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Table of Contents
Country Reports
UGANDA, Landmine Monitor Report 2005

Uganda

Key developments since May 2004: The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to use antipersonnel mines. There are reports of Army seizures of antipersonnel mines from the People’s Redemption Army. In February 2005, a UNDP Mine Action Advisor was appointed to help the government establish a mine action program, which was officially launched in July 2005 by the Deputy Prime Minister. In March, the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees within the Office of the Prime Minister took responsibility for mine action coordination. In August through mid-September 2005, 20 army engineers were trained in mine clearance at the international training center in Nairobi. Mines Awareness Trust carried out a training needs assessment for mine clearance and mine risk education. At the First Review Conference, Uganda was identified as one of 24 States Parties with the greatest needs and responsibility to provide adequate survivor assistance. In June 2005, Uganda identified some of its objectives for the period 2005-2009 to address the needs of mine survivors.

Mine Ban Policy

Uganda signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 25 February 1999 and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 August 1999.

In May 2005, Uganda reported, “An implementation act is ready to be presented before Parliament.”[1] Later that month, two officials told Landmine Monitor that the Ministry of Defence was still reviewing the draft legislation.[2] The legislation has been in process since 2002.[3]

Uganda submitted its third Article 7 report on 11 May 2005, covering the period from 23 July 2003 to 1 May 2005.[4] Uganda did not submit its required annual updated Article 7 report in 2004.

Uganda participated in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Nairobi in November-December 2004, where its representative stated that continued mine use by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda represented a “critical challenge” for the country. She said that Uganda “looks forward to an international mechanism that can be used to bring non-state actors such as the LRA to account....”[5]

Uganda participated in the intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2005, where it gave statements on mine clearance and victim assistance to the Standing Committees.

Uganda has not engaged in extensive States Parties’ discussions on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1 and 2 of the Mine Ban Treaty, dealing with the issues of joint military operations with non-States Parties, foreign stockpiling and transit of antipersonnel mines, and antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices. With regard to mines retained under Article 3, “Uganda supports the position already taken by African states which have called for a minimum number of retained mines to be of a bare minimum and not in thousands.”[6]

On 3 November 2004, Uganda attended the inaugural meeting in New York of the Forum of Mine-Affected Countries (FOMAC), a group of high-level representatives from mine-affected countries.  FOMAC was formed to encourage cooperation between mine-affected countries.[7]

Uganda is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but not its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

The Ugandan Campaign to Ban Landmines released Landmine Monitor Report 2004 on 22 November 2004 at an event that featured a presentation by the Minister of State for Northern Uganda Reconstruction, Grace Akello. Campaigners, landmine survivors and government representatives attended.

Production and Transfer

The National Enterprise Corporation, a state-run facility located at Nakasongola, manufactured antipersonnel mines until at least 1995. It has been decommissioned. Uganda states that it has never exported antipersonnel mines.[8]

In January 2005, a UN report said that landmines had been supplied from a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) camp to a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in violation of a UN embargo. In July 2003, an arms embargo was imposed by the UN Security Council on the Ituri district and the provinces of North and South Kivu provinces in DRC. In a January 2005 report, the UN Group of Experts monitoring the arms embargo said it was investigating several apparent cases of weapons, including landmines, being delivered to Ituri through Uganda in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1552 (2004).

The report said: “For example, a former FAPC/UCPD soldier who had recently been demobilized informed the Group that arms had been supplied to the FAPC/UCPD camp in Mahagi from the Arua UPDF military camp. This soldier, who was responsible for the logistics of the operation, noted that the arms comprised 26 82-mm mortar shells, 10 mines and 22 cases of ammunition for AK-47s. The description of the arms was also confirmed by MONUC in Mahagi.”[9] The report did not specify if the mines were antipersonnel or antivehicle. In response, Uganda’s Minister of State for Defence said it was untrue that Uganda supplied weapons and other support to rebels in DRC.[10]

Landmine Monitor asked the government of Uganda for a specific response regarding the allegation of transfer of landmines. In a lengthy reply, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the allegations as “patently false and inflammatory.” It said, “The government of Uganda has always acted in conformity with her Landmine Ban Treaty obligations. She completed her stockpile destruction in July 2003.... There is therefore no extra stock from which even limited supplies to any organization can be got. The allegations that Uganda supplied landmines to DRC rebels are unacceptable and most unfortunate.... [Uganda] has neither violated the embargo nor at any time supplied landmines.”[11]

Stockpiling and Destruction

In July 2003, Uganda completed destruction of its stockpile of 6,383 antipersonnel mines. Another 1,764 antipersonnel mines have reportedly been retained for training purposes.[12] Uganda has not yet reported in any detail on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines—a step agreed to by States Parties in the Nairobi Action Plan that emerged from the First Review Conference.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces has continued to capture and recover weapons, including antipersonnel mines, from the Lord’s Resistance Army and other non-state armed groups active inside the country.

