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Country Reports
NEPAL, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: There has been a significant increase in the use of homemade mines by Maoist rebels, and some reports of their use of factory-made mines. The Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines reports that people in ten districts consider themselves mine-affected. It remains unclear if the government maintains a stockpile of antipersonnel mines.

Mine Ban Policy

Nepal has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty, though the government appears to support a ban. The Foreign Ministry is currently conducting a study on the desirability and implications of joining the Mine Ban Treaty. Nepal has voted in favor of every pro-ban UN General Assembly resolution since 1996, including the resolution in support of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1999. Nepal participated in all the Ottawa Process meetings, the negotiations, and the treaty signing ceremony, though only as an observer. Nepal was one of twelve observer states at the First Meeting of States Parties to the ban treaty in Mozambique in May 1999. Nepal participated in the ban treaty intersessional Standing Committee of Experts on Victim Assistance meeting in September 1999 and the SCE on Stockpile Destruction in December 1999, both in Geneva. Nepal also sent representatives to the International Committee of the Red Cross’ South Asia Regional Seminar on Landmines, held in Sri Lanka 18-20 August 1999.

It would appear that Nepal’s failure to join the treaty thus far is related to regional political concerns. A foreign ministry official has said, “Regarding the signing of the convention...Nepal is observing the developments of our SAARC region in this regard.”[1] Nepal may also be reluctant to join due to increased hostilities by the Maoist insurgency.

In January 2000, Nepal’s Prime Minister (who also serves as Defense Minister) told Landmine Monitor that he believed the use of antipersonnel mines “should be prohibited. Nepal is steadfast on it.” He also said, “I have directed the Foreign Ministry to accelerate the study regarding the signing of the treaty.”[2]

The Home Minister has said, “There should be a complete ban on landmines,” but added, “Deep study should be made prior to signing the ban treaty and ratifying it.”[3]

Nepal has not signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons and is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.


In the past year Maoist rebels have significantly increased their violent activity, and there have been increasingly numerous reports of use of homemade mines, also known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).[4] For example, a January 2000 press account stated that “mines planted by the Maoist insurgents killed six police personnel,” and noted that “an inspection team of Royal Nepalese Army visiting the districts has guessed that those mines were planted during the rainy season.”[5]

According to some media reports and to Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL) interviews with local communities, the Maoists are also now using factory-made mines. The NCBL notes that 31 of 56 people interviewed (including one Army Lieutenant, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, one Police Inspector, and five police personnel) said that mines planted in Rolpa and Salyan districts were factory-made.[6]

There have also been some reports, including from one parliamentarian, of use of mines by Nepalese police for protection around police posts, but these reports could not be confirmed.[7]

One news report indicated possible use by the Royal Nepalese Army: “Six people, five of them minors, were killed while two others were injured in Dhading when a mine possibly left behind by the Royal Army went off.”[8]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling

There is no evidence that Nepal has ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. It is unclear if Nepal has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines. In the past, the government has said that it does not possess antipersonnel mines. But, in 1998 a parliamentarian “asked the government to remove the mines stockpiled at the Swoyambhu area.”[9] More recently, a Canadian official in Nepal said that the Royal Nepalese Army has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines for training purposes.[10] An Army officer told Landmine Monitor that when the police confiscate factory-made mines from the rebels, they hand the mines over to the army.[11] A former parliamentarian also said that the police turn mines over to the army, because the police don’t know how to deactivate them.[12] Interestingly, Nepal sent a representative to the ban treaty Standing Committee of Experts on Stockpile Destruction meeting in December 1999. The government has not responded to requests for clarification of the issue.

