Summary: Signatory Uganda has expressed its desire to ratify the convention since 2010, but it has not taken any steps to introduce ratification legislation for parliamentary approval. Uganda has participated in all of the convention’s meetings, including the First Review Conference in September 2015. However, it abstained from voting on a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2015.
Uganda states that it has not used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions, but there is evidence that cluster munitions were used in Uganda in the past. Uganda has denied responsibility for cluster bomb attacks outside the town of Bor in South Sudan in early 2014, when it provided air support to the government of South Sudan as it fought opposition forces.
The Republic of Uganda signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008.
At the convention’s First Review Conference in September 2015, Uganda expressed its commitment to ratify the convention during its address to the high-level segment of the meeting. It stated that “currently, consultations are at the highest level, in keeping with the procedural requirement under the Uganda Constitution.”
Uganda has expressed its desire to ratify the convention on several occasions. Draft ratification legislation was tabled for Cabinet consideration in May 2016, according to the convention’s universalization coordinators. The proposed ratification had not been introduced to parliament for consideration and approval as of 1 July 2016. Since 2014, Ugandan officials have indicated that draft ratification legislation requires Cabinet approval.
Uganda has indicated that national implementation legislation will be prepared for the convention after it has ratified.
On 7 December 2015, Uganda abstained voting on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the convention, which calls on states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.” Uganda did not explain why it abstained on the non-binding resolution that 139 states voted to adopt, including all signatories except Cyprus.
Uganda participated extensively in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions and hosted a regional meeting on cluster munitions in Kampala in September 2008.
Uganda has participated in all of the convention’s annual Meeting of States Parties; the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015; and intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2013 and 2015. It has attended regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Lusaka, Zambia in June 2015. In September 2015, Uganda told the First Review Conference that cluster munitions cause “horrifying” and “devastating” harm and said it “joins the rest of the world in condemning the use of cluster munitions.”
Ugandan legal experts and campaigners work to encourage swift ratification of the convention.
Uganda is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
Uganda has stated on several occasions that it does not stockpile cluster munitions and has never used, produced, or transferred the weapons. At the First Review Conference in September 2015, Uganda said it “does not use, produce, stockpile or transfer cluster munitions and does not intend to do so.”
Until Uganda becomes a State Party and provides an Article 7 transparency report formally declaring the status of its stockpile, the Monitor will continue to list Uganda as a stockpiler of cluster munitions. This is due to use allegations from South Sudan in 2013–2014 (see below) and past statements by government officials and mine action operators confirming the clearance of cluster munition remnants inside Uganda.
Information and photographs, provided to Human Rights Watch (HRW) by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), of remnants cleared by mine action teams in northern Uganda near the then-Sudan border indicate that RBK-250-275 AO-1SCh cluster bombs were apparently used in the past during the years-long fighting between the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan military. It is not clear who used the cluster munitions or precisely when or how many munitions were used. On several occasions, Uganda has denied that its armed forces ever used cluster munitions and said the LRA was responsible. The Uganda Mine Action Centre (UMAC) has informed the Monitor that no unexploded submunitions remain.
Use in South Sudan
In February 2014, evidence emerged showing that cluster munitions had been used since mid-December 2013 outside of Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, during the conflict between the opposition forces loyal to South Sudan’s former Vice President Riek Machar and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) government forces, with air support for the SPLA provided by Uganda.
During the week of 7 February 2014, UN mine action personnel found the remnants of at least eight RBK-250-275 cluster bombs and an unknown quantity of intact unexploded AO-1SCh fragmentation submunitions by a major road 16 kilometers south of Bor, in an area not known to be contaminated by remnants prior to mid-December 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the discovery of cluster munition remnants near Bor and condemned the use of cluster bombs, without indicating if an investigation would be undertaken or who the UN believed was responsible.
South Sudan denied using cluster munitions in the conflict and also denied Ugandan use of the weapons. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, South Sudan said an investigation conducted jointly with UN officials had not been able to determine who had used the cluster munitions found in Bor.