Use

Antipersonnel mines were used by both government forces and the NRA in the early 1980s and by rebel forces since that time in northern and western Uganda. There have been no allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by government forces inside Uganda in recent years. Landmine Monitor reported serious allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by Ugandan forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000.[13]

Non-State Armed Groups

The Lord’s Resistance Army has waged an armed struggle against the Ugandan government for the past two decades, often from bases in southern Sudan and, in the past, with the support of the government of Sudan. There has been a decrease in LRA activities since 2002, when the governments of Uganda and Sudan reached an agreement to allow Ugandan army units to pursue LRA units into Sudan under Operation Iron Fist.

In 2004 and early 2005, LRA was active in the country’s northern districts of Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira.[14] While LRA mine-laying is believed to continue, Landmine Monitor was not able to independently confirm specific instances of use of antipersonnel mines, and instead is reliant on media reporting and information provided by UPDF. In December 2004, Uganda characterized LRA mine use as “sporadic,” but a “very serious threat to the resettlement of the internally displaced people in the event of cessation of conflict.”[15]

UPDF regularly captures and recovers LRA stockpiles of landmines.[16] Between 1 January and 14 May 2005, UPDF reports it captured or received 24 antipersonnel landmines and 15 antivehicle mines as part of Operation Iron Fist.[17] In 2004, UPDF reports it collected 106 mines of all types.[18] According to a media report, in 2003 UPDF recovered a total of 99 antipersonnel mines and 35 antivehicle mines from LRA.[19]

There were several reports of UPDF weapons seizures from another non-state armed group called the People’s Redemption Army (PRA). In early 2005, media reported that UPDF had recovered weapons, including a total of 24 antipersonnel mines during operations to find PRA rebels.[20] In December 2004, media reported that seven landmines and other weapons had been recovered from a PRA house.[21]

Landmine and UXO Problem

As a result of internal conflict and general unrest in the region, Uganda is contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) throughout its western, northern and central districts. According to the UN, some 400 square kilometers are suspected to be contaminated.[22]

The areas most affected are: Luwero district north of Kampala and several other neighboring districts together known as the Luwero Triangle, where UXO remains after fighting in the early 1980s between government forces and the NRA; the western Rwenzori Mountains, primarily the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole, where contamination is the result of infiltration in the late 1990s by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF);[23] the north, where there is ongoing mine use by the LRA on a small-scale ad hoc basis.[24] In May 2005, LRA was said to be operating in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Apac and Lira,[25] and has occasionally launched attacks in Adjumani district.[26] In addition, the West Nile region (Moyo and Arua districts) was mined during the 1979 war that ousted Idi Amin Dada.[27]

Mine Action Program

During 2005, Uganda has been in the process of building a formal, civilian mine action program.[28] On 6 July 2005, at an introductory seminar on mine action in Kampala, the program was officially launched by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.[29]

In February 2005, a UNDP Mine Action Advisor was appointed to help establish a mine action coordination secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).[30] In March 2005, the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees within the OPM took over responsibility for mine action coordination.[31]

A Mine Action Steering Committee was established in September 2005, comprising permanent secretaries of relevant ministries and departments; the committee will be chaired by the OPM Permanent Secretary who wrote to other ministries asking them to nominate the relevant permanent secretaries as members of the steering committee. The committee will be responsible for mine action policies and guidelines. It will hold monthly coordination meetings; the secretariat of the committee is the mine action coordination office based in OPM.[32]

Implementing agencies for mine action will include the ministries of health (department of disability and rehabilitation), defence (UPDF), internal affairs, gender, labor and social affairs, as well as national and international NGOs that will be tasked with carrying out mine action.[33]

As of mid-2005, no operational mine action center existed in Uganda, but plans were underway to train staff for the center before the end of 2005, and to formally establish the center, as well as a regional office for the north of the country, in 2006.[34] Once the mine action center is established, OPM will retain the task of supporting the overall coordination of mine action, mainstreaming the activities of NGOs and other stakeholders, and supervising the mine action center.[35]

Uganda has, through the OPM, developed its first annual mine action plan covering needs assessment, victim assistance and mine risk education. Pending completion of a long-term mine action strategy, which was being drafted in May 2005, a one-year strategic plan was in place, based on NGO and international agency workplans submitted to the UNDP Mine Action Advisor for the first phase of activities.[36]

The mine action strategy will be integrated into national development programs. The Poverty Eradication Action Program (PEAP) mentions mine action, although not in detail. In the UNDP country program for 2006-2010, mine action is mentioned in relation to national policy on internally displaced persons.[37]

Survey, fencing/marking and clearance were prioritized, based on the impact on humanitarian suffering and casualties, areas needed for returnees and refugees to resettle, areas identified for reconstruction and rehabilitation projects, and the requirements of food security projects (agricultural and grazing land). Future plans for mine action include a needs assessment in northern Uganda in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira, and clearance which is expected to start in Kasese district, carried out by UPDF. There are also plans to install the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) in the mine action center in 2006, with staff trained in the second half of 2005, and to establish a mine/UXO casualty surveillance network at the Ministry of Health. The ministry will be tasked to identify focal points at the district level, and the process will follow downwards to the lower local administrative structures and refugee camp leaders.[38]

