Last Updated: 02 November 2011

Mine Ban Policy

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Rwanda signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 8 June 2000, becoming a State Party on 1 December 2000. The treaty was incorporated into domestic law with the presidential order of 24 December 1998.[1] Rwanda has not enacted further domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty.[2]

Rwanda had not submitted an annual updated Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report since 2008.[3]

Rwanda participated in the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November–December 2010 but did not participate in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings held in June 2011.

Rwanda is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and use

There have been no reports of use of antipersonnel mines in Rwanda since 1998.[4] Rwanda has reported that it has never produced and has no stockpiles of antipersonnel mines. In April 2008, it stated, “Rwanda government has never imported antipersonnel mines since 1994 and has destroyed all that were imported by the former government forces.”[5] This was the first time Rwanda indicated that it destroyed stockpiles inherited by the previous government.[6]

After initially indicating that it retained no antipersonnel mines for training or development purposes, Rwanda reported in April 2003 that it possessed 101 antipersonnel mines, “uprooted from minefields and retained for training purposes.”[7] In 2008, Rwanda reported 65 mines retained for training purposes, a reduction of 36 mines and reported that 25 explosive ordnance disposal personnel had been trained, presumably using the mines.[8]  


[1] Order of the President, No. 38/01, 24 December 1998. Rwanda has also stated that an existing law, Decree-Law 12/79, which prohibits illegal import, use, transfer, and possession of arms and ammunition, covers mines, although mines are not explicitly mentioned. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 1 June 2006.

[2] It reported in 2004 and 2005 that efforts were underway. It then reported that a bill was before cabinet for approval as of April 2006. A Ministry of Defense official said in May 2006 that the draft law had been submitted to parliament. No further progress has been reported. See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 594.

[3] Rwanda has submitted six reports, in April 2008, and on 1 June 2006, 15 June 2005, 1 April 2004, 22 April 2003, and 4 September 2001.

[4] However, there were allegations of mine use by Rwandan forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2000, and of transfer of antipersonnel mines to non-state armed groups in the DRC as late as 2004. Rwandan officials have repeatedly denied all allegations of involvement in mine use in the DRC. See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 612.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Forms B and E, April 2008.

[6] No details are provided about when or how many mines were destroyed. Previously, Rwanda said that in 1994, the former government “fled into neighboring Congo with all arms and ammunitions including antipersonnel mines,” and that the current government “has never imported antipersonnel mines, and therefore no stockpiled antipersonnel mines [are] in Rwanda.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 1 June 2006. The same language is used in earlier reports.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 22 April 2003. The mines included 32 PMD-6, 26 TS-50, and 43 M-35 mines.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, April 2008. The mines included 22 PMD-6, 26 TS-50, and 17 M-35, which would indicate that 10 PMD-6 and 26 M-35 mines had been consumed in training.

Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Republic of Rwanda signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008.

The status of Rwanda’s ratification of the convention is not known.[1] Previously, in 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said that ratification was awaiting parliamentary approval by the Chamber of Deputies and then the Senate.[2] In 2009, the CMC was informed that the Council of Ministers had approved ratification and it was awaiting transmission to parliament.[3]

In November 2013, the government’s Rwanda Law Reform Commission in cooperation with the ICRC held a three-day seminar on international humanitarian law attended by a number of government officials, which concluded there is a need to prioritize the country’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Arms Trade Treaty.[4]

Rwanda attended one regional meeting (Kampala, Uganda in September 2008) of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions before signing the convention in Oslo in December 2008.[5]

Rwanda has participated in one meeting of the convention, in September 2012 when it attended the Third Meeting of the States Parties in Oslo, Norway. It was formally invited to, but did not attend the convention’s Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013.

Rwanda has not made any statement expressing concern at Syria’s use of cluster munitions.

Rwanda is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In 2008, Rwanda stated that it does not use, produce, transfer, or stockpile cluster munitions.[6]


[1] In December 2013, a Rwandan official told the CMC that there was no update available on the status of ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. CMC meeting with Jean de Dieu Budurege, Multilateral Officer, Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN in Geneva, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 December 2013.

[2] Email from Eugene Mussolini, Association of Landmine Survivors and Amputees of Rwanda, 21 July 2010.

[3] Email from Albert Nzamukwereka, Country Program Coordinator for Rwanda, Survivor Corps, 16 November 2009.

[4] Rwanda Law Reform Commission web post, “Seminar on International Humanitarian Law,” November 2013.

[5] Rwanda also attended a regional meeting on the convention in Kampala, Uganda in September 2008 and the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions in June 2009. For details on Rwanda’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 147.

[6] Statement of Rwanda, Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 30 September 2008. Notes by the CMC.

