What is happening?
- The US announced its new landmine policy on January 31, 2020.
- The new policy permits US troops to use antipersonnel landmines anywhere in the world at any time and allows the US to resume production of antipersonnel mines.
- The US Administration cancelled the Obama Administration’s policy to prohibit United States military forces from employing antipersonnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula, to prohibit production and acquisition of antipersonnel mines, and to establish the goal of joining the Mine Ban Treaty.
Photo: Facing Finance Germany event responding to US policy shift.
Why is this important?
- This is a complete and deplorable reversal of previous US policy which prohibited the production and acquisition of antipersonnel landmines, as well as their use outside of a future conflict in the Korean Peninsula.
What can you do?
- Send a letter to President Trump and his Administration NOW!
- Here you will find a template deploring these actions – you just need to include the information that is highlighted in yellow, go to this link: https://bit.ly/2Uracp8 complete the registration form and copy and paste the template that is in the attached file in the box comment ‘what would you like to say’.
- Request a meeting with the US Embassy in your country to discuss the decision to cancel the policy to eliminate all antipersonnel landmines.
- Here you will find a letter template to send to the US Embassy in your country requesting such meeting, you just need to include the information that is highlighted in yellow. During the meeting with your Embassy you can also share that same letter.
- If you don’t manage to get a meeting with the US Embassy in your country, you can still take action by sending a copy of the letter that you send to the Whitehouse web page, to the Ambassador’s email.
- Speak up on social media and condemn this deplorable reversal of previous US policy.
- Encourage your government (if a State Party to the Treaty) to issue a public statement against this step and to engage with the US bilaterally on this matter.
Where can I find more information about this?
- ICBL press release: http://bit.ly/PR_USpolicy
- Humanity and Inclusion press release: https://bit.ly/2GOwjOe
- Human Rights Watch press release: https://bit.ly/31ofD9E
- US Campaign to Ban Landmines: joint NGO statement on US policy decision – http://www.banminesusa.org/news/2020/02/20/joint-statement-on-the-trump-administrations-new-landmine-policy/
- The decision statement: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-107/
For further information contact ICBL Advocacy and Campaign Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on new media, op eds, press releases and statements
- Op-ed: reversing the landmine ban will explode on us. Kaj Larsen
- US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- US NGOs joint statement
- Petition of Austrian NGO “together against landmines“. A petition addressed to Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
- UNICEF USA statement
- … More information on the US Landmine Policy on the Forum on the Arms Trade
What have been the reactions so far?
- The ICBL has requested a meeting with the US Ambassador in Geneva and has been engaging actively with the coordination committee members and other champion states to ensure that they issue public statements and engage bilaterally with the US Government, we have also provided talking points on this decision. Letter sent to the Trump Administration.
- The Mine Ban Treaty President (Sudan), in addition to Austria, Belgium, Germany, European Union, France, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Lloyd Axworthy (former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs), US Senators, the ICRC, Unicef USA, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Mine Ban Treaty champions have issued statements calling on the US to reverse its decision. Additional states and regional groups and organizations are encouraged to issue statements.
If you are unable to get a meeting with the US Embassy?
- Send a letter to the US Embassy calling for rejection of the new policy.
When and where will the action take place?
- As soon as possible and in every country possible.
What issues should you discuss during the meeting?
- Introduce your organization and explain that the meeting is part of ICBL´s global action.
- Explain why the US landmine policy is important to the citizens of your country e.g. as an affected country, as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, as a global humanitarian imperative, etc.
- The cancellation of the policy that eliminates all antipersonnel landmines reverses years of steady steps toward alignment with the Mine Ban Treaty.
- Most of the states that at one time used, stockpiled, produced or transferred antipersonnel landmines, have ratified or acceded to the treaty.
- The majority of states that are or have been affected by antipersonnel mines, have ratified or acceded to the treaty.
- Using landmines, which have claimed so many lives and limbs, is not justified by any country or group under any circumstances.
- In recent years landmines have only been used by regimes known for gross human rights violations in Burma and Syria, and by non-state armed groups like ISIS.
- [YOUR COUNTRY] was able to remove antipersonnel mines from its arsenal without compromising its national security, and this had also worked for the US in the past. Clearly, the humanitarian benefits of banning the weapons far outweigh the minimal military utility.
- The US has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992, has not produced them since 1997, and has destroyed millions of stockpiled mines.
- The weapon has little or no military value to the US forces today as shown by the simple fact that the US did not use antipersonnel mines of any kind for the past 20 years in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq or any other location, during both high and low intensity conflicts. But again, the political costs of the US using antipersonnel mines today would be very high. Key US allies have joined the Mine Ban Treaty.
- The so-called smart or non-persistent mines equipped with self-destruct and self-deactivating mechanisms still pose humanitarian danger and are by no means safe for civilians. While smart mines are active, they cannot distinguish between an enemy combatant and an innocent civilian, furthermore, their self-destruct mechanisms have an estimated failure rate of 1 to 10%.