There were plans to have two quality assurance teams, supervised and trained by technical experts from international NGOs, in place by early 2006 with six mine detection dogs.[39] Handover of cleared land to communities will be done using the local council structure. Disputes will be handled by the district land boards, and elders will be consulted on land distribution.[40]

Between 1 August and 15 September 2005, 20 UPDF engineers were trained at the International Mine Action Training Center (IMATC) in Nairobi. Deminers were then organized into two small, independent teams for mine clearance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). In October 2005, additional UPDF-seconded Army engineers were due to start attending the IMATC in Nairobi, with funding from the UK; training is planned for 120 engineers. Once training is completed, these deminers will also form small mine clearance and EOD teams. By 2007, Uganda plans to have 12 survey/clearance/EOD teams undertaking mine action.[41]

In her speech at the opening of the seminar for landmine survivors from the Great Lakes Region in Kampala on 29 March 2005, Christine Aporu Amongin, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, reaffirmed the Ugandan government’s commitment to work with NGOs and community-based organizations in reducing mine risks.[42]

Survey and Assessment

Mines Awareness Trust (MAT) trained Anti-mine Network Rwenzori (AMNET-R) to carry out a needs assessment for mine clearance and mine risk education in Kasese district in 2004-2005. By May 2005, the assessment team, supervised by MAT, had identified 57 dangerous areas. In August, MAT carried out a rapid assessment in Adjumani district in northwestern Uganda.[43]

Mine and UXO Clearance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Uganda must destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2009. In May 2005, senior program staff took the view that Uganda will be free of at least the most severe humanitarian and economic effects of mines and UXO by 2009.[44]

Uganda reported no details of mined areas or mine clearance in its Article 7 report of 11 May 2005. Reportedly, however, in 2004 and through September 2005, UPDF personnel were involved in a small number of emergency EOD responses. UPDF possesses the South African mobile mine detection system, which carries out both detection and demolition; it is hoping to upgrade the system in the future.[45]

Mine Risk Education

Mine risk education (MRE) is not centrally coordinated in Uganda; capacity-building falls under the brief of the UNDP Mine Action Advisor who reports very limited funding for MRE.[46] Organizations involved in MRE include Mines Awareness Trust, AMNET-R, Associazione Volontari per il Servizio Internazionale (AVSI) and Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR).

The International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) for MRE have not been applied in Uganda. National standards have not been developed. However, AVSI states that its MRE activities are in accordance with international standards.[47] Mines Awareness Trust carried out a training needs assessment for mine clearance and MRE in Kasese district in 2004-2005, and in Adjumani district of West Nile region (northwestern Uganda) in mid-2005.[48]

Despite mine incidents continuing to occur in western Uganda (Kasese district), little MRE took place in the reporting period due to lack of funding.[49] AMNET-R focused its activities on a joint needs assessment with MAT that lasted eight months in 2004 through January 2005. The assessment was undertaken in 17 of 21 sub-counties.[50]

It established that children were more at risk from injury from UXO than from mines.[51]

In northern Uganda, in particular Gulu, Pader and Kitgum districts, MRE activities were undertaken since June 2004 by AVSI, in collaboration with the District Rehabilitation Office. Activities have been on three levels: a training-of-trainers to build capacity amongst camp leaders; awareness training targeting teachers, religious leaders, NGO staff and other community leaders; direct MRE, using drama and group discussions, to the community at large, in particular schoolchildren and teachers.[52]

Training-of-trainers was carried out in July and August 2004 for 27 camp leaders, six each from camps in Kitgum, Pader and Lira districts, and nine from Gulu district. In addition, 38 people from Lira district were trained, with funding from UNICEF. Workshops are held over three days and seek to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate MRE programming in their communities. Training covers: basic information concerning the possible location where mines may be found; recognition of mines and warning signs; other basic MRE information; facilitation skills, participatory methodologies, developing workplans and activities, and support requirements. All training-of-trainers participants are then provided with a training kit and materials to assist future work.[53]

Additionally a series of “standard” one-day training events have been held. These cover information necessary for participants to keep themselves and others in their community safe, including: background information on mine use in Uganda; basic information about mines; basic safe behavior messages, with marking and reporting messages; a discussion of possible communication strategies to help the participants’ community feel safe.

Community sensitization training is also undertaken through: a local drama group, which undertakes performances emphasizing safe behaviors, and demonstrating the dangers of mines in northern Uganda; followed by group discussions, and a question-and-answer session led by a member of the UPDF Engineering Department.[54]

AVSI has also undertaken a basic education program targeting schools. New MRE materials (school exercise books) were developed and distributed. Information and messages promoted during the training include: basic statistics on the number of injuries in the area and the scale of the problem; information on where mines may be placed; a technical session on recognition of mines, facilitated by officers from the UPDF Engineering Battalion, and basic dos and don’ts of being in a suspect area.[55]

AVSI has also printed and distributed stickers to be placed on jerry cans to remind people of mine and UXO when collecting water. It has paid for MRE messages to be broadcast in both Luo and English on local radio stations four times daily. There are also radio talk shows transmitted every two weeks, focusing on reports received from the communities.  Presenters include officers from UPDF, AVSI and CPAR, moderated by the district office.[56]