At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Uganda denied that its armed forces possess cluster bombs and stated Uganda had not used the weapons in South Sudan. Previously, in May 2014, the Chief of the Ugandan Defense Forces, General Edward Katumba Wamala, denied that Uganda used cluster munitions in South Sudan and informed media that as a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Uganda has banned any use of cluster munitions by its army, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). The commander of the Ugandan forces in South Sudan, Brig. Muhanga Kayanja, said in February 2014 that his forces used helicopters to provide close air support to the government’s ground troops, but denied using cluster bombs, or any bombs, in the fighting.
The use of cluster munitions in South Sudan has received strong media coverage as well as public outcry and condemnations. Approximately 30 countries have expressed concern at or condemned cluster munition use in South Sudan. On 27 May 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2155, which noted “with serious concern reports of the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions” in Jonglei State in February 2014 and urged “all parties to refrain from similar such use in the future.”
 See for example, statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 9 September 2015; statement of Uganda, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, 28 May 2012; statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 13 September 2011; and statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 9 November 2010.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Coordination Committee Meeting, Geneva, 28 April 2016. Notes by the CMC.
 Statements of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties San Jose, 3 September 2014. In February 2014, a Ugandan diplomat told the CMC that the ratification process was underway but requires Cabinet approval before it can be referred to parliament for adoption. Interview with Matata Twaha, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 20 February 2014.
 Statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 13 September 2011; and statement of Uganda, Lomé Regional Seminar on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lomé, Togo, 22 May 2013.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 ICRC, “Zambia: Implementing the ban on cluster munitions in southern Africa,” 17 June 2015.
 Email from Margaret Arach Orech, Director, Uganda Landmine Survivors Association, 4 June 2015.
 In April 2012, a government official informed an intersessional meeting of the convention that “Uganda has never manufactured, acquired, stockpiled, transferred or used cluster munitions.” Statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012. In September 2011, Uganda stated that it has never used, produced, transferred, or acquired cluster munitions. Statement of Uganda, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 13 September 2011. In June 2009, a senior official said that Uganda does not have any stockpiled cluster munitions. 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.
 See for example, statement by Amb. Cissy Taliwaku, Deputy Head of Mission, Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in Geneva, to the Belgrade Conference for States Affected by Cluster Munitions, 4 October 2007. Notes by the CMC.
 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J (for the period 2 April 2008 to 2 April 2009); “UGANDA: Landmine survivors welcome ban on cluster bombs,” IRIN (Gulu), 4 June 2008; Paul Amoru, “Cluster bombs conference on,” Daily Monitor, 29 September 2008; and interview with Maj.-Gen. J. F. Oketta, Office of the Prime Minister, in Berlin, 25 June 2009.
 Response to Monitor questionnaire by Vicent Woboya, Director, UMAC, 1 April 2010.
 The UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) report noted “UNMAS found physical evidence of the use of cluster munitions in the Malek area of Bor County, approximately 16 kilometres south of Bor along the Juba-Bor Road.” UNMISS, “Conflict in South Sudan: A Human Rights Report,” 8 May 2014.
 Statement of UN Secretary-General on South Sudan, New York, 12 February 2014. In May 2014, the UNMAS director informed the CMC that while cluster munitions had been used in South Sudan, it was not possible to determine who was responsible for the use. Email from UNMAS, 13 May 2014.
 See, Jacey Fortin, “The Bad Bomb: Cluster Munitions, Cold Cases And A Case of Blame Game in South Sudan,” International Business Times, 12 March 2014. Both South Sudanese and Ugandan forces are believed to possess fixed wing aircraft and helicopters capable of delivering air-dropped cluster munitions, such as the RBK-250-275 AO-1SCh cluster bomb, while South Sudan’s opposition forces are not believed to possess these means of delivery.
 “Uganda denies use of cluster bombs in South Sudan conflict,” Xinhua (Kampala), 21 May 2014.
 Statement by Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 2 March 2015; Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement, “Norway condemns use of cluster bombs in South Sudan,” 22 February 2014; and statement by Wylbur C. Simuusa of Zambia, President of the Fourth Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 14 February 2014.
 The following states expressed concern at and/or condemned the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan in national statements and/or resolutions since 2014: Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 See, UN Security Council Press Statement, “Security Council, Adopting Resolution 2155 (2014), extends mandate of mission in South Sudan,” 27 May 2014.