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ELIMINATING THE THREAT OF ANTI-PERSONNEL LANDMINES

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ELIMINATING THE THREAT OF ANTI-PERSONNEL LANDMINES

"Every year land mines kill or maim more than 25,000 people -- children, women, farmers peacefully going about their business. That is why, since I called for the global elimination of land mines in 1994, the United States has been at the forefront of the effort to ban them -- not just in words, but in actual, concrete deeds. I believe...that every man, woman and child in this world should be able to walk the Earth in safety."

President Clinton
The White House
September 17, 1997

President Clinton has been deeply committed to ending the threat to civilians posed by anti-personnel landmines (APL). To that end, and consistent with its global commitments, the Clinton Administration took a number of important steps toward eliminating the use of anti-personnel landmines altogether, ending anti-personnel landmine exports and strengthening the international restrictions on anti-personnel landmines use. The United States leads the world in programs to help remove landmines and to teach others how to avoid landmine injury.

A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT

U.S. Steps Toward Eliminating Anti-Personnel Landmines

  • Destroyed 3.3 million non-self-destructing anti-personnel landmines between 1996-1998 all of our "long-lived" anti-personnel landmines except those needed for defense in Korea and training.
  • Pledged to end the use of all anti-personnel landmines outside Korea by 2003, aggressively pursuing the objective of having anti-personnel landmine alternatives ready for Korea by 2006.
  • Initiated a comprehensive research and development program to search for alternatives to the mixed anti-tank systems, which contain anti-personnel sub-munitions that are also banned by the Ottawa Convention.
  • Committed to sign the Ottawa Convention by 2006 if it succeeds in identifying and fielding alternatives to both systems by then.

Anti-Personnel Landmine Exports

  • Observed a law since 1992 that temporarily prohibits the United States from exporting and transferring anti-personnel landmines.
  • Built on this moratorium by establishing a permanent anti-personnel landmine export and transfer ban in 1997.

Tightening Anti-Personnel Landmine Use Restrictions

  • Obtained Senate advice and consent on ratification for the Mines Protocol to the 72-country Convention on Conventional Weapons in March 1996. Played a leading role in the subsequent negotiations to strengthen the Protocol, which establishes new norms on landmine use that can protect civilians. The result the amended Mines Protocol received Senate advice and consent to ratification in May 1999. A number of key countries that use landmines, but are not Ottawa Convention signatories, have agreed to the amended Protocol.
  • Amended the Mines Protocol to expand the scope of the original Protocol to include internal armed conflicts, where most civilian mine casualties have occurred; require that all remotely-delivered anti-personnel landmines be equipped with self-destruct and self-deactivation features with a combined reliability rate of 99.9 percent; require that all non-self-destructing mines only be used within marked and monitored fields; and that all anti-personnel landmines be easily detectable to facilitate mine clearance.

U.S. Humanitarian Demining Programs

  • Undertook a "Demining 2010 Initiative" in 1997 and the President and Secretary of State appointed a Special Representative for Global Humanitarian Demining. The goal of the initiative is to substantially accelerate global humanitarian demining, to end the threat of landmines to civilians by the year 2010. It aims to improve international coordination to ensure the best possible use of public and private resources for programs in mine-affected countries. The 2010 initiative also aims to significantly increase the level of demining resources. To do this, the Clinton Administration sought new ways to tap the private sector and enhance public-private partnerships, including some two dozen initiatives such as:
  • The Adopt-A-Minefield program managed by the United Nations Association.

  • The global landmine survey project of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and their Campaign for a Landmine Free World.

  • A mine education program for grades K-12 in cooperation with the University of Denver.

  • Operation Landmine Survivors, sponsored by the Rotary Clubs, to raise money for mine victims.

  • Time Warner's contribution of its cartoon characters for mine awareness publications.

  • A Mines to Vines campaign sponsored by the California-based NGO, Roots of Peace and regional vintners to return mine-polluted land to productive agricultural use.

  • The Canine Demining Corps Campaign raising funds to purchase, train and deploy mine detecting dogs, sponsored by the Marshall Legacy Institute and the U.S. Humane Society.