World Vision Canada planned to become involved in MRE in northern Uganda from June-July 2005.[57]

Funding and Assistance

Two donors reported funding mine action in Uganda in 2004. Canada provided C$184,155 (US$141,473) for integrated survivor support and injury prevention.[58] The European Commission (EC) contributed €70,000 ($87,066) for mine risk education and victim assistance.[59]

The total amount sought by Uganda for mine action in 2005 was $5,660,042.[60] In February 2005, UNDP in Uganda secured $200,000 from the Bureau of Crisis Recovery and Prevention, and $233,000 from Germany for capacity-building, including support for the UNDP Mine Action Advisor and establishing the mine action center office. The UK provided $220,000 to train and equip 120 Ugandan army engineers in humanitarian demining. The EC has pledged €1 million (approx. $1.24 million) for mine risk education, victim assistance and needs assessments in Uganda.[61]

Landmine and UXO Casualties

The number of new mine casualties in Uganda in 2004 is not known as there is no comprehensive data collection system. Limited information is available from general hospital records, media reports and information collected by NGOs.

In 2004, there were at least 31 new mine/UXO casualties, including five people killed and 26 injured. In February 2004, a soldier was killed and a driver seriously injured in Lira district, when a vehicle hired by a BBC crew was destroyed after hitting a landmine.[62] In July, two soldiers were killed and two others were injured by antipersonnel mines in Lamogi sub-county.[63] In August, a peasant from Nebbi district in West Nile region had both legs amputated after a mine explosion. In separate incidents, two soldiers were killed in mine explosions. All were admitted to Lacor hospital.[64] On 21 September, a soldier lost a leg in a mine explosion and received treatment at Kitgum Hospital. On 4 October, a peasant from Lamwo county lost a leg in a mine explosion and was hospitalized at Kitgum Hospital.[65] From January to the beginning of September 2004, AVSI identified 20 new mine/UXO survivors, including five children.[66] In 2003, AVSI recorded 53 civilian mine/UXO survivors, and other sources indicated that at least 11 people were killed and 48 injured in mine incidents.[67]

Casualties continued to be reported in 2005. In January, two soldiers lost a leg above the knee in mine incidents in Gulu district.[68] In another incident in January, in Kisongora village in Muhokya sub-county, two people were critically injured and three others received minor injuries. In March, at Karambi sub-county headquarters, one boy was killed and four others were seriously injured in mine/UXO explosions.[69] In one incident, the 13-year-old son of the local council chairman was killed while trying to detonate a device.[70] On 22 February, a soldier lost a leg in a mine explosion and received treatment at Kitgum Hospital.[71]

It is estimated that since 1998, 425 people were killed and around 400 lost limbs in landmine incidents.[72]

In September 2005, AVSI initiated a new program for mine casualty data collection in Gulu district. The first phase of the program is the training of volunteer data collectors, who will collect information on new casualties and mine survivors from past incidents.[73]

Survivor Assistance

At the First Review Conference in Nairobi in November-December 2004, Uganda was identified as one of 24 States Parties with significant numbers of mine survivors, and with “the greatest responsibility to act, but also the greatest needs and expectations for assistance,” in providing adequate services for the care, rehabilitation and reintegration of survivors.[74] Three mine survivors from Uganda participated in the Survivors Summit and the First Review Conference. From 29 March to 2 April 2005, mine survivors from Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda met in Kampala for the first landmine survivors exchange program, in cooperation with the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa Initiative.[75]

Uganda participated in the workshop on Advancing Landmine Victim Assistance in Africa in Nairobi on 31 May-2 June 2005, which was hosted by the co-chairs of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, to assist States Parties to develop plans of action to meet the aims of the Nairobi Action Plan in relation to mine victim assistance.

In June 2005, as part of its commitment to the Nairobi Action Plan, Uganda identified some of its objectives for the period 2005-2009 to address the needs of mine survivors, which include: establishing a database and collection mechanism that includes information on health and socioeconomic status; improving capacities in first aid and emergency care to reduce mortality in mine/UXO incidents; providing all landmine survivors with rehabilitation and strengthening rehabilitation services in western Uganda; strengthening capacities for psychosocial support; promoting the participation of landmine survivors in economic and social development, including through vocational training and micro-credit schemes, and improving accessibility to secondary and tertiary schools for children with disabilities; strengthening associations of mine survivors; improving and implementing legal provisions to ensure full and equal participation, and strengthening the representation of mine survivors and other persons with disabilities; and increasing awareness among mine/UXO survivors on the transmission and available services for HIV/AIDS. Uganda’s main strategy is to mainstream mine victim assistance into development programs.[76]

