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Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


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

In September 2013, Angola informed States Parties that its ratification process “is already at a very advanced stage” and “being carefully carried out by all actors, due to the little knowledge the Angolan Authorities have on the dimension of the problem related to Cluster Bombs.”[1] At that time an official informed the CMC that the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Relations had completed preparation of the ratification package that will require cabinet and then parliamentary approval. He also said the government has established a special committee to tackle Angola’s backlog of treaty ratifications.[2]

Since 2009, Angolan officials have promised that the government will ratify soon, but there has been little measurable progress towards this objective.[3] Previously, in May 2013, a government representative informed the CMC that the question of ratification had been referred to the Ministry of Defence for further consideration.[4] In 2011, Angolan officials indicated that the ratification package was being prepared for submission to the Council of Ministers.[5] Angola participated extensively in the Oslo Process and, while it did not attend the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, it signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008.[6]

Despite the lack of ratification, Angola has continued to participate in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has attended every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fourth Meeting of States Parties held in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013. Angola has participated in all intersessional meetings of the convention held in Geneva, including in April 2014.[7] Angola attended a regional conference on universalization of the convention held in Lomé, Togo in May 2013, where it endorsed the Lomé Strategy on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions committing to take specific and concerted actions to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity.[8]

In September 2013, Angola’s Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Manuel Augusto, told States Parties that the Convention on Cluster Munitions “represents a remarkable result of multilateralism in disarmament, based on a constructive cooperation between government and non-government actors and on the relationship between humanitarian and human rights.”[9]

Angola is not known to have condemned the Syrian government’s use of cluster munitions.

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

Production, transfer, and use

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

Cluster munitions were used in the past in Angola, but it is unclear when or by whom. An Intersectoral Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance (Comissão Nacional Intersectorial de Desminagem e Assistência Humanitária, CNIDAH) official who had seen cluster munitions remnants in Huambo province near Caala and Bailundo, probably from the heavy fighting during 1998–1999, said he believed that the Angolan Armed Forces used cluster munitions because only they used aircraft during this conflict, not the rebel UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) forces.[10]

Stockpiling and destruction

The government has not made an official determination and public announcement that all stocks have been identified and destroyed.

In June 2010, a CNIDAH official said that Angola had destroyed its stockpile of cluster munitions between 2003 and 2010 in a joint initiative of the government and HALO Trust, and that the armed forces no longer held any stocks.[11] In addition, HALO’s weapons and ammunition disposal teams, which operate in all 18 provinces destroying weapons caches belonging to the police, army, navy, and air force, found and destroyed 51 abandoned explosive submunitions in military warehouses.[12] The location of these warehouses has not been reported.

In the past, Jane’s Information Group noted that KMGU dispensers that deploy submunitions were in service for Angolan aircraft.[13] Deminers operating in Angola have documented the presence of casings of RBK 250-275 cluster bombs among abandoned ammunition.[14] It is likely the KMGU and RBK were of Soviet origin.

Angola is also reported to possess BM-21 Grad and RM-70 122mm surface-to-surface rocket launchers, but it is not known if these include ammunition with submunition payloads.[15]


[1] Statement of Angola, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.

[2] CMC meeting with Mario Costa, Technical Advisor, CNIDAH, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.

[3] Statement of Angola, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 28 May 2012.

[4] CMC meeting with Vezua B.D. De Paiva, Second Secretary, Ministry of External Relations of Angola, Lomé, 23 May 2013.

[5] Statement of Angola, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[6] For details on Angola’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 29.

[7] Statement of Angola, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intesessional Meeting, Geneva, April 2014.

[8]Lomé Strategy on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Lomé Regional Seminar on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lomé, Togo, 23 May 2013.

[9] Statement of Angola, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.

[10] Interview with Jorge Repouso Leonel Maria, Liaison Officer, CNIDAH, Huambo, 21 April 2010.

[11] CMC meetings with Maria Madalena Neto, Victim Assistance Coordinator, CNIDAH, International Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, 7–9 June 2010. Notes by the CMC/Human Rights Watch. Maria Madalena Neto later confirmed this statement, noting that the air force headed up a task force responsible for the program. Email from Maria Madalena Neto, CNIDAH, 13 August 2010.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Helen Tirebuck, Programme Manager, HALO, 15 March 2011.

[13] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 835.

[14] Landmine Action, “Note on Cluster Munitions in Angola,” 10 February 2004.

[15] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 410.