WASHINGTON (October 10, 1997) -- Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, who chairs the U.S. Catholic Conference International Policy Committee, today praised the decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
"The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to an individual and an organization who have done remarkable work on an issue of great moral urgency," Archbishop McCarrick said. "Landmines do not distinguish between civilians and soldiers or between times of peace and times of war. They destroy lives, divide communities, and leave land uninhabitable."
The USCC is one of over 1,000 organizations participating in the International Campaign. In concert with Pope John Paul II, the USCC has long advocated an end to the manufacture and use of antipersonnel landmines, and was instrumental in winning a U.S. moratorium on the export of landmines in 1995. Since June, the USCC and 15 other national Catholic organizations have coordinated a Catholic Campaign to Ban Landmines.
"We will continue to urge our government to rethink its opposition to the Ottawa treaty and join the 100 other nations who will sign the global ban in December," Archbishop McCarrick said. "And we will continue to urge the United States to lead by example and renounce the use of anti-personnel landmines ...."
U.S. government representatives participated in negotiations earlier this fall to draft a mine-banning treaty, but after failing to win certain concessions the refused to join more than 100 other nations who agreed to sign the treaty formally in December.
"I congratulate the International Campaign for the richly-deserved recognition given it by the Nobel Committee," Archbishop McCarrick said. "We will continue to work with the many groups in the United States who are part of the International Committee to ensure that our government assumes a greater leadership role in the considerable work that still must be done to rid the world of anti-personnel landmines.