REASON FOR THIS ALERT: Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Arlen Specter have introduced bipartisan legislation, the Victim-Activated Landmine Abolition Act of 2006 (S. 3768), to prohibit the United States from procuring landmines and other victim-activated weapons. Senate cosponsors are currently being sought.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
- If your Senator is not a co-sponsor of the legislation, please urge him or her to co-sponsor of the Victim-Activated Landmine Abolition Act of 2006 (S. 3768).
- If your Senator is a co-sponsor of this important legislation, please thank him or her. The co-sponsors as of September 5, 2006 are: Leahy (D-VT), Specter (R-PA), Hagel (R-NE), Feinstein (D-CA), Jeffords (I-VT), Dorgan (D-ND), Harkin (D-IA), Reid (D-NV), and Mikulski (D-MD).
Some 150 nations have signed the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel (AP) landmines. The U. S. has not signed the treaty, but continues to fund global humanitarian de-mining and landmine survivor assistance. The Victim-Activated Landmine Abolition Act would be an important step in the direction of moving the U.S. away from future uses of landmines and toward eventual ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty.
USCCB POSITION: USCCB has strongly supported efforts to secure a U. S. commitment to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which would eliminate the scourge of these morally unacceptable weapons that do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians or between times of war and times of peace. Catholic moral teaching on just war insists that noncombatant immunity be respected and that the use of force be discriminate. For more than a decade USCCB has joined the Holy See and Catholic bishops from around the world in calling for a ban on landmines as indiscriminate and insidious weapons. Bishop Thomas Wenski, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Policy, recently sent letters to members of the Senate, urging them to cosponsor the Victim-Activated Landmine Abolition Act of 2006 (S. 3768).