Sunday, March 1, 2009, is the 10th anniversary of the historic treaty banning antipersonnel mines becoming binding international law. The Mine Ban Treaty obligates its participants to comprehensively discontinue the use, production, stockpile, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines; to destroy stockpiles within four years; to clear mines within their own territories within ten years, and to provide continuing assistance to mine survivors.
The United States is one of thirty-nine countries that have not yet formally joined the treaty and thus remains at odds with the widespread international rejection of the weapon.
“Jesuit Refugee Service/USA urges President Obama and the U.S. Congress to sign and ratify the Mine Ban Treaty,” said Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J., Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
Speaking at a conference on security policy in Germany on Feb. 9, 2009, National Security Adviser James L. Jones, a retired U.S. Marine four-star general, said, “The President has made clear that to succeed against 21st century challenges, the United States must use, balance, and integrate all elements of national influence: our military and our diplomacy, our economy and our intelligence, and law enforcement capacity, our cultural outreach, and … the power of our moral example, in short, our values.”
“Joining the treaty would be a clear reassertion of moral leadership, and a signal that the U.S. values those innocent people who continue to be killed and maimed by landmines,” said Fr. Gavin.