WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 60 national and international groups urged the administration, Congressional leadership, and the American public today to reject once and for all the worldwide production and use of anti-personnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Their letter, excerpted below, is in response to the administration’s new landmine policy and can also be viewed in full here.
“In response to the January 31 announcement by the White House of the Department of Defense’s new landmine policy, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to lift existing American prohibitions against the use of landmines. We urge the White House and Department of Defense (DOD) to reconsider and take steps to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. We urge Congress to take immediate measures to block the deployment of landmines and prohibit the development, production, or other acquisition of new antipersonnel landmines.
Landmines are inherently indiscriminate weapons that maim and kill long after conflicts end. Over the past twenty years, the world has rejected antipersonnel landmines through the Mine Ban Treaty – to which 164 countries are states parties, including every other member of NATO. While still not a signatory, the U.S. has functionally adhered to several provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty – except those that would prohibit the use of landmines on the Korean peninsula. This new landmine policy starkly sets the U.S. apart from its allies and has drawn international condemnation, including from the European Union.
The United States has not used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, excluding the use of a single munition in 2002; it has not exported them since 1992 and has not produced them since 1997. In the last five years, only the government forces of Syria, Myanmar, and North Korea, as well as non-state actors in conflict areas, have used landmines. Of the more than 50 countries that once produced landmines, 41 have ceased production. Under this new landmine policy, the U.S. will rejoin a small handful of mine-producing countries. This is not company the U.S. should keep.”
To view the letter in full, including the 60+ co-signing organizations, click here.