Landmine Problem, Casualties, Survivor Assistance

Increased use of homemade mines by the Maoist insurgency has led to increased risk to civilians. The Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines believes that the country should now be considered mine-affected. The NCBL reports that residents in ten districts have described themselves as mine-affected. The NCBL has a list of 172 potentially affected villages in those ten districts.[13]

Both police personnel and civilians have been injured and killed by rebel mines and IEDs in the past year. There are no official government statistics on such casualties. A hospital official told Landmine Monitor that information about police or army casualties could not be provided without government permission.[14]

Nepalese soldiers have fallen victim to landmines while participating in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, and peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavian territories.[15] Other Nepalese soldiers have apparently been maimed and killed by landmines while serving in foreign armies, such as India and UK.[16]

Generally, civilians injured by mines or IEDs are treated in Bheri Zonal Hospital, Bir Hospital and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. Police personnel are treated in Birendra Police Hospital. When a civilian is injured, the police inform the Chief District Officer, who relays the message to the Home Ministry, and the Home Ministry in turn informs the Health Ministry. The wounded get treatment at the hospitals only at the recommendation of the Health Ministry. Sometimes part of the cost of treatment is borne by Home Ministry and Health Ministry.[17]


[1] Statement by Jabindra Aryal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited in Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines, “Report on Second National Conference,” 4 July 1999, p. 6. SAARC is the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
[2] Interview with Right Hon. Prime Minister and Defense Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Panchkhal, Kavre, 16 January 2000.
[3] Interview with Home Minister Hon. Purna Bahadur Khadka, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, 21 December 1999.
[4] It appears that some reports of use of “mines” are likely to refer instead to use of bombs or other explosives that do not fit the definition of antipersonnel mine (that is, explode from the contact of a person).
[5] Kantipur Daily, Kathmandu, 30 January 2000, p. 1.
[6] The NCBL conducted its interviews in Rolpa and Salyan districts from 30 November 1999 to 10 January 2000. There is frequent speculation that the mines come from India. See, Mahanagar Daily, 22 February 2000. A high-ranking Nepalese officer denied this and insisted that no outside government was supporting the Maoists. Landmine Monitor/India personal discussion with Lt. Col. Bijendra Gautam, Director of Military Training, Royal Nepalese Army, at landmine seminar in Wadduwa, Sri Lanka, 18-20 August 1999.
[7] See, Nepal Samachar Patra Daily, 5 April 2000, p. 1. Interview with Hon. Prakash Jwala, Parliamentary Building, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, 20 December 1999. NCBL also heard this in interviews with local communities.
[8] Kathmandu Post Daily, 30 January 2000. This does not appear to be a description of an antipersonnel mine incident.
[9] Hon. Surendra Prasad Pandey, member of National Assembly, in "An Interaction Program on Role of Parliamentarians on Ban Landmines," NCBL executive summary, Kathmandu, 8 August 1998.
[10] Chris Cooter, First Secretary (Political), meeting with P. S. Chitrakar, Canadian Cooperation Office, Kathmandu.
[11] Interview with Lieutenant of Royal Nepalese Army, Rolpa, 11 December 1999.
[12] Telephone interview with former Parliamentarian Jagrit Prasad Vetwal, 24 December 1999.
[13] NCBL interviews from 28 November 1999 to 20 January 2000 with residents of the ten districts. The list of the villages includes 43 in Rukum district, 33 in Rolpa, 24 in Kavre, 17 in Dolakha, 12 in Salyan, 11 in Dhading, 9 in Kalikot, 8 in Ramechhap, 8 in Sindhupalchok, and 7 in Sindhuli.
[14] Interview with Dr. Kashiram Kunwar, Deputy Director, Birendra Police Hospital, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, 21 April 2000.
[15] Mr. Devandra Subedi, Deputy Superintendent of Police Headquarters, in “National Conference on Landmines and Human Rights,” Kathmandu, 25 November 1997; South Africa Campaign to Ban Landmines and Human Rights Watch, “The Non-Aligned Movement and the Global Campaign Against Antipersonnel Landmines,” August 1998, p. 45.
[16] Hon. Padma Ratna Tuladhar, House of Representatives, in "Role of Parliamentarians on Ban Landmines," Kathmandu, 8 August 1998; Mr. Rishikesh Shah, in "National Conference on Landmines and Human Rights, Kathmandu, 25 November 1997.
[17] Interview with Arjuan Pathak, Management Section, Bir Hospital, Kathmandu, 21 April 2000.