The public health system in the mine-affected areas of northern and western Uganda is ill-equipped to handle landmine casualties, although basic health facilities are found in hospitals throughout the country. In the most mine-affected areas, some facilities are overcrowded, understaffed, and lack equipment and supplies. First aid and emergency facilities are inadequate due to a lack of equipment, supplies, trained personnel and transport, and casualties often have to travel long distances before reaching health facilities that can provide adequate medical attention.[77]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Uganda Red Cross, supports the war-wounded, including mine casualties, in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader: they provide medical and other basic supplies to hospitals and health clinics, and evacuate emergency cases from clinics to hospitals. In 2004, ICRC supported: Kitgum Government Hospital and St Joseph Missionary Hospital in Kitgum district; Gulu Referral Hospital, St. Mary’s Lacor Missionary Hospital and Gulu Military hospital in Gulu district; Kalongo Missionary Hospital in Pader district. ICRC also extended support to health centers in camps for internally displaced persons in Labuje, Padibe, Mucwini, Kitgum Matidi and Akwang. Between January 2004 and March 2005, the three ICRC-supported hospitals in Gulu treated 1,519 casualties of landmines, gunshots, bomb blasts and other war-related injuries, and the hospitals in Kitgum and Prader treated another 489 war-related casualties. ICRC also sponsored a Ugandan prosthetic/orthotic technician to undertake a training course at the Tanzanian Training Center for Orthopedic Technologists.[78] In April 2005, ICRC conducted a three-day seminar on medical care and management of war wounds for 14 surgeons and health personnel in Kitgum, and in July, a two-week on-the-job training program on the treatment of war injuries was conducted at Gulu Government Hospital.[79]

There are five main orthopedic facilities in Uganda and seven smaller facilities, but only two are in the most mine-affected areas, Gulu and Fort Portal. The capacities of the orthopedic workshops are reportedly insufficient to meet the demand. Opportunities for psychosocial support and economic reintegration are very limited. Access to facilities, due to remoteness, lack of transport or difficult terrain, and a lack of knowledge of available services, have been identified as problems for mine survivors. In the north, the District Rehabilitation Office provides some community outreach and psychosocial support for war victims in Gulu. In 2004, 75 wheelchairs were provided for mine survivors; the budget was UGShs11,000,000 ($6,027) for 2004-2005.[80] The Kasese district local government has allocated UGShs2.4 million ($1,315) for the provision of orthopedic aids in the district budget for 2004–2005. In August 2004, the Ministry of Health provided six wheelchairs to be distributed in Kasese district.[81]

AVSI supports the Gulu Regional Workshop at the Gulu referral hospital and carries out its program in 13 districts of northern Uganda. The program assists all war victims, including mine survivors, and includes: outreach clinics for identification and follow-up; medical rehabilitation; support for patient welfare, including transport to and accommodation at the workshop and medical care; training of technical teams in first aid, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and the production of orthopedic and assistive devices; psychosocial support; and skills training. The program is unable to meet the demand for services and many people must wait months for treatment.  All services are provided free of charge.  In 2004, the workshop assisted 338 people, produced 260 prostheses (66 for mine survivors), and distributed 55 wheelchairs, 23 crutches and 109 other orthotic devices.  In addition, 50 victims of war-related trauma received vocational training, including 10 mine survivors. AVSI works with other partners, including the Rehabilitation Desk of the Ministry of Health, local authorities, UN agencies, local NGOs and Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR).[82] In January 2005, ICRC provided the workshop with a new oven for the production of prostheses worth UGShs3.4 million ($6,000), and World Vision Uganda donated 1,245 orthopedic devices, to assist about 500 people, worth UGShs7.9 million ($4,328).[83]

In 2004, a new three-year program for persons with disabilities started in the northern districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Apac and Lira, and in the West Nile districts of Nebbi and Arua, with funding of UGShs3 billion ($1.643,667) from Italy. The program is being implemented by the Italian NGOs AVSI in the north, and Collegio Universitario Aspiranti Medici Missionari (CUAMM) / Medici con l’Africa (Doctors with Africa) in West Nile. The project aims to support and extend medical rehabilitation services, particularly in the area of physiotherapy units and orthopedic workshops, and improve the working conditions for persons with disabilities through infrastructure development and disability policies.[84]

In April 2004, CPAR started a new program, Landmine Survivor Support and Injury Prevention Project, to build on the achievements of a program that ended in March 2003. The program, in Gulu district, includes vocational and business skills training, small revolving loans for income generating activities, agricultural seeds and tools, and psychosocial activities. In 2004, 285 people benefited from the program, including 138 landmine survivors; 80 graduates from the previous project were also supported. The program is mainly supported by the Canadian International Development Agency.[85]

In April 2004, Mines Awareness Trust, in collaboration with AMNET-R, started a new one-year program in western Uganda with funding from the UK-based Comic Relief. Activities include providing transport to take mine survivors to the orthopedic workshop in Fort Portal, and the transportation of produce from income generation activities to local markets.[86] In early 2005, in Kasese district, MAT through AMNET-R also sponsored two amputee rehabilitation specialists from the UK, to undertake a study on how to assist mine survivors cope with their current situations, and on prostheses more suitable for the mountainous terrain of the Rwenzori region.[87]

The Ministry of Defence has its own military hospitals at Mbuya, Gulu and Bombo. The UPDF has a casualty unit in Mubende, and a smaller unit in Nakasongola. The Uganda Veterans Assistance Board has a medical rehabilitation program for disabled soldiers.[88] On 20 May 2005, refurbishment started on the UPDF Mubende Rehabilitation Center for disabled soldiers, with support from a South African organization, AMA Medical Services. To mark the start of the project, 20 artificial limbs were given to the center. As part of the program, UPDF officers will be trained by AMA in South Africa to produce prostheses.[89]

