Landmines cannot distinguish between a soldier and an innocent civilian. They do not know the difference between an adult and a child. Over ninety percent of victims are civilians. With landmines impacting communities in more than 80 countries and territories, the danger is very real.
U.S. citizens, landmine survivors and campaigners from every corner of the globe have been calling on the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty for 20 years. In 2009, President Obama launched a review of U.S. landmine policy to determine whether the U.S. will join the treaty. To date, no decision has been announced.
The world has waited long enough.
Handicap International needs your help to ensure that President Obama submits the Mine Ban Treaty to the Senate now.
Take action today: Tell President Obama it's time to join the Mine Ban Treaty and ban the use of these barbaric weapons once and for all!
On March 1, 2012, the Mine Ban Treaty celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of its entry into force.
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The administration finally announced in December 2009 that the U.S. had initiated a comprehensive review of its landmine policy. However, an announcement has still not been made as to the outcome of this review. Countless American citizens, landmine survivors and campaigners from every corner of the globe have been calling on the U.S. to join the treaty for the last fifteen years. We have waited long enough! It's time to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification now.
Since the policy review began, the administration has received letters of support for the Mine Ban Treaty from 68 Senators, NGO leaders, key NATO allies, 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, victims of U.S. landmines, and countless concerned Americans like you.
I appreciate that your administration initiated a review of its landmine policy, but it's been over two and a half years since you made the announcement that the process had begun. I ask that you accelerate efforts towards accession, work diligently to overcome obstacles to joining--if any have even been identified, and submit the treaty to the Senate for consent without delay.
The United States is one of only 35 countries that have not yet joined the treaty. In the Western Hemisphere, only the U.S and Cuba are nonsignatories. All other members of NATO are States Parties to the treaty. The rest of the world recognizes that the human costs of these weapons far outweigh their military utility. Why can't we? As an American, I am embarrassed that we are still not among those nations that have categorically condemned the use of these barbaric weapons.
I am glad to hear the U.S. is no longer using persistent "dumb" mines, but it's time to finish the job by banning all types of landmines. Landmines are indiscriminate killers, whether persistent landmines or those designed to self-destruct after a period of time. While active, even smart mines are triggered by the victim and cannot distinguish between an enemy combatant, a U.S. soldier, a mother working in the fields or a young child on his way to school.
The U.S. has not used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992 and has not produced them since 1997. Surely if we have been able to defend our country for the last 21 years without using landmines, we have already found alternative solutions.
It's time to commit to not using the 10.4 million landmines currently stockpiled in U.S. arsenals--if not for moral reasons, then also to save the enormous amount of taxpayer money spent on stockpiling and maintaining these stigmatized weapons.
As you know, U.S. participation is important to the universalization of the treaty. Even though landmine use has been significantly reduced worldwide, a few countries refuse to join -- and even continue to use landmines -- under the cover that they will not join if the U.S. has not joined.
Joining the Mine Ban Treaty would also confirm and show concrete evidence that the Obama administration is serious about a renewed emphasis on multilateralism and disarmament.
The U.S. was one of the first governments to call for the elimination of landmines in the mid-1990s, but we postponed joining until 2006. We have been planning on joining since the treaty's creation, but President Bush reversed the U.S. policy stance in 2004. It is time for us to finally abandon the Bush-era policy, get back on track and fulfill the promise the U.S. made to the international community almost than 15 years ago. It is time for the U.S. to finally accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and join the rest of the world in ending the barbaric use of landmines once and for all.
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