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Last Updated: 24 August 2011

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Convention on Cluster Munitions status


Participation in Convention on Cluster Munitions meetings

Attended First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010 and intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2011

Key developments

Ratification process underway


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

In June 2011, a Ugandan official said that ratification had been delayed by elections held in February 2011, but Cabinet could now refer ratification to the new parliament for approval.[1] In November 2010, Uganda informed the convention’s First Meeting of States Parties that, “we would have loved to come here as a full State Party” but “our ratification has been delayed” by the pending elections. Uganda said that ratification “has started” and the Attorney General would soon submit the ratification package to Cabinet for its consideration.[2] Uganda has established a committee on International Humanitarian Law to advise the government on the ratification of treaties such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[3]

Uganda participated extensively in the Oslo Process that produced the convention and hosted a regional meeting on cluster munitions in Kampala in September 2008. Uganda has continued to actively engage in the work of the convention in 2010 and the first half of 2011. It attended the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010, where it gave an update on ratification. Uganda also participated in intersessional meetings of the convention in Geneva in June 2011.

Civil society groups in Uganda have campaigned in support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[4]

Uganda is party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Uganda is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not ratified CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war or actively participated in the CCW discussions on cluster munitions in recent years.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Uganda is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions were apparently used in the fighting in northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, but it is not clear who used the cluster munitions or precisely when or how many were used.  On several occasions, Uganda has denied that its armed forces used cluster munitions and said the LRA was responsible.[5] The Ugandan Mine Action Centre (UMAC) has informed the Monitor that no unexploded submunitions remain.[6]

The status of stockpiled cluster munitions is unclear. In 2009, Uganda claimed that it does not have a stockpile of cluster munitions.[7] In October 2007, a Foreign Ministry official said that Uganda had a stockpile of cluster bombs and pledged to destroy it.[8] In June 2009, a senior official said that Uganda had pledged to “check and destroy all its stockpiles” in 2007 but went on to state that Uganda does not have any stockpiles. [9]

Cluster Munition Remnants

Uganda had a problem with cluster munition remnants in the past.[10] In June 2009, the director of Uganda’s National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre stated that Uganda is not currently contaminated by cluster munitions.[11] In April 2010, UMAC told the Monitor that all known unexploded submunitions had been cleared and none remained.[12]

[1] Interview with Oscar Uaule, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 27 June 2011.

[2] Statement of Uganda, First Meeting of States Parties, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, 9 November 2010.

[3] Committee members are drawn from the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, and Constitutional Affairs. Interview with Vicent Woboya, Director, UMAC, Kampala, 11 March 2011; interview with Bernadette R Mwesige, Foreign Service Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kampala, 31 March 2011; and minutes of the inaugural meeting of Uganda’s reconstitution of the IHL National Committee, Protea Hotel, 29–30 September 2010.

[4] To commemorate the convention’s 1 August 2010 entry into force, People with Disabilities presented a petition on cluster munitions to the parliament’s Committee of Defense and Internal Affairs and a Ugandan children’s football team attended the Norway Cup in Oslo, where they participated in drumming event. CMC, “Entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Report: 1 August 2010,” November 2010, p. 28.

[5] Article 7 Report (for the period 2 April 2008 to 2 April 2009), Form J; “Uganda: Landmine Survivors Welcome Ban On Cluster Bombs,” IRIN (Gulu), 4 June 2008, allafrica.com; and Paul Amoru, “Cluster bombs conference on,” Daily Monitor, 29 September 2008, www.monitor.co.ug; and interview with Maj.-Gen. J. F. Oketta, Office of the Prime Minister, in Berlin, 25 June 2009.

[6] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Vicent Woboya, Director, UMAC, 1 April 2010.

[7] Human Rights Watch and the CMC have listed Uganda as a stockpiler of cluster munitions, based on an October 2007 Foreign Ministry statement and the cluster bombs, submunitions, and remnants discovered by deminers. In addition to possible stocks of cluster bombs, Uganda possesses Grad 122mm surface-to-surface rocket launchers, which have the capability to deliver rockets with submunitions. See, International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2005–2006, (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 403; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

[8] Statement by Amb. Cissy Taliwaku, Deputy Head of Mission, Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in Geneva, Belgrade Conference for States Affected by Cluster Munitions, 4 October 2007. Notes by the CMC.

[9] Presentation by Maj.-Gen. J. F. Oketta, Office of the Prime Minister, Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, 25 June 2009, slides 2 and 22.

[10] Human Rights Watch has previously reported that deminers in the northern district of Gulu have found RBK-250/275 cluster bombs and AO-1SCh submunitions. These cluster bombs and submunitions are likely of Soviet/Russian origin. Photographs and information provided to Human Rights Watch by UNDP. See also, CMC, “Africa and the Oslo Process the Ban Cluster Munitions,” prepared by Human Rights Watch, September 2008; and Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 173.

[11] Presentation by Maj.-Gen. J. F. Oketta, Office of the Prime Minister, Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, 25 June 2009, slide 4.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Vicent Woboya, UMAC, 1 April 2010; and email from Vicent Woboya, UMAC, 8 April 2010.