Obama Administration Fails Landmine Survivors at 13MSP

 In Notes from the Director

Today the United States of America failed to stand with landmine survivors and against the destruction of landmines.

Below is the statement from the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines:

December 5, 2013

The Obama administration is failing in its humanitarian duty and failing to keep its promises by its inability to conclude its review of US landmine policy more than four years after it began.

One year ago, at the 12MSP, the U.S. delegation assured States Parties that it would conclude the long-delayed review “soon.” At a later public briefing, the head of the delegation clarified that “soon” would be consistent with a reasonable understanding of the word, and that he believed—at the outside—that an announcement of the decision of the review would take place no later than this Meeting of States Parties.

Yet at the meeting today, the head of the U.S. delegation provides us with no other information than that the policy review is “pressing forward.”

The Bush administration concluded its review in three years. Yet four plus years later, we are still waiting on the Obama administration to complete its active and ongoing review. Essentially, this administration has spent another year ignoring this issue, choosing instead to delay a decision on joining a treaty that is saving so many lives every day. There is no excuse for such inaction and the humanitarian costs it entails.

The U.S. continues to opt to stand outside the Mine Ban Treaty, alongside notable outsiders, instead of inside it with all of its NATO and European Union allies. The administration’s apparent unwillingness to commit to no further use of these weapons and to destruction of its existing stockpile of more than 10 million landmines is unacceptable—and additionally provide cover for other countries to defer accession and justify future use. There is simply no scenario in 2013 in which it is realistic that landmines are the only acceptable or even logical military alternative.

The further postponement of the conclusion of this review demonstrates that this administration is just not taking this process seriously—not treating this process as a priority. Yet during these same four years, more than 16,000 men, women, and children have been killed or maimed by a landmine—many by U.S. munitions, and ten more casualties continue to occur every day. This issue is important and needs to be a priority.

 

Below is the statement from the US delegation:

Statement by Steven Costner
United States Delegation to Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their destruction

December 5, 2013

Thank you , Mr. President,
The United States is pleased to attend the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention. We congratulate those states that reported completing anti-personnel mine clearance this year.
The United States shares the concern of Parties to the Ottawa Convention and continues to demonstrate our commitment to addressing the humanitarian consequences caused by landmines, both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle. We understand many supporters of the Ottawa Convention both here at this meeting and around the world are interested in the progress of the U.S. landmine policy review, and we assure you that we are pressing forward to conclusion.
As always, the United States applauds the significant accomplishments to date by Parties to the Ottawa Convention in addressing the humanitarian impact of anti-personnel landmines, and we remain committed to a continuing partnership with other States and non-governmental organizations in this effort.
Thank you, Mr. President.

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