Go to main content

HI, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, outraged by the Trump administration's to-come decision to use mines

Explosive weapons
International

The Trump Administration announced a deadly landmine policy shift

The International Campaign against Landmines received the Nobel Peace Price, Oslo, December 1997

The International Campaign against Landmines received the Nobel Peace Price, Oslo, December 1997 | © ICBL

The Trump Administration announced a deadly landmine policy shift, effectively committing the U.S. to resume the production, use, and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines. Landmines are devastating, victim-activated devices that cannot discriminate between the footstep of a child or that of a soldier. HI, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, denounces a historic setback for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

  • “Trump’s landmine to come policy is a death sentence for civilians,” says Jerome Bobin, Canadian Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “There are acts in war that are simply out of bounds. Nations, even superpowers, must never use certain weapons because of the superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering they cause. Landmines fall directly into this category. There is no use for landmines that cannot be accomplished by other means that do not so significantly and indiscriminately kill and maim civilians.
     
  • If confirmed, the move will be a sharp reversal of President Obama’s 2014 commitment that inched the U.S. closer to compliance with the 1997 Ottawa Convention, known as the Mine Ban Treaty. President Obama’s move left only the Korean peninsula as an exception, due to ongoing mine use in the demilitarized zone.

 

  • The U.S. is one of the few countries that has yet to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, sharing ranks with China, Egypt, India, Israel, Pakistan, and Russia. There are 164 States parties to the treaty, making the ban on landmines a universal norm of international humanitarian law. However, the great paradox of this policy shift is that for nearly 30 years, the U.S. has refrained from using or trading antipersonnel landmines.
     
  • “The U.S. claims that the protection of civilians is at the core of their defense policy,” notes Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta, Humanity & Inclusion’s Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager. “For the last four decades, Humanity & Inclusion has been documenting the indiscriminate effects of landmines on civilians. This announced setback on landmines is thus in contradiction with existing U.S. policy.”
     
  • What’s more, the policy change would send a very negative signal, essentially handing a blank check to States or groups willing to continue or expand their use of landmines, which had significantly decreased after the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty.
     
  • Humanity & Inclusion’s decades of experience with clearing landmines, as well as taking care of survivors of landmine explosions, leads to the conclusion that no use is safe. “We oppose in the strongest terms the idea that military commanders will feel empowered to use mines,” Meer notes. “The safest landmine is the one that is never produced.”
     
  • Humanity & Inclusion will work with our partners at the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines to encourage U.S. authorities to reverse this deadly plan in the months ahead.
     
  • “Make no mistake, this is absolutely a step backward,” Meer adds. “This significant and negative development is a thunderclap for all of the thousands of individuals who have survived contact with a landmine, as well as the family and friends of hundreds of thousands who have not.”
     
  • The organization runs or supports projects to minimize the impact of landmines on civilians in dozens of countries, returning land to communities through demining, teaching people to spot, avoid and report explosive remnants of war through risk education, and providing support and care to victims of landmines. The organization works to raise the visibility of these landmine victims and their communities, so that the world is reminded of the scourge of landmines.

 

Mine Ban Treaty

The Mine Ban Treaty prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines. It is the most comprehensive international instrument for eradicating landmines and deals with everything from mine use, production and trade, to victim assistance, mine clearance and stockpile destruction.

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

HI adapts its action to combat COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable
© Quinn Neely / HI
Emergency Health Inclusion

HI adapts its action to combat COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable

Our teams are making changes to the way they work in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the field wherever possible. This includes reviewing their current response and implementing new projects to protect people from the virus and deal with the impact of the crisis, with a focus on people with disabilities, children, women, and isolated and older people.

COVID-19: Physical therapists help prevent the spread in vulnerable communities
© Quinn Neely / HI
Health Protect vulnerable populations Rehabilitation

COVID-19: Physical therapists help prevent the spread in vulnerable communities

Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are making changes to the way they work and assisting at-risk populations in response to the global spread of COVID-19. This will include providing local people with accessible, stay healthy messages, and offering access to physical therapists via WhatsApp. Our emergency rehabilitation expert Pauline Falipou explains:

HI adapts its operations to help with the Covid-19 pandemic
© B. Blondel / HI
Emergency Health

HI adapts its operations to help with the Covid-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads to countries already affected by poverty, conflict and natural disasters, HI is adapting its response to the health crisis.