February 2020 – The announcement by the United States reversing its policy stance on antipersonnel landmines, is a step backwards in the steady progress towards achieving a mine-free world. The new United States policy rolls back prohibitions on landmine production and use which it put in place in 2014. The new policy contrasts starkly with the US’ role as the single largest contributor to mine clearance efforts globally.
“This announcement flies in the face of 20 plus years of progress towards eliminating the human suffering caused by landmines and comes just weeks after most of the countries in the world recommitted to achieving a mine-free world by 2025, at the Fourth Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty” said ICBL-CMC Director Hector Guerra. “Regardless of the US position, the international community will continue its work to eliminate these terrible weapons” Guerra added.
PSALM students expressed dismay at the announcement. One PSALM student stated, “This announcement flies in the face of 20 plus years of progress, 20 of those years, PSALM has been working towards eliminating the human suffering caused by landmines. We are saddened by this news and hope our elected officials in Washington will stand as beacons of courage and let their colleagues know the importance of keeping the restrictions in place”. PSALM/WVCBL asks all concerned supporters to please contact national leaders.
In November 2019 States Parties to the Treaty met in Norway where they established the Oslo Action Plan to clear landmine contaminated lands and destroy stockpiles of the weapon by 2025. The only actors using landmines today are the government of Myanmar, and non-state armed groups, according to the 2019 Landmine Monitor report.
“It is extremely sad news to hear the US leadership denounce this life-saving treaty which has been adopted by most of the world” said Bekele Gonfa, Executive Director, Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization (Ethiopia). “As a landmine survivor I stand with mine-affected communities around the world and the international mine ban community in condemning production, use, and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines and working towards the mine-free 2025 goal.”
Under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, landmine production, use and stockpiling were banned due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon which overwhelmingly kills and maims civilians. The Treaty has been immensely successful in reducing landmine casualties and establishing a global norm against production and use of landmines so strong that it is adhered to even by states not party.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Jody Williams in 1997 for its work in advocating for a global mine ban. It has been instrumental in bringing civil society and landmine survivor voices into the diplomatic arena. ICBL campaigners, including PSALM/WVCBL, around the world work in a spirit of cooperation with their governments and other partners to ensure countries fulfill the promise of the Mine Ban Treaty.
- ICBL – www.icbl.org
- Mine Ban Treaty – www.apminebanconvention.org
- Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Twitter – twitter.com/MineMonitor
- ICBL Twitter - twitter.com/minefreeworld
- ICBL Facebook - www.facebook.com/pg/minefreeworld/
- ICBL Flickr - http://bit.ly/OsloRevConFlickr
- ICBL YouTube - http://bit.ly/ICBLosloVideo
- Landmine Monitor 2019 landing page, including new maps - http://bit.ly/LMM19report
- Monitor factsheets and infographics - http://bit.ly/LMMfacts
For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact:
- Jared Bloch, Communications and Network Administration Manager, (CET), Mobile/WhatsApp +41 (0) 78-683-4407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org