PAX condemns US reversal on landmines

Image: Five M15 anti-tank land mines are stacked for destruction at a demolition site on Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in this July 10, 1997, file photo Wikimedia / US Navy

February 3, 2020

PAX condemns US President Donald Trump’s new policy allowing the US military to use landmines more frequently.

PAX calls on the Dutch government to condemn this decision, and to call for the US to join the 1997 Ottawa Convention. Anti-personnel landmines injure  soldiers and civilians alike, and most victims of the mines are children.

Banned for more than 20 years

Antipersonnel landmines were banned in 1997 due to their indiscriminate nature and their long-lasting impact after a conflict has ended. Today, 164 countries are party to this landmark agreement, including the Netherlands.

According to Human Rights Watch, the US has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991, and has not exported them since 1992. No US company has produced them since 1997, and the US has destroyed millions of stockpiled mines. The new US policy will make these indiscriminate weapons available to commanders at lower levels than was previously the case. This could result in greater deployment of landmines globally, risking the lives and limbs of generations to come.

People come first

PAX seeks to reduce suffering and environmental harm resulting from armed conflict through the establishment and implementation of norms. PAX works with partners in conflict areas to ensure the human impact of global policy decisions is front and centre in decision making. PAX is a long-time member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

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