Last updated: 22 April 2021

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Treaty Status | Management & Coordination | Impact (contamination & casualties) | Addressing the Impact (land release, risk education, victim assistance)

Country summary

Mine contamination in the Republic of Uganda was the result of armed conflict and civil strife. Mined areas were identified in the border areas with South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Luwero Triangle in the center of the country, the West Nile region, and the Rwenzori Mountains.[1] Uganda declared completion of its clearance obligations in November 2012.[2]

Due to the departure of many victim assistance providers and funders after the conflict ended and clearance was completed, one of the longest running international support to activities relevant to survivors has been through a reparations program of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) created under the Rome Statute.[3] In addition to implementing court-ordered reparations, it provides grant-based funding for assistance to victims and their families in Uganda, including mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors, through physical, psychological, and material support for physical rehabilitation activities.

Physical rehabilitation has been most affected with marked decreases in availability and the decline in quality of prosthetics, with just a small percentage of all persons with disabilities in need of assistive devices receiving services. There are also serious gaps in economic inclusion and psychological support as well as in the means to access services.

Treaty status

Treaty status overview

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party

Clearance completed in November 2012

Convention on Cluster Munitions


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

State Party


Management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination

Mine action management and coordination overview[4]

Mine action commenced

2008 with UNDP support to the Uganda Mine Action Centre (UMAC)

National mine action management actors

Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (explosive ordnance disposal, EOD)


From October 2019 to September 2020, the United States (US) Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians trained members of the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces on EOD procedures and techniques.[5]

Risk education management and coordination

No risk education coordination was reported.

Victim assistance management and coordination

Victim assistance management and coordination overview

Government focal points

Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MoGLSD)

Coordination mechanisms

None for victim assistance; Committee on Disability for broader disability issues

Coordination regularity and outcomes

Committee on Disability has planned to meet quarterly


National Comprehensive Action Plan on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2020–2025, February 2020

Disability sector integration

MoGLSD also responsible for disability planning and projects

Survivor inclusion and participation

Survivors participated in specific public events and at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities


Laws and policies

In February 2020, the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MoGLSD) published the recently adopted National Comprehensive Action Plan on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2020–2025.[6] The development of the plan was informed at a national meeting, held in October 2018, with the participation of more than 50 disability and victim assistance experts, representatives of relevant ministries, and landmine survivors’ and persons with disabilities’ organizations. The meeting aimed at initiating the process of revising the national disability policy and incorporating a victim assistance inclusive perspective. The meeting was held by Uganda with the support of the Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit and funded by the European Union (EU).[7]

Uganda has a complex framework of instruments and institutions responsible for disability rights issues. Serious gaps in legislation as well as in the implementation of disability policies and strategies has been recognized as a major challenge in the country. Actions to implement policy commitments were absent or insufficient. It was reported that the MoGLSD receives just 1% of the central government’s annual budget, making it the least funded of all government ministries.[8]

After a decade-long process, in June 2019, Uganda announced the adoption of the National Transitional Justice Policy, including an area of reparations. The policy was officially released in September. However, despite victim’s expectations the section of the policy on reparations is unclear and omits establishing a reparations fund that was mentioned in earlier drafts.[9] In 2020, ActionAid Uganda held a meeting in Gulu on the National Transitional Justice Policy, including for landmine survivors.[10] Previously, landmine survivors in Gulu and Amuru districts have threatened to sue the government for failing to protect them during the war and continuously neglecting their impairments and disabilities.[11]



Contamination overview


Completed clearance in 2012

Cluster munition remnants

Reported cleared

Other ERW contamination


Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war.


Landmine contamination

Uganda completed mine clearance operations in November 2012 and, at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in December 2012, declared it had met its Article 5 obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty.[12]

Cluster munition remnants contamination

All known cluster munition remnants are reported to have been cleared in Uganda.[13]

ERW contamination

The extent of ERW contamination is unknown. ERW are frequently referred to in media reports as “landmines.”

ERW continue to impact livelihoods and access to agricultural land and army clearance personnel and local officials cited in the media noted that “failure to urgently resolve the issue of unexploded ordnance is hindering recovery of the region where agriculture is the main economic activity.”[14]


Casualties overview


All known mine/ ERW casualties as of end 2019

2,808 casualties (533 killed and 2,275 injured)


Casualties: details

No mine/ERW casualties were identified in Uganda for 2018 or 2019, however due to a lack of a systematic reporting mechanism casualties may have gone unrecorded. The Monitor identified 14 ERW casualties in 2016 and 16 in 2017.

