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START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
Nov 28, 2009
Focus: Government
Action Request: Petition
Location: United States

President Obama, for reasons that are not clear, delayed signing an International treaty banning land mines. This shocked many people -- including me. Here is what YOU can do:

The treaty, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, calls for a ban on antipersonnel landmines. Why? It's the civilian cost that is a key player here. These mines maim and kill people in the region that they were deployed in long after the conflict has ended.

That's just the one of the reasons why these mines are bad news, bad policy and bad relations. Here are some more:

  • With landmines in the ground, relief aid meant for those in disaster areas and war torn regions is slowed, or perhaps even prevented, because the ground becomes potentially lethal to cross.
  • Landmines make much needed farming, grazing and irrigation lands inaccessible, severely hampering the local population's ability to recover and sustain recovery after conflict.
  • Landmines increase the risk to aide workers who go to help in post-conflict zones, sometimes preventing them from reaching the people that are in desperate need of help all together.
  • Many would contend that there is an unacceptable risk to U.S. military personnel where landmines are concerned, noting that thousands of soldiers have been injured or killed by mines in every U.S. involved conflict since World War II.  
  • Tragically, it is often children who are the victims of landmines, with UNICEF estimating that around 30-40 percent of mine victims are children under the age of 15, which leads to years of painful rehabilitation and a lifetime of disfigurement, if they have a lifetime left, that is. The non-human victims of landmines shouldn't be forgotten either.
  • Lastly, a 1996 study demonstrated that landmines were not an effective or necessary part of military strength, leading to long held support for the rejection of mine use from a growing section of the military.

As mentioned above, the U.S. already adheres to most of the accord. So can we expect Obama to sign on in the near future? All hope is not lost, but his signing the treaty won't be immediate, no. I predict a holding pattern on all sides until the health care reform bill is passed. As Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions noted, when it comes to these kinds of decisive issues:

"It's more a question of timing than commitment. There's limited bandwidth in terms of what the administration and the Senate can do at any one time."

That doesn't mean we have to wait, however. While Obama collects his Nobel Peace Prize next week, we can gently remind him of the commitments he made to human rights that won him that prestigious honor.

Take Action:

The above was posted by Steve W.; and the full text can be found under "Causes".

Obama Admin Slip-Up Puts Weight on Landmine Issue

posted by: Steve W.

Obama Admin Slip-Up Puts Weight on Landmine Issue

Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Nov 28, 2009 12:49pm


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