Last Updated: 09 August 2011

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Mines and explosive remnants of war

The Republic of Rwanda had a small residual problem with mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), the legacy of the 1990–1994 war against the government that committed the 1994 genocide, from the retreat of the army and Interahamwe militias to neighboring countries, and their subsequent attacks launched from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996–1998 in the northwest of the country.[1]

At the Second Review Conference to the Mine Ban Treaty in November–December 2009, Rwanda declared it had fulfilled the clearance requirements of Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty. It stated that mine clearance had resulted in expanded commercial activity through safe access along hundreds of kilometers of roads and due to former tea plantations and farmland being again available for cultivation.[2]

The conflict in Rwanda resulted in a residual amount of ERW that may take years to clear,[3] as well as large amounts of small arms and ammunition. In 2009, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) destroyed more than 100 different types of small arms and over 70 tons of surplus munitions.[4] 

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 January 2011

National Mine Action Authority


Mine action center


International demining operators


National demining operators

Rwanda Defense Forces, operating under the NDO

The National Demining Office (NDO), set up in 1995, has managed and implemented demining operations under the Ministry of Defense.[5] Mines Awareness Trust (MAT) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) supported demining in 2009 but have since left the country.

Land Release

In 2009, Rwanda completed its mine clearance operations with support from MAT (for quality management) and NPA (which provided a MineWolf machine to assist with the clearance effort). Since operations began in 2002, Rwanda cleared 52 mined and battle areas covering a total of 1,946,754m2 and found and destroyed 660 antipersonnel mines, 29 antivehicle mines, and 2,034 pieces of unexploded ordnance.[6] 

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Rwanda was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 December 2010.

At the Second Review Conference in November–December 2009, Rwanda declared it had fulfilled its Article 5 obligations and pledged to submit a full report to the States Parties. Rwanda said they would also inform States Parties if new mined areas were identified.

Quality management

In May 2008, MAT deployed three mine detection dog teams to Rwanda for quality management.[7] In October 2009, MAT completed quality control of all cleared mined areas, with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining verifying the work.[8]


[1] Statement of Rwanda, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 10 May 2006.

[2] Statement of Rwanda, Second Review Conference, Mine Ban Treaty, Cartagena, 1 December 2009.

[3] NPA, “Rwanda Project Report,” 12 December 2008, p. 12.

[4] MAG, “Rwanda: 30,000 small arms destroyed,” 18 January 2010,

[5] Statement of Rwanda, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 5 June 2008.

[6] Statement of Rwanda, Second Review Conference, Mine Ban Treaty, Cartagena, 1 December 2009.

[7] Email from Maj. Wilson Ukwishaka, Deputy Coordinator, NDO, 14 May 2008; MAT, “The Mines Awareness Trust: Rwanda MDD,”; and response to Monitor questionnaire by MAT, 14 April 2009.

[8] Email from Ben Remfrey, former Director, MAT, 25 May 2010.

Last Updated: 11 September 2014

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of Rwanda is responsible for significant numbers of survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) who are in need. It has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2013

707 mine/ERW casualties (300 killed; 407 injured)

No new mine/ERW casualties were identified in Rwanda in 2013. The last casualties reported in Rwanda occurred in 2011, when five ERW casualties were identified.[1]

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Rwanda is not known, and estimates vary. Between 1991 and 2013, 707 casualties were identified in Rwanda (300 killed, 407 injured).[2]

Victim Assistance

The Association of Landmine Survivors and Amputees of Rwanda (ALSAR) estimated there were more than 2,000 survivors in the country.[3]

Victim assistance in Rwanda is incorporated into the broader disability framework, as part as the overall plan for all persons with disabilities that guides the work of the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), the National Programme for Mainstreaming Disability in Rwanda (2010–2019) and laws relating to the protection of persons with disabilities (civilians and formers combatants) from 2007. The NCPD, established in 2010, includes mine/ERW survivors as members.[4] Its Strategic Plan for 2013–2018 explicitly mentions persons with disabilities as a result of landmines and includes an operational plan for its implementation.[5]

Handicap International (HI) worked at a national level to improve care management for people with physical disabilities by providing a training program for ortho-prosthetic technicians and physiotherapists in existing positions. HI was also developing community-based rehabilitation in five districts of Rwanda.[6]

The National Union of Disability Organizations in Rwanda was established in September 2010 as a national umbrella organization of persons with disabilities.

Rwanda ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 15 December 2008. However, in 2013, landmines survivors and other persons with disabilities were still facing social exclusion, discrimination, and other issues in their everyday life.[7]


[1]Rwanda: Grenade Injures Two Children,” AllAfrica, 4 March 2011, accessed on 19 September 2012; “One killed as grenade explodes near Kigali,” People’s Daily Online, 29 July 2011, accessed on 19 September 2012; and “Rwanda: 1 mort et deux blessés dans l'explosion d'une grenade” (“Rwanda: 1 killed and two injured due to grenade explosion”), Panapress, 27 July 2011, accessed on 26 September 2013.

[2] In addition to the five casualties from 2011, the Rwandan National Demining Office (NDO) recorded 702 casualties between 1991 and 2008. Email from Maj. Ukwishaka, NDO, 10 May 2009.

[3] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Rose Kanyamfura, Vice President, ALSAR, 30 March 2010.

[4] Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), “Norad Report 6/2012 Review: Organisational Performance Review of the Norwegian People’s Aid,” September 2011.

[5] National Council of Persons with Disabilities, NCPD Strategic Plan and Its Operational Plan for the Implementation July 2013–June 2018, 31 May 2013.

[7] Jean-Christophe Nsanzimana, “Rwanda: Disability Often Still Carries a Stigma,” AllAfrica, 13 January 2013, quoted in “The Month in Mines: January 2013,” Landmines in Africa, 9 February 2013.