In 2004, a new association, the Kasese Amputees Association, was formed to provide landmine survivors and other amputees with skills like shoe repair, tailoring and weaving, to facilitate their socioeconomic reintegration through income generation activities.[90]

Other local organizations identified as assisting mine survivors with medical care rehabilitation, psychosocial support, and economic reintegration through vocation training and micro credit schemes, include CARITAS Gulu branch, the GUU Foundation, Kitende Hostels Project in Kasese district, Lira Landmine Survivors Association in Kampala, Northern Uganda Association for Landmine Survivors, Kalambi Landmine Survivors Association, Kitholu Landmine Survivors Association, Mukunyu Landmines and Amputee’s Development Association, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) and People with Disabilities Uganda.[91]

Organizations representing persons with disabilities in Uganda, with the support of UK-based NGO Action for Disability and Development (ADD), include NUDIPU, National Union on Women with Disabilities of Uganda, Uganda National Association of the Blind, Uganda National Association on Physical Disabilities, Disabled Women’s Network and Resource Organization, Mental Health of Uganda and others.[92]

Disability Policy and Practice

Uganda has legislation and policies to protect the rights and needs of persons with disabilities. Uganda has a Minister of State for Disabled Persons, and a Department for Disabled Persons within the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. Five seats in parliament are reserved for representatives of persons with disabilities. A National Disability Council coordinates all disability activities in the country. However, there is a lack of funding to undertake any significant initiatives to improve opportunities for people with disabilities. The Ministry of Health is currently responsible for the coordination of victim assistance activities in Uganda.[93]

In collaboration with the Ministry of Construction and Housing, disability groups are drafting a “building control” bill to ensure that accessibility of disabled people is taken into consideration in the construction of roads and major buildings.[94]

The 2004/2005 national budget focuses on poverty eradication under the Poverty Eradication Action Plan. Persons with disabilities participated in the review of the plan, to ensure their needs and interests were taken into account.[95]


[1] Article 7 Report, Form A, 11 May 2005.

[2] Telephone interview with Capt. Kagoro Asingura, Legal Officer, Ministry of Defence, 24 May 2005; interview with Isaac Sebulime, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[3] The draft was titled “1997 Mine Ban Implementation Bill 2002.” In May 2002, Uganda reported the act was before parliament. In May 2004, Landmine Monitor was informed that a revised draft was due to be presented to the cabinet for approval before going to parliament.

[4] The UN records the submission date as 11 May 2005, but the report itself is dated 30 April 2004. The report on the UN website contains only Forms A and I. Previous Article 7 reports were submitted on 24 July 2003 and 24 May 2002.

[5] Statement by Deputy High Commissioner Agnes Kalibbala, Uganda High Commission in Kenya, Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World (First Review Conference), Nairobi, 2 December 2004.

[6] Interview with Dorah Kutesa, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geneva, 23 June 2004. The African position is contained in a draft document entitled “Africa’s Declaration for a World Free of Antipersonnel Mines, Nairobi, 29 November 2004.”

[7] United Nations, “Countries stand united in the battle against landmines,” 4 November 2004, www.un.int/angola/press_release_landmines. 

[8] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 91.

[9] United Nations Security Council, “Letter dated 25 January 2005 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the President of the Security Council,” S/2005/30, para 138, 25 January 2005, p. 34. FAPC/UCPD is Forces Armées du Peuple Congolais/Union de Congolais pour la Paix et la Democratie. MONUC is the UN Mission in the DRC.

[10] “United Nations: Rwanda and Uganda violate arms embargo in east Congo (DRC),” Associated Press (Kinshasa), 29 January 2005.

[11] Letter (MOT/383/406/01) from Isaac Biruma Sebulime, for the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kampala, to Stephen Goose, Landmine Monitor Ban Policy Coordinator, 2 September 2005. The full text of the letter can be found on the Landmine Monitor website at www.icbl.org/lm.

[12] “Uganda endeavors to reduce landmine risks,” Xinhua, 30 March 2005; Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 835; Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 476. Uganda first revealed details of its stockpile in May 2002 with its initial Article 7 report, declaring a stockpile of 6,782 mines, of which 4,382 would be destroyed and 2,400 mines retained for training. In May 2003, Uganda announced that the number of mines to be destroyed had increased to 5,592, due to new mines captured from rebels. On 7 July 2003, Uganda carried out a destruction event at Kigo Prison shooting range on the shores of Lake Victoria. Vice President Gilbert Bukenya initiated the first detonation, and government ministers, diplomats, army officers, religious leaders and the media witnessed the event. A larger detonation by the Army occurred later. At the event, Minister of State for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa reportedly said a total of 5,018 mines would be destroyed and the remaining 1,764 antipersonnel mines would be retained for training purposes. The Canadian government reported that the destruction certificate, dated 9 July 2003, indicates that 6,383 mines were destroyed.

[13] Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 115; Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 163-166; Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 835.

