Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2004-12-04 10:48:36
The United States stands in the way of a landmine-free world. The US Senate should take concerted action to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. From November 29 to December 3, more than 140 governments gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss how the international community can build on the progress of the past five years and decide which actions they must take to build a mine-free world.
It has been five years since the Ottawa Mine-Ban Treaty came into force. Since then, global cooperation in pursuit of a mine-free world has yielded significant results.
A total of 76 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty since 1999 and 67 states before that year. The summit in Nairobi is encouraging the 42 non-signatory countries to sign the treaty and to adopt an action plan on future demining, stockpile destruction, and victim assistance requirements.
One country conspicuously absent from these historic proceedings is the United States.
The US has not signed the mine-ban treaty and continues to reserve the right to produce and use antipersonnel mines – although it has not produced any mines for more than seven years. Other states that have not signed the treaty, such as China, Cuba, and India, sent delegations to Nairobi. The US did not.
The failure of the US to engage the international community on this issue provides cover to other states that have refused to sign this life-saving treaty. Many states claim that they will not take this issue seriously until the US ratifies the treaty.
While antipersonnel mines continue to kill or maim thousands worldwide, the US continues to insist that landmines are an essential war-fighting tool. It is time for the US to renounce all use of these indiscriminate weapons.
Contact your senators. Tell them how disappointed you are that the US continues to hold on to its landmines and refuses to join the international community in banning these weapons.
Ask them to communicate to the administration — either directly or through floor speeches — that they regret the administration’s decision to perpetuate this man-made human tragedy.
Tell them that a mine-free world is possible, if only governments have the will to make it so.
Background: For a new article on the status of the Mine Ban Treaty by FCNL Senior Fellow on Military Affairs Dan Smith, click here
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