  • A multi-disciplinary university research initiative funded by the Department of Defense linking 14 universities with American companies to identify and develop demining technology.

  • The low cost artificial limb program operated by the Chicago-based Center for International Rehabilitation and Physicians Against Landmines.

  • Committed more than $400 million for humanitarian demining programs since 1993. In FY 2000, committed more than $100 million for demining almost as much as the combined funding total from the 30 other countries which contribute to demining activities.
  • Started work to clear mines in 35 countries including new programs in Ecuador, Peru, Thailand, Estonia, Mauritania. The Clinton Administration sought to establish indigenous, sustainable mine action programs involving mine clearance, mine awareness, mine action centers and survivors' assistance. For example:
  • Helped Cambodia cut its landmine accident rate by 90 percent since 1992, down from 500 per month, to 50 per month now.

    In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of hectares of previously mined land have been cleared.

    In Mozambique, 4000 miles of roads have been cleared, allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees to return home.

  • Launched, through the Department of Defense, a robust demining program, whose core is a "train-the-trainer" methodology to build indigenous programs in host countries. Under this program, the United States trains deminers to carry out on-site demolition and destruction of mines, which prevents their reintroduction into the market or elsewhere. Of the 21 countries in which the Defense Department has operated this program since 1994, over 4,000 indigenous trainers have been trained, that is, about one-fourth of the world's deminers.
  • Devised innovative ways to educate others and share information:
  • Based on the success of the "Superman" DC Comic book promoting mine awareness for children in Bosnia, introduced versions in Spanish for Central America and in Albanian and Serbian for Kosovo.

    The Department of Defense is funding a humanitarian demining information center at James Madison University, including a website.

  • Oversaw the largest national research and development effort in the world to identify and develop improved technologies for humanitarian mine detection and demining. The Department of Defense identified more than 60 innovations that have led to rapid prototyping of equipment for mine detection, clearance, neutralization, protection of demining personnel and mine awareness training.
  • Initiated programs to help landmine accident survivors those who are most directly affected by the tragedy of mines.
  • Provided through the Agency for International Development's "Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund" more than $60 million for the development and strengthening of prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitation services in war-affected countries.
  • Developed, in conjunction with the World Health Organization and the Moss Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, a manual to assist in providing community rehabilitation to landmine survivors.
  • Launched innovative projects to use the sophisticated resources of military medical institutions to improve the quality of care provided to landmine survivors in heavily mined countries.

TIMELINE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT

December 1997

President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright appoint a Special Representative for Global Humanitarian Demining and announce the Demining 2010 initiative.

September 1997

President Clinton announces that the United States will end the use of anti-personnel landmines outside Korea by 2003. Directs a program of anti-personnel landmine alternatives with the objective of ending their use in Korea by 2006. Also directs an aggressive alternatives program for our mixed anti-tank systems and has made clear that we will sign the Ottawa Convention by 2006 if we can identify and field alternatives to our anti- personnel landmines and mixed anti-tank systems by then.

May 1996

President Clinton directs that 3.3 million "long-lived" (non-self-destructing) anti-personnel landmines be removed from the active stockpile and destroyed, retaining only those long-lived anti-personnel landmines needed for the defense of Korea and for training. Also directs the Department of Defense to undertake a program of research and procurement of anti-personnel landmine alternatives that would permit the United States to end its use of anti-personnel landmines as soon as possible.

September 1994

In his U.N. General Assembly address, President Clinton calls for the eventual elimination of anti-personnel landmines.

REFERENCES

  • Statement by the President, May 16, 1996.
  • Fact Sheets, May 16, 1996.
  • Statement by the Press Secretary: "United States Announces Next Steps on Anti-Personnel Land Mines," January 17, 1997.
  • Fact Sheet, January 17, 1997.
  • Remarks by the President on Land Mines, September 17, 1997.
  • Fact Sheets, September 17, 1997.
  • "To Walk the Earth in Safety" (Summary of United States Humanitarian Demining Programs), April, 1999.


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