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Obama Refuses to Sign on to the International Ban on Landmines

March 5, 2010

The Obama administration has continued a policy by refusing to sign on to an international treaty that would ban the use of landmines. This is a policy that was begun under Bill Clinton and continued throughout George W. Bush’s two terms.

The treaty current has 156 countries signed on, including Russia, China and India. According to writer Conn Hallinan, “The 1999 treaty bans the stockpiling, production, or transferring of anti-personal mines that caused over 5,000 casualties last year, one third of them children. More than 70 countries are infested with them.”

Hallinan also writes that the Obama administration refuses to endorse the treaty to ban cluster weapons.

“A total of 103 governments worldwide have signed the agreement, but ratification is still working its way through various legislatures and parliaments. Some 30 nations have ratified it, however, elevating the treaty to the level of international law.

The U.S., Russia, and China are the major producers of cluster weapons, and they are stockpiled in at least 77 countries. A number of countries, including Japan and Australia, have destroyed their stocks.

Cluster weapons have a high failure rate—30 percent is not unusual—and the unexploded bomblets lie in wait for unwary civilians. Some 90 million cluster weapons were dropped on tiny Laos during the war in Southeast Asia, and the weapons continue to kill and maim between 100 and 200 people a year.”

According to the US Campaign to ban landmines, “The U.S. has not used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992 and has not produced them since 1997. However, the U.S. currently maintains a stockpile of 10.4 million antipersonnel landmines in U.S. arsenals.

U.S. participation is important to the universalization of the treaty. Even though landmine use has been significantly reduced worldwide, a few countries refuse to join—and even continue to use landmines—under the cover that they will not join if the U.S. has not joined.”

The US Campaign to Ban Landmines is asking people to contact the White House and urge the Obama administration to sign on to the treaty.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Doug Burkholder permalink
    March 5, 2010 4:37 pm

    Gotta wonder what would be the reason for not signing !
    Obama has been going back on many things he said he would
    support before he got into office . GREENPEACE is very upset
    with him also right now as well as NRDC. I don’t think there
    will much help for Human Rights , Animal Rights , Or
    Environmental Issues coming from Washington anytime
    in the near future.
    Grassroots or Dead Grass !

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