; it focuses on disability prevention. But amendments to the 2001 law, initiated in 2002, as well as the 2004 disability action plan remain to be implemented.[48] The responsible government agencies are the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Department of Social Services, and the National Foundation for the Development of the Disabled.[49]

On 9 May 2007 Bangladesh signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but not its Optional Protocol which allows monitoring within the country. The council of the Ministry of Social Welfare was tasked to prepare a detailed account of how people with disabilities are treated in Bangladesh.[50]

According to a recent demographic survey, the percentage of people with disabilities in Bangladesh is 5.6 percent; mine, UXO and IED victims were not differentiated in the survey.[51]

[1] Article 7 Report, Form A, 28 February 2007. In another official report Bangladesh said, “Domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty is in its final stage.” CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form D, 26 October 2006. Previously, Bangladesh reported that domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty was in its “final stage of preparation” in April 2003. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed later in 2003 that it was preparing the draft national legislation bill. In 2004 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the process of drafting national legislation was still underway and a Bengali translation of the legislation would be submitted to an interministerial meeting. In 2005 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that, “It has been sent for Bengali translation.” In 2006, Bangladesh only reported, “Necessary implementation measures are in progress.”

[2]Previous reports were submitted on 24 March 2006, 29 March 2005, 28 April 2004, 29 April 2003 and 28 August 2002.

[3] Most recently, at the Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007.

[4] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 184. The following mines were destroyed: NDP-2 (Pakistan) 22,145; M-14 (USA/India) 3,100; M-16 (T6) w/fuze M605 (USA) 5,046; Electric M18A1 (Iran) 348; PMA-3 (Former Yugoslavia) 106,221; T-69 (China) 52,367.

[5] Bangladesh states that “miscreants/terrorists have resorted to indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices.” CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 26 October 2006.

[6] Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 28 February 2007. The following mines are retained: NDP-2 (Pakistan) 400; M-14 (USA/India) 380; M-16 (T6) w/Fuze M605 (USA) 300; PMA-3 (Former Yugoslavia) 5,600; T-69 (China) 5,820.

[7] Article 7 Report, Form B, 28 February 2007. Bangladesh noted, “Since these mines are claymore type directional fragmentation mines and can be used only in command detonated-mode, therefore, according to Article 2 and 3 of Landmine Ban Treaty, these are excluded from the stockpile held by Bangladesh.”

[8] Presentation by Bangladesh, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 15 June 2005.

[9] Article 7, Form D, in 2006 and 2005 listed 14,999; previous Article 7 reports in 2004, 2003 and 2002 listed 15,000. The mine which disappeared from the list was an Iranian M-18A1 Claymore.

[10]See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 185. In May 2005, a senior Ministry of Defence official told Landmine Monitor that the high number of mines was required because Bangladeshi peacekeeping missions work in mine-affected areas. At the June 2005 intersessional meetings, Bangladesh stated that it has 17 engineering units requiring a total of 11,900 antipersonnel mines, and that the other mines are needed to train army officers in four different institutions. Bangladesh noted that it has kept the mines “to train its soldiers to defuse or destroy any potential application of mines and not for mine deployment purposes.” The number retained “would be enough for her to sustain mine awareness training, clearance if required and destruction training programs in the future. The testing of mine clearance equipment for example may also require the use of anti-personnel mines.” Bangladesh also said that “while doing Peacekeeping Operations the Peacekeepers frequently handle anti-personnel mines for detection and demolition. Therefore training on antipersonnel mine handling including breaching detection and destruction is a necessity.”

[11] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007, including officials from the Ministry of Defence, Army Engineers, Training & Control Department, and UN Peacekeeping.

[12] “26 landmines recovered from Naikongchari border area,” Daily Cox’s Bazar, 20 March 2007; Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007. The Bangladesh Rifles did not show photographs of the recovered mines to journalists.

[13] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007. See also, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 184. They recovered 20 non-metallic mines and 27 US-made mines on 4 March 2006 from the Bashingchara area of Naikongchari, and one mine on 12 March 2006 from the Dulajhiri area of Naikongchari.

[14] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 184.

[15] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007.

[16] For example, see “Huge unusable arms, ammo found in pond,” The Daily Star, 15 March 2007; “10 Mortar shells recovered,” New Age (Dhaka), 24 March 2007; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 158.

[17] Article 7 Report, Form C, 24 March 2006.

[18] Interview with an official of the Military Operations Directorate, Armed Forces Division, Dhaka, 28 March, 2007.

[19] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007.

[20] Landmine Monitor field research in villages in Naikongchari and Ukhia subdistricts, 21-22 December 2006, 22-24 February 2007.

[21] Interview with Lt. Col. Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Ministry of Defence, Dhaka, 13 May 2005.

[22] Interviews with villagers in Cox’s Bazaar and Bandarban districts, 21-22 December 2006, 22–24 February 2007.

[23] Interview with Jaynal, a mine survivor, in Darghabil village, Ukhia subdistrict, 22 December 2006.

[24] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 6 November 2007; briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007.

[25] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007; see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 447.

[26] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007; see Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 159-160.

[27] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 6 November 2007; interview with Overseas Operations Directorate, Armed Forces Division, Dhaka, 28 March 2007.

[28] Interview with Overseas Operations Directorate, Armed Forces Division, Dhaka, 28 March 2007.

[29] Briefing for Landmine Monitor by Military Operations Directorate, Dhaka Cantonment, 28 March 2007.

[30] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 187.

[31] Ibid.

[32]See Kuwait chapter in this report for more information.

[33] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 165.

[34] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 166.

[35] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 187.

[36] Nonviolence International-Bangladesh, “Survey of IED Casualties,” Bangladesh, updated to 31 March 2007.

[37] “Bangladesh and the APM Convention,” document distributed at Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, 13-17 June 2005.

[38]“Dhaka to ratify UN convention on cultural expression,” The Daily Star, 25 March 2007, www.thedailystar.net, accessed 25 May 2007. Average exchange rate for 2006: 1 Bangladeshi Taka = US$0.0151. Landmine Monitor estimate based on www.oanda.com.

[39] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 188.

[40] Email from Rafique Al-Islam, Coordinator, Nonviolence International-Bangladesh, 27 May 2007.

[41] Interview with Amattya Roy, Public Relation Officer, Memorial Christian Hospital, Malumghat, Cox’s Bazar, 3 April 2007.

[42] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 187.

[43]ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled, “Annual Report 2006,” Geneva, February 2007, p. 10.

[44] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 188.

[45] Landmine Monitor field research in villages in Naikongchari and Ukhia subdistricts, 21-22 December 2006, 22-24 February 2007.

[46] Ibid.

[47] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 188.

[48] Interview with Dr. Nafisur Rahaman, Director, National Foundation for the Development of the Disabled, Dhaka, 12 March 2007.

[49] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 188.

[50] “Dhaka to ratify the UN convention on cultural expression,” The Daily Star, 25 March, 2007.

[51] Interview with Dr. Nafizur Rahaman, National Foundation for the Development of the Disabled, Dhaka, 12 March 2007.