[14] Interview with Capt. Wilson Kabeera, UPDF Engineer, Kampala, 23 February 2005.

[15] Statement by Deputy High Commissioner Agnes Kalibbala, Uganda High Commission in Kenya, First Review Conference, Nairobi, 2 December 2004.

[16] Interview with Capt. Wilson Kabeera, UPDF Engineer, Kampala, 23 February 2005.

[17] Ministry of Defence website, “Operation Iron Fist SitRep: 1 January-14 May 2005,” 24 May 2005, www.defenceuganda.mil.ug.

[18] Ministry of Defence website, “Statistical Performance SitRep for 1 January 2004 to 30 December 2004,” 6 February 2005, www.defenceuganda.mil.ug. In July 2004, the Ugandan army crossed into Sudan to attack a makeshift headquarters of LRA leader, Joseph Kony, in Bileniang and recovered weapons including landmines. “Army raids LRA headquarters in southern Sudan,” IRIN (Kampala), 29 July 2004.

[19] “Landmines kill at least 425 Ugandans since 1998: report,” Xinhua, 25 November 2004.

[20] “Army Blasts Taban Amin Over PRA Talk,” Monitor (Kampala), 18 January 2005; “Uganda Army says the country’s northwest ‘peaceful’ after anti-rebel operations,” Monitor (Kampala), 4 March 2005. Another report mentions recovery of antipersonnel mines, but does not cite a total. “PRA Rebels Have Base in West Nile,” Monitor (Kampala), 7 February 2005.

[21] “Ugandan army discover rebel weapons cache,” Xinhua (Kampala), 6 December 2004; “Army claims recovering cache of arms along near Sudan border,” Agence France-Presse (Kampala), 6 December 2004.

[22] UN, “Country profile: Uganda,” www.mineaction.org.

[23] UN, “Country profile: Uganda,” www.mineaction.org.

[24] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 835.

[25] Interview with Woboya Vicent, Senior Assistant Secretary, Department of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Mine Action Coordination Focal Point (MACFP), Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[26] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 835.

[27] UN, “Country profile: Uganda,” www.mineaction.org.

[28] See, for instance, statement by Deputy High Commissioner Agnes Kalibbala, Uganda High Commission in Kenya, First Review Conference, Nairobi, 2 December 2004.

[29] Email from Hartmut Thoms, Mine Action Advisor, UN Development Programme (UNDP), Kampala, 30 August 2005.

[30] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005.

[31] Interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[32] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interviews with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May and 8 August 2005.

[33] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[34] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 12 September 2005.

[35] Interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 8 August 2005.

[36] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005, and 8 August 2005.

[37] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[38] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[39] Email from Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 30 August 2005.

[40] Interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005.

[41] Interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACPF, Kampala, 8 August 2005; information provided by Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, in email 29 August 2005, and interviews 18 May and 12 September 2005.

[42] “Uganda endeavors to reduce landmine risks,” Xinhua, 30 March 2005.

[43] Information provided by Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, in email 29 August 2005, and interviews, Jinja, 18 May and 12 September 2005.

[44] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005.

[45] Information provided by Lt. Richard Wahayinje, Liaison Officer, UPDF/OPM, Jinja, 14 September 2005.

[46] Telephone interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 21 June 2005.

[47] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; AVSI, “Humanitarian Mine Action Program, Summary Report,” November 2004, p.3.

[48] Email from Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 29 August 2005.

[49] For example, there was an explosion in January 2005 in Muhokya sub-county at Kisongora village in which two people were critically injured and three others received minor injuries. In March 2005, at Karambi sub-county headquarters one boy died immediately and four others were hospitalized with serious injuries. In each of these cases local volunteers trained by AMNET-R provided impromptu MRE training to those in the immediate vicinity. Information provided by Bahati Muhesi, Program Coordinator, AMNET-R, Kasese 30 June 2005.

[50] Interview with Wilson Bwambale, Program Manager, AMNET-R, Kasese, 30 June 2005.

[51] Email from Netsanet Solomon, Program Development Officer, MAT, 15 July 2005; interview with Wilson Bwambale, AMNET-R, Kasese, 31 March 2005.

[52] AVSI, “Humanitarian Mine Action Program, Summary Report,” November 2004, p. 3.

[53] AVSI, “Humanitarian Mine Action Program, Summary Report,” November 2004, p. 4.

[54] AVSI, “Humanitarian Mine Action Program, Summary Report,” November 2004, p. 5.

[55] Interview with Jeff Dixson, MRE coordinator, AVSI, 10 March 2005.

[56] Interview with Jeff Dixson, MRE coordinator, AVSI, 10 March 2005.

[57] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, Mine Action Advisor, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005.

[58] Mine Action Investments database; emails from Elvan Isikozlu, Mine Action Team, Foreign Affairs Canada, June-August 2005. Average exchange rate for 2004: US$1 = C$1.3017. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2005.

[59] EC, “Contribution to the Landmine Monitor 2005,” by email from Nicola Marcel, RELEX Unit 3a Security Policy, EC, 19 July 2005. Average exchange rate for 2004: €1 = $1.2438. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2005.

[60] UN, “Country profile: Uganda,” www.mineaction.org.

