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Last Updated: 21 October 2010

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Convention on Cluster Munitions status


Participation in Convention on Cluster Munitions meetings

Attended global conferences in Berlin in June 2009 and Santiago in June 2010, as well as a regional meeting in Pretoria in March 2010

Key developments

Ratification process underway; stocks have been destroyed


The Republic of Angola signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. Angolan officials have said on several occasions that ratification of the convention may be completed prior to the First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010.

In June 2009, Angola stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was requesting a report on Angola’s inventory of cluster munitions from the Ministry of Defense, and it would then proceed with ratification.[1] In March 2010, Angola said the process of ratification was “moving fast” and should be completed in 2010. Consultations were taking place among the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, and interior, the Armed Forces, and others. After the Ministry of Foreign Affairs finishes its consideration of ratification, it must be sent to the National Assembly and the President’s Office for approval.[2]

In June 2010, a government official indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was waiting to receive a formal request from the President that the National Assembly approve ratification. The official believed that ratification could occur before the First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010.[3]

Angola has engaged in the work of the convention in 2009 and 2010. It participated in the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions in June 2009, the Africa Regional Conference on the Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions held in Pretoria, South Africa in March 2010, and the International Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions held in Santiago, Chile in June 2010. At each meeting, Angola gave updates on the status of ratification.

Angola participated extensively in the Oslo Process from the outset in February 2007, but did not attend the formal negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008.[4]

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

Use, stockpiling, transfer, and production

Cluster munitions have been used in Angola, although it is unclear when they were used during the various conflicts in Angola or by whom.   

An official with the Inter-sectoral Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance (Comissão Nacional Intersectorial de Desminagem e Assistência Humanitária, CNIDAH), who had seen cluster munitions remnants in Huambo province near Caala and Bailundo, probably from the heavy fighting during 1998–1999, said he believed the cluster munitions were used by the Angolan Armed Forces because only they used aircraft during this conflict, not the rebel UNITA forces.[5]

In June 2010, a CNIDAH official told the CMC 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.[6] She later confirmed this statement, noting that the Air Force headed up a task force responsible for the program.[7]

HALO reported that it had destroyed 7,215 submunitions (likely from cluster bombs numbering in the hundreds) and 501 submunition dispensers. It noted that all of these came from government stores and almost all were in serviceable condition. It said that it has visited about 16 Air Force bases and destroyed all of the cluster munitions that had been held at each.[8]

The government itself has not yet provided any details on stockpile destruction, or made an official determination and public announcement that all stocks have been identified and destroyed.

In the past, Jane’s Information Group has noted that KMG-U dispensers that deploy submunitions were in service for Angolan aircraft.[9]  Deminers operating in Angola have documented the presence of casings of RBK 250/275 cluster bombs among abandoned ammunition.[10] It is likely the KMG-Us and RBKs were of Soviet origin.

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

Cluster Munition Remnants

Whether Angola continues to be affected by cluster munition remnants is unclear. Prior to 2009 at least two types of cluster munitions had been found in Angola: the Russian-made PTAB-2.5 K0 and the AO-2.5 RT. According to data and completion reports from NGO operators in the national database at CNIDAH in February 2008, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) had reported clearing 13 unexploded submunitions in the municipality of Ebo in Kwanza Sul province; Mines Advisory Group (MAG) had reported clearing 140 unexploded submunitions in Moxico province; and HALO had reported clearing 230 unexploded submunitions in Kunhinga municipality in Bié province.[11] As of June 2010, demining NGOs in Angola reported they had not found unexploded submunitions since those reported in February 2008.[12]

[1] Statement of Angola, Berlin Conference on Stockpile Destruction, 26 June 2009. Notes by AOAV.

[2] Statement of Angola, Africa Regional Conference on the Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Pretoria, 25 March 2010. Notes by AOAV.

[3] Meeting with Angola delegation, International Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, 7–9 June 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[4] 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), pp. 29–30.

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

[6] 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/HRW.

[7] Email from Maria Madalena Neto, CNIDAH, 13 August 2010.

[8] Email from Richard Boulter, Weapons and Ammunition Disposal Desk Officer, HALO, 13 August 2010. See also, HALO, “Angola: Weapons and Ammunition Disposal (WAD),” www.halotrust.org.

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

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

[11] Email from Mohammad Qasim, Acting Chief Technical Advisor and Information Management Advisor, UNDP/CNIDAH, 22 February 2008.

[12] Emails from Ken O’Connell, Country Director, Stiftung Menschen gegen Minen (MgM), 5 June 2010; Sabrina Brett, Programme Officer, MAG, 7 June 2010; Fatmire Uka, Operations Manager, DanChurchAid, 9 June 2010; and Aubrey Sutherland, Programme Manager, NPA, 21 June 2010.