ACTION ALERT: Sign the Treaties on Landmines and Cluster Bombs

January 31st, 2009 - by admin

Ban Mines USA & Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2009-01-31 20:56:43

US Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs
Friends Committee on National Legislation

• Email the Obama team: Call for a full policy review on landmines and cluster bombs.
Make Your Voice Heard!

(January 31, 2009) — On December 3rd, as half of the world’s governments signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, a spokeswoman for the Obama Transition Team said that the next president would “carefully review the new treaty”.

Urge the Obama Administration to conduct a thorough review of U.S. policy on both landmines and cluster munitions during its first six months. Ask that the policy review give equal weight to U.S. diplomatic interests and humanitarian concerns, as well as military interests.

Some talking points follow.
• The United States’ closest military allies negotiated the Convention on Cluster Munitions because these indiscriminate and unreliable weapons pose an unacceptable threat to civilian populations during and long after combat operations have ceased—in much the same way as landmines.

• Secretary Gates has recognized cluster munitions are weapons of grave humanitarian concern and issued a policy to begin destroying them in 2018; U.S. policy on landmines, as articulated in 2004, also encompasses a phased elimination of most mines from operational planning. The U.S. has not deployed antipersonnel landmines since 1992, and has not used cluster munitions since 2003.

• President Obama’s election stirred great enthusiasm and excitement around the world, and the Obama campaign made clear that it is committed to restoring our diplomatic alliances and reestablishing the United States as a moral leader and follower of international humanitarian law.

• Speaking at the treaty signing, the British Foreign Minister, representing the world’s third largest user of cluster munitions in the past decade, said all states should “tell those not here in Oslo that the world has changed, that we have changed it and that a new norm has been created.” He went on to say: “Our global community must continually keep challenging itself about the way it behaves. Political leaders must show they are prepared to listen and respond to the voices of victims, of civil society, and of ordinary people.”

• The use of weapons that disproportionately take the lives and limbs of civilians and children for months, years and even decades after the fighting stops, are wholly counterproductive in today’s conflicts, where winning over the local population is essential to mission success.

• Standing outside of these treaties—and thereby holding out the threat that U.S. forces might use these weapons—runs counter to efforts to reassert our nation’s moral leadership.
Ask others to take this action, too!

•For more information on the Mine Ban Treaty and countries that have ratified it, contact:
• The International Campaign to Ban Landmines
• US Campaign to Ban Landmines, c/o Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 2nd Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: (202) 547-6000. Fax: (202) 547-6019.

Campaign Developments
• Postcard from Oslo
The world says ‘Yes We Can’ ban cluster bombs!
• Cluster Bomb Survivors Tour the Midwest
Urging citizens to urge their Senators to support the Cluster Bomb Ban.
• Pentagon Abandons New Anti-personnel Landmine.
Move ensures that U.S. will not violate Ottawa treaty with new ‘Spider’ system.
• Remembering 9/11 with Call for Demining, Ban on Clusters
Family members and US campaigners work to protect innocent civilians.
• Russia and Georgia Use Cluster Bombs in Georgia
Campaign sends letters to embassies calling for cessation and clearance.
• Senators Call on Secretary Gates to Scrap Cluster Bombs
Letter urges Pentagon to change policy, do more to protect civilians.
• Pentagon Releases ‘New’ Cluster Bomb Policy: 10 More Years of the Same
The Mine Ban Treaty and the U.S. Government: 10 Years and Waiting
Press release on the U.S. government’s record on antipersonnel landmines