At least two casualties were reported in 2020.[15] Casualties continued to occur in 2021, when six South Sudanese children were killed and several others were injured in February by unexploded ordnance in a refugee settlement.[16] Local police said the children picked the explosive from a bush and took it home, where they were joined by other children and tried to cut the grenade when it exploded.[17]

Following a peak of about 150 mine/ERW casualties recorded per year during 1996–1997, the number of annual casualties decreased significantly.[18] The most recently reported antipersonnel mine casualty occurred in November 2012, before Uganda declared itself mine-free in December of that same year.[19] However there continued to be casualties referred to in media reports as “landmine” victims.

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Uganda is not known. At least 2,808 casualties (533 killed and 2,275 injured) had been identified by December 2019.[20]

Cluster munition casualties

A 2006 survey of mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) casualties in Gulu district determined that 3% of recorded casualties (1,387 at the time) were caused by cluster munition remnants. Five other suspected submunition casualties were reported in 2006.[21] As of the end of 2019, no additional casualties caused by cluster munition remnants had been identified since 2006.

Addressing the impact

Mine action

Operators and service providers

Clearance operators


Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Combat Engineering Department /EOD teams, if requested by Uganda Police Force


Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Uganda became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, but mine clearance and survey only commenced in 2008 with UNDP support. In August 2009, Uganda applied for a three-year extension of its Article 5 deadline noting it had vastly underestimated the time needed to clear the known mined areas. The extension request was approved at the Second Review Conference, four months after Uganda’s initial Article 5 deadline had expired. In accordance with the three-year extension to its clearance deadline, Uganda was required to clear all antipersonnel mines in mined areas by 1 August 2012.[22] From 2009, under the technical supervision of Danish Demining Group (DDG), Uganda began to make progress in clearing mines while facing numerous challenges, including inadequate survey information on the locations of mined areas, lack of national mechanical capacity, dense vegetation, and difficult terrain, as well as lengthy and bureaucratic delays. Uganda missed its August 2012 clearance deadline and did not met its Article 5 obligations until November 2012. Uganda declared it had completed clearance at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in December of that year.[23]

Explosive ordnance disposal

In 2020, army EOD staff reportedly said that they were “financially incapacitated to conduct demining exercises.”[24] In 2017, it was reported that the army could only respond to EOD tasks if called by the police.[25] In December 2012, a media report said of the completion of clearance declaration that it “does not necessarily mean that no single mine and other unexploded ordnance cannot be found.”[26]

Risk education

No risk education activities were reported.

Victim assistance

Victim assistance providers and activities

Victim assistance operators

Type of organization

Name of organization

Type of activity




Grants and cash transfers for persons with disabilities; data collection; training on psychosocial support

Ministry of Health

Medical care; community-based rehabilitation (CBR); officially responsible for 10 orthopedic workshops

Mulago National Referral Hospital Orthopedic Workshop

Prosthetics and orthotics (barely functional)

Arua Regional Referral Hospital orthopedic center

Physical rehabilitation in West Nile region (northwestern Uganda)

Fort Portal Hospital/Buhinga Orthopedic Workshop

Prosthetics services not functioning, but based in Kabarole district, western Uganda. Fort Portal is the referral hospital for the districts of Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kasese, Ntoroko, and Kyenjojo

Gulu Regional Orthopedic Workshop (GROW)/Gulu Referral Hospital

Prosthetics and orthotics physical rehabilitation for conflict victims and main rehabilitation center for mine/ERW survivors supported by AVSI through the Trust Fund for Victims

Lira Regional Rehabilitation Hospital

Minor repairs to prosthesis in northern region


Amputee Self Help Network Uganda (ASNU)

Survivor founded non-governmental organization providing psychosocial support, empowerment, and advocacy for people with amputations

Ave Maria Vocational Training Center

Vocational training


Vocational training

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU)

Physical rehabilitation services, CBR; private user-pays prosthetics services for adult amputees

Kasese Landmine Survivors Association (KALSA)

Peer support and advocacy; income-generation activities

Ugandan Landmine Survivors’ Association(ULSA)

Economic inclusion; access physical rehabilitation; advocacy

Local landmine survivors organizations

Apac Landmine Survivors Association

Amuru Landmine Survivors Association

Gulu Landmine Survivors Group

Kitgum Landmine Survivors Association

Lira Landmine Survivors Association

Oyam Landmine Survivors Association

Pader Landmine Survivors Group

Agago Landmine Survivors Association

Yumbe Landmine Survivors Association/Yumbe United Amputee Association

Variously: peer support and advocacy; income-generation activities: vocational training and socio-economic projects; housing support



