International Mine Awareness Day: US Advocacy Groups Call on White House to Sign Ban

In marking International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, advocacy groups called on the US to lend its support to the global ban on antipersonnel landmines.

Human Rights Watch called attention to the recent US condemnation of Syria’s use of landmines, arguing that this “rebuke” would have more force if the US sent a clear message that it was rejecting entirely the manufacture, use, trade and transfer of mines.

“The United States should recognize that antipersonnel landmines are no longer acceptable weapons, but relics of the past,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

The US Campaign to Ban Landmines pointed out that “every member of NATO (besides the United States), as well as every member of the European Union, and other key U.S. allies, such as Afghanistan and Iraq” has joined the treaty.

“We must remember that the job is still not done until every country has joined the Mine Ban Treaty and assured the world that there will never again be another landmine casualty,” said USCBL’s Zach Hudson. “We call on the U.S. to finally make known its intention to become a States Party to the treaty.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added his voice and authority to the campaign, saying “On this International Day, I call for universal adherence to these important treaties and for increased support for mine awareness and mine action.  Landmines and  explosive remnants of war hamper development and endanger lives.  Let’s eliminate them together for a safe sustainable world.”

Here in New York, the charity Roots of Peace established the Roots of Peace Garden at The Isaiah Wall, Ralph Bunche Park to symbolize “restoring the land after landmines.”

To take action, sign this online petition calling on President Barack Obama to submit the Landmine Ban to the US Senate for ratification without delay. To learn more about the human impact of mines, read this interview with mine survivor and campaigner Firoz Ali Alizada. For more on US landmine policy, click here.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 4 April 2012.

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