U.S. will stop producing mines

U.S. will stop producing mines

27th of June 2014 - The United States Government has announced its intention to stop producing or purchasing anti-personnel landmines, meaning that existing stockpiles will not be replenished. Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs) kill thousands of civilians every year across the globe, even in post-conflict countries that transitioned to peace many years ago.

In a statement delivered at a conference on the Mine Ban Treaty (also known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Ottawa Convention) in Maputo, Mozambique, a country profoundly affected by this issue, Representatives from the White House indicated that the decision to stop producing or ‘otherwise acquiring’ landmines had been prompted by the U.S. Government’s willingness to join the pact.

The treaty was signed in Ottawa, Canada in 1997, by several nations that wished to put an end to the use, stockpiling, and trading of anti-personnel mines. One of the agreement’s intrinsic objectives is to ensure that the use of mines is completely phased out by 2025.

National Security Council spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said that the U.S. Government"are diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention,"

The United States Government has been considering changing its stance on mines for the past five years, but abstained from signing the pact, citing the necessity of such devices for protecting the interests of national security as its primary reason.  The Ottawa Convention became enshrined in international law in 1999, and has since been signed by more than 150 different nations.

In a 2008 report, the UN asserted that landmines can remain active for several decades and are responsible for the deaths of between 15 000 and 20 000 people each year, including children, women and the elderly.