Physical rehabilitation through GROW

Association for Aid and Relief (AAR)-Japan

Income-generating projects; access to rehabilitation and prosthetics; capacity-building for peer support

Humanity & Inclusion (HI)

Identifies vulnerable persons with disabilities among refugees entering Uganda; facilitates access to humanitarian services and aid; psychosocial support; rehabilitation care; mobility aids for refugees; and financial assistance to refugee families

Transcultural Psychological Organisation (TPO)

Psychosocial support


Prosthetics and training and materials


Major developments

Needs assessment

No assessments of the needs of survivors were reported. There was no comprehensive data on mine/ERW survivors and victims because data was not disaggregated, making it difficult to properly identify specific needs and requirements.[27] However, a data collection tool developed by the MoGLSD and Ministry of Health was available and could be updated for use in survey. In mid-2018, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), in consultation with the MoGLSD, began undertaking the Uganda Functional Disability Survey based on the Washington Group Questions on Disability.[28] Data collection on persons with disabilities remained a challenge. The 2014 national census, released by the UBOS in 2016, found that the disability prevalence rate was about 12%.[29]

Medical care and rehabilitation

The programs that specifically target persons with disabilities were limited both in scope and scale due to limited funding and the lack of capacity in mechanisms for delivery of services.[30] Since the Ministry of Health assumed responsibility for rehabilitation services in 2012, many rehabilitation centers have been lacking affordable assistive devices that were adequate for use. Uganda’s disability services supply chain relied mostly on numerous donors, which resulted in a fragmented inconsistent supply devoid of solid national coordination. The central national referral service at Mulago was not able to improve the quality of its services or to provide leadership for the establishment of any new services.[31]

Health and rehabilitation systems remained under-funded and inaccessible due to costs and distances to reach facilities. Quality healthcare was unaffordable and inaccessible to survivors in many regions, and particularly in remote and rural areas where private health centers were not profitable and limited non-governmental organization (NGO) funding for health services and essential transportation to medical facilities had significantly declined in the period from 2014 to 2019. At times when the health budget cycle resulted in a situation in which the allocated budget was fully spent, stores of medicines were not available.[32]

Overall, there were 10 Ministry of Health monitored referral rehabilitation centers, but these were inadequately supplied and poorly functioning. The distribution of materials for manufacturing prosthesis and mobility devices though the state system was not adequately reaching all those in need and prostheses were not affordable for the majority of persons with disabilities. It was reported that the state was not providing funding for rehabilitation centers, which are key providers of mobility devices. The Ministry of Health placed disability services under the category of an unfunded priority. Therefore, rehabilitation centers relied on NGO support and international contributions. A change would require attention to the issue by the finance ministry and the allocation of a dedicated rehabilitation budget.[33]

Survivor groups reported that a Ministry of Health budget for support to prosthetics centers and medical assistance was needed for sustainable access to prostheses. Rehabilitation was not considered as a priority. Corrective surgery of amputated leg stumps is often necessary in order to fit prostheses, due to the poor quality of the initial amputation surgery. This follow-up surgery costs more than most survivors can afford.[34] Landmine survivors in Acholi sub-region have asked the Ministry of Health to allocate funds to the Gulu Regional Referral Hospital to help manufacture prosthesis at the Gulu Regional Orthopaedics Workshop (GROW).[35]

Survivors in Northern Uganda need to travel long distances to access prosthetic limb services at GROW. The services were relatively expensive to set up and maintain. A 2020 study found that it was not feasible for the Ministry of Health to open more centers in the region. As part of the study, outreach clinics were set up, especially to reach out to survivors with complex stump-related conditions that require further corrective surgery before a prosthetic limb can be fitted.[36]

Since 2008, the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) has worked with implementing partners to provide prosthetics, reconstructive and general surgery, fragment removal, and physiotherapy sessions. Due to its mandate, TFV only responded to the needs of victims of conflict injured in Uganda after 2005.[37] In February 2018, TFV launched a call for expressions of interest under the ICC new assistance project “Integrated Physical and Psychological Rehabilitation Assistance for Victims in northern Uganda.”[38] TFV assistance program in Uganda was renewed in April 2019 for another five-year programming cycle (until April 2024).[39]

