On the 22nd Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty entering into force, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-CMC) urges the United States to take immediate action to accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
In recognition of the indiscriminate dangers landmines pose to civilians and U.S. service members alike, the USCBL-CMC urges the White House to immediately formally ban the use, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and lay out an accelerated timeline for the destruction of stockpiled landmines. The USCBL-CMC urges the White House to promptly declare its intent to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty.
For more than two decades, the world has rejected antipersonnel landmines through the Mine Ban Treaty, in recognition of the horrific and unacceptable harm to civilians both at their time of deployment and for decades after. A total of 164 countries, including every other member of NATO, are states parties. While not a signatory, the U.S. has functionally adhered to key provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty, by not using, producing, or transferring antipersonnel mines.
The new U.S. landmine policy, announced in January 2020, starkly sets the U.S. apart from its allies and the global consensus by allowing for the use of landmines anywhere in the world. While the new policy claims that “non-persistent” mines minimize civilian harm, the Mine Ban Treaty rejects the use of such mines and the faulty premise underpinning them. Decades of efforts to enhance the “safety” of landmines have failed. No matter the technology, landmines are indiscriminate weapons. Regardless of their lifespan, they are victim activated and do not distinguish between a combatant or a civilian while active, rendering them incompatible with international humanitarian law.
In the last five years, only the government forces of Syria, Myanmar, and North Korea, as well as some non-state actors in conflict areas, have used antipersonnel landmines. Of the more than 50 countries that once produced landmines, 40 have ceased production. Under its current landmine policy, the U.S. could rejoin the remaining small handful of mine-producing countries.
The United States Campaign to Ban Landmines is a coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ensure that the U.S. comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines–including their use in Korea–and joins the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, as 164nations have done. It is the national affiliate of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), founded in New York in 1992 and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate together with former ICBL coordinator Ms. Jody Williams of Vermont. We also call for sustained U.S. government financial support for mine clearance and victim assistance.