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World Wide Ban on Land Mines No. 438

Adopted 1996
Reaffirmed 1997
Reaffirmed 1998
Reaffirmed 1999
Amended 2001
Reaffirmed 2002
Reaffirmed 2004
Revised 2006
Reaffirmed 2007


While 141 countries have signed the treaty to ban all antipersonnel land mines, the United States has yet to sign this treaty. Land mines are cruel, cause devastating injuries, and target unarmed civilians indiscriminately, remaining long after the cessation of hostilities.

An estimated 100 million land mines have been placed in more than 60 countries. About one-third of these land mines are in Africa. Land mines kill or injure more than 20,000 people per year and maim up to 75,000. Many victims are civilians, of whom many are children. The human and economic cost of injuries significantly burdens the health and social systems of already precarious economies.

On Armed Forces Day in May of 2001, leaders of the American armed forces issued statements to President Bush that supported the 1997 Land Mine Ban Treaty and confirmed that mines are unnecessary for military effectiveness, and that the dire consequences far outweigh the benefit of their use.

The United States, Cuba and Finland are among the only remaining nations that have still not signed the treaty. The U.S. Campaign to Ban Land mines drafted a letter to President Bush that supported the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and echoed the position of the armed forces leaders.

Americans for Democratic Action urges the Bush Administration:

  1. Sign the Land Mine Ban treaty immediately;
  2. Set a deadline for the Pentagon to develop suitable alternatives to antipersonnel mines, which include technologies, tactics, and operational concepts to achieve comparable military objectives, and accelerate Pentagon efforts to obtain treaty-compliant alternatives.
  3. Commit the United States immediately to a policy of no use of any mines.
  4. Commit the United States immediately to a policy of no use or transfer of antipersonnel mines in joint operations including (NATO,) with nations that are a party to the Mine Ban Treaty;
  5. Announce a permanent ban on production of land mines and their components;
  6. Establish plan, procedures, and timetables for destruction of all mines, with intent to destroy them as soon as possible;
  7. Withdraw and destroy all mines stockpiled in countries that are party to the ban treaty; do not insist on transit rights through such countries;
  8. Ensure that revisions are well underway with respect to changes in war plans, doctrine, training, and manual necessary for future combat without anti-personnel mines.

Americans for Democratic Action finds the inaction of the United States on this vital issue deplorable and calls upon President Bush to bring the country expeditiously up to the standards agreed upon by much of the rest of our world.

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No. 438

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