AVSI is the implementing partner of TFV for physical rehabilitation and prosthetics, in partnership with the Ugandan government at the AVSI-run GROW. It remained one of the few facilities in Uganda capable of manufacturing prostheses. Interviews with beneficiaries indicated that some survivors avoid GROW because of the rigorous TFV assessment to establish the time period and cause of injury. Ongoing discussion with the government on future support or management takeover of the centre have been inconclusive as of 2019.[40] In 2020, the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare said that the ministry had to take over responsibility for managing GROW and was aware of “the warnings development partners are giving their clients to keep their limbs well if funding stops.”[41]

The AVSI Foundation received a new five-year grant (for the period 2019 to 2024) from TFV for medical rehabilitation to “physically disabled victims of war” in northern Uganda through provision of prosthetics, orthotics, and physiotherapy, social inclusion, and psychosocial rehabilitation in northern Uganda.[42]

In 2019, Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan held a community workshop in Kasese with the Kasese Landmine Survivors Association (KALSA) and Uganda Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA) to distribute “a prosthetic leg care guide.” The workshop also aimed to create a peer support network for landmine survivors. Participants met with local government and the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU).[43]

Annually, from 2016 through 2019, the NGO SwissLimbs in collaboration with the AVSI Foundation and GROW, provided a technical training module on prosthetic and orthotic technologies.[44]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

No improvements in psychosocial assistance including peer support were reported. A number of survivor groups create and sell regionally specific crafts to generate income based on incentive programs established many years ago. TFV program was reported to have fallen short on social inclusion goals, and while “helpful to those who needed medical assistance like limb replacements, it failed to have a follow-up mechanism to replace, repair and construct the lives of these victims.”[45]

The Special Grant for Persons with Disabilities, which started in 2009, is a national program for economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. The grant covers all regions of Uganda and specifically to enables the groups to start income-generating activities.[46]

The Transcultural Psychological Organisation (TPO) was granted a five-year partnership with TFV, for the period from April 2019 to April 2024, to provide physical and psychological rehabilitation services to conflict survivors in Gulu, Pader, and Agago districts. The program is aimed to improve access to rehabilitative, surgical and medical services. It includes capacity social workers and developing referral pathways among service providers.[47]

Cross-cutting issues

Uganda is receiving and hosting many refugees who are mine survivors, and thus required additional resources to meet their needs.[48] Humanity & Inclusion (HI, formerly Handicap International) relaunched programs in 2017 and worked with refugees with disabilities, most of whom have fled the conflict in South Sudan.[49]

[1] Uganda Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 17 August 2009, p. 3.

[2] Email from Vincent Woboya, Uganda Mine Action Centre (UMAC), 9 July 2009; and letter from Pius Bigirimana, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister to Jürg Streuli, President of the Mine Ban Treaty Ninth Meeting of States Parties, 2 July 2009.

[3] The Rome Statute forms the basis for two bodies: the International Criminal Court (ICC) which investigates and prosecutes the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression; and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) which aims to respond to the harm resulting from those crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC. See, TFV website.

[4] Scott Bigley, “Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians host training in Uganda,” United States (US) Africa Command, 9 December 2019.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Republic of Uganda, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MoGLSD), “The National Comprehensive Action Plan on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2020-2025,” February 2020.

[7] Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, “Uganda National Victim Assistance Dialogue,” (undated, but 2018).

[8] Development Initiatives, “Governance of disability inclusion and data in Uganda,” in Uganda's Disability Data Landscape and the Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, 30 September 2020.

[9] Lawyers Without Borders (Avocats Sans Frontières), “The long walk: Uganda adopts a Transitional Justice Policy,” 14 October 2019.

[11]Landmine survivors to sue government over negligence,” Daily Monitor, 28 July2015; and notes from Monitor Field Mission July–August 2017.

[12] Declaration of completion of implementation of Article 5 by Uganda, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2012.

[13] Email from Vicent Woboya, Director, UMAC, 8 April 2010.

[14]Why it may take decades to free the north of landmines,” Daily Monitor, 29 January 2020; and “Land mines, bombs disrupt farming in northern Uganda,” Daily Monitor, 12 September 2017.

[15]Why it may take decades to free the north of landmines,” Daily Monitor, 29 January 2020.

[16] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Six children killed and several others severely wounded by unexploded ordnance blast in Ugandan refugee settlement,” 19 February 2021.

[17]4 children killed in Uganda grenade explosion,” Xinhua, 18 February 2021.

[18] Casualty data analysis over time based on previous Monitor data; and “Mines/UXO victim status in IMSMA: Mine and UXO Victims data collected by UMAC [Ugandan Mine Action Center]/DDG [Danish Demining Group], Handicap International [HI] and AVSI [Association of Volunteers in International Services] in Uganda 1971–2011,” provided by email from Afedra Robert Iga, UMAC, 25 May 2011.

