More than 140 nations have signed the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel (AP) landmines. President Clinton refused to sign the treaty, citing the need for AP landmines in Korea and for anti-tank systems that include a mix of anti-personnel mines. The Clinton administration pledged, however, to stop use of AP landmines (except in Korea) by 2003, and to develop alternatives for Korea by 2006 (the target date for signing the treaty).
The Bush administration is currently reviewing its landmine policy. The Defense Department reportedly is recommending that the U.S. not sign the Treaty, not eliminate "dumb" mines, and not develop alternatives to existing AP and mixed AP-anti-tank landmines. The State Department has not yet finished its review. The final decision which is expected at the end of March rests with President Bush.
With Pope John Paul II and the Church around the world, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) strongly supports a U.S. commitment to sign the 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. U.S. leadership is essential for the success of the treaty.
Before March 30, urge President George Bush (The White House, Washington, DC 20500 202-456-1414) to recommend that the U.S. abandon AP landmines and commit to sign the Mine Ban Treaty. See Cardinal Law to Secretary Powell (8/01). www.usccb/sdwp (See reverse).
For more information: Gerard Powers 202-541-3160 (ph); 541-3339 (f)