[61] Interview with Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 18 May 2005; interview with Woboya Vicent, OPM/MACFP, Kampala, 25 May 2005; additional information provided in email from Hartmut Thoms, UNDP, Kampala, 30 August 2005.

[62] Emmy Allio, “BBC crew vehicle hit in Lira,” New Vision (Kampala), 28 February 2004.

[63] Cornes Lubangakene, “Twelve LRA Killed,” New Vision, 21 July 2004.

[64] Interview with Dr. Martin Ogwang, Medical Superintendent, Lacor Hospital, and review of hospital records, 9 March 2005.

[65] Interview with Dr. Alex Layoo, Surgical Officer, Kitgum Hospital, and review of hospital records, 12 March 2005.

[66] Email to Landmine Monitor (HI) from Jeff Dixson, AVSI Gulu, 9 September 2004.

[67] For more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 840-841.

[68] Interview with Dr. Martin Ogwang, Lacor Hospital, and review of hospital records, 9 March 2005.

[69] Information provided by Bahati Muhesi, Program Coordinator, AMNET-R, Kasese, 30 June 2005.

[70] Interview with Robson Tembo, District Councilor for Persons with Disabilities, Kasese District, 29 March 2005; “Blast kills,” New Vision, 31 January 2005.

[71] Interview with Dr. Alex Layoo, Surgical Officer, Kitgum Hospital, and review of hospital records, 12 March 2005.

[72] “Report from the Inter-Agency Mine Action Assessment Mission to Uganda,” July 2004, p. 11; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 841.

[73] Email to Landmine Monitor (HI) from Andrew McCalister, MAP Coordinator, AVSI Gulu, 6 September 2005.

[74] United Nations, Final Report, First Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Nairobi, 29 November–3 December 2004, APLC/CONF/2004/5, 9 February 2005, p. 33.

[75] Email from Margaret Arach Orech, Co-Chair, ICBL Working Group on Victim Assistance, 25 July 2005.

[76] Presentation by Uganda, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 16 June 2005; presentation by Uganda, Workshop on Advancing Landmine Victim Assistance in Africa, Nairobi, 31 May-2 June 2005.

[77] For more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 841-842; see also ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 109.

[78] Interview with Juan Carlos Carrera, Communication Delegate, ICRC, Kampala, 25 April 2005; interview with Henry M.K. Ochieng, Communication Field Officer, ICRC, Kampala, 25 April 2005; ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 109; ICRC, “ICRC operations resumed in 2004, set to grow in 2005,” 14 April, 2005, p. 12, www.icrc.org.

[79] ICRC, “ICRC starts two-week surgery training in Gulu,” 6 July 2005.

[80] Interview with Benard Ocen, District Rehabilitation Officer, Gulu District Local Government Directorate of Community Services, Social Rehabilitation Department, Gulu, 9 March 2005; for more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 842-843. Average exchange rate for 2004, used throughout this report: $1 = UGS1825.18516. Landmine Monitor estimate based on information from www.oanda.com/convert/fxhistory.

[81] Interview with Robson Tembo, District Councilor for People with Disabilities, Kasese, 29 March 2005.

[82] Email to Landmine Monitor (HI) from Andrew McCalister, MAP Coordinator, AVSI Gulu, 6 September 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 843; Standing Tall Australia and Mines Action Canada, “101 Great Ideas for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Mine Survivors,” June 2005, p. 80.

[83] Interview with Juan Carlos Carrera, Communication Delegate, ICRC, Kampala, 25 April 2005; Lucy Lapoti, “World Vision Donates Medical Equipment,” The Monitor, 19 January 2005.

[84] Cornes Lubangakene, “Italy gives Sh3b to north PWDs,” New Vision, 15 April 2005, p. 9; see also www.doctorswithafrica.org.

[85] Standing Tall Australia and Mines Action Canada, “101 Great Ideas for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Mine Survivors,” June 2005, pp. 81-82; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 843-844.

[86] Interview with John Lampen, AMNET-R, Kasese, 31 March 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 844.

[87] Interview with Vicky Jarius, Prothetist, and Judy Ashby, Physiotherapist, from Sheffield Hospital, England (AMNET-R Volunteers), Kasese, 31 March 2005.

[88] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 845.

[89] “Repair of Mubende rehabilitation center,” New Vision, 23 May 2005, p. 4; “Mubende soldiers get artificial limbs,” Monitor, 24 May 2005, p. 3.

[90] Interview with Mary Alyiona, Coordinator, Kasese Amputees Association, Karambi sub-county, 31 March 2005.

[91] For more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 844-845; see also Standing Tall Australia and Mines Action Canada, “101 Great Ideas for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Mine Survivors,” June 2005, pp. 83-84.

[92] Interview with Deus Baraza, Research and Information Officer, ADD, Kampala, 20 April 2005.

[93] For more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 845-846; US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Uganda,” Washington DC, 28 February 2005.

[94] Interview with Julius Kamya, Policy and Research Officer, NUDIPU, Kampala, 20 April 2005.

[95] Interview with Julius Kamya, NUDIPU, Kampala, 20 April 2005.