Jul 01 2014
When the Ottawa Convention was put in place in 1999 to stop the use and production of all land mines, 20,000 people were being killed or maimed by land mines each year. Despite the numbers of victims, many of whom were children, the United States refused to sign on to the treaty.
Now, after 15 years of pressure from human rights groups, the US has finally agreed to join the 161 other nations who support the treaty to stop the production, use and transfer of land mines.
General Martin Dempsey the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff denounced the decision however, saying that it would put the US military at risk and proclaimed that land mines are an “important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces.”
While the decision to sign the treaty has been seen as a positive step on the part of the Obama Administration, critics are troubled by the fact that there is no set time line for actually doing so and no promises from the US to eliminate its 9 million land mines stockpiled around the world.
GUEST: Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. She was the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Visit www.uscbl.org for more information.