[19] Media monitoring from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2019; and email from Samuel Omara, Information Management Officer, DDG/UMAC, 22 March 2013.

[20] Through August 2010 there were 2,744 casualties (524 killed; 2,220 injured) registered. No further casualties were confirmed between the date of publication (August 2010) and the end of 2010. Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), “Comprehensive Plan on Victim Assistance 2010–2014,” Kampala, August 2010, p. 4; emails from Samuel Omara, UMAC, 27 June 2012, and 22 March 2013; and media monitoring, 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2019.

[21] AVSI, “Gulu District Landmine/ERW Victims Survey Report,” May 2006, p. 20; and HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI: May 2007), p. 147.

[22] Email from Vincent Woboya, UMAC, 9 July 2009; and letter from Pius Bigirimana, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister to Jürg Streuli, President of the Mine Ban Treaty Ninth Meeting of States Parties, 2 July 2009.

[23] Email from Vincent Woboya, UMAC, 11 August 2012; Statement of Uganda, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 May 2012; and, Declaration of completion of implementation of Article 5 by Uganda, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2012.

[24]Why it may take decades to free the north of landmines,” Daily Monitor, 29 January 2020.

[25]Land mines, bombs disrupt farming in northern Uganda,” Daily Monitor, 12 September 2017.

[26]North leaders dispute report declaring Uganda mine-free,” Daily Monitor, 31 December 2012.

[27] Agnes Nampeera, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda, “Landmine Victim Assistance: The Ugandan Experience,” South Sudan National Victim Assistance Dialogue: Meeting the Needs of Mine Victims, Juba, 17-19 July 2019.

[28] Interview with Beatrice Kaggya, Commissioner for Disability and Elderly, MoGLSD, 2 August 2017; and presentation by Beatrice Kaggya, Uganda National Victim Assistance Dialogue, Kampala, 11 October 2018.

[29] Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) 2016, “The National Population and Housing Census 2014 – Main Report,” Kampala, 24 March 2016.

[30] Agnes Nampeera, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda, “Landmine Victim Assistance: The Ugandan Experience,” South Sudan National Victim Assistance Dialogue: Meeting the Needs of Mine Victims, Juba, 17-19 July 2019.

[31] Sandra Sexton, Harold Shangali, and Baraka Munissi, “Prosthetics & Orthotics Impact Assessment East Africa: Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda,” International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), December 2012, p. 36.

[32] Notes from Monitor Field Mission July–August 2017, and visit in October 2018.

[33] Observations from Monitor Field Mission July–August 2017, and from a visit in October 2018; and National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), “Alternative Report to the UN Committee of Experts on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” December 2014, paras. 64–65.

[34]Opige’s left leg was buried at his home,” Daily Monitor, 10 March 2020.

[35]Land mine victims demand artificial limbs,” Daily Monitor, 7 July 2015; and notes from Monitor Field Mission July–August 2017, and visit in October 2018.

[36] Pamela Atim, Constantine Loum, Tom R. Okello, Samuel Magada, Walter Onen Yagos, Peter Abelle, Emmanuel B. Moro, Jonathan Huck, Anthony Redmond, and Mahesh Nirmalan, “Prevalence of Major Limb Loss (MLL) in Post conflict Acholi sub-region of Northern Uganda: Cross sectional study,” 14 May 2020.

[37]Opige’s left leg was buried at his home,” Daily Monitor, 10 March 2020.

[39] TVF, “Northern Uganda,” undated.

[40] Anne Dutton and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, “Between Reparations and Repair: Assessing the Work of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims Under Its Assistance Mandate,” Chicago Journal of International Law: Vol. 19: No. 2, Article 4, February 2019, pp. 526 and 534 -535.

[41]Opige’s left leg was buried at his home,” Daily Monitor, 10 March 2020.

[42] TFV, “Northern Uganda,” December 2020.

[43] Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan, “Uganda: Staying close to every landmine survivor and supporting each other within the community,” 10 January 2020.

[45] Grace Matsiko, “ICC Trust Fund ‘A good day today is better than a bad day tomorrow’,” in, Special Focus “The Failure of the ICC Victims Fund,” Uganda, 17 December 2020.

[46] TFV, “Northern Uganda,” December 2020; and statement of Uganda, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Olso, November 2019.

[47] TFV, “Northern Uganda,” December 2020.

[48] Statement of Uganda, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Geneva, 9 June 2017.

[49] HI, “Uganda,” undated.