The United States announced today that it will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines (APL) in the future, including to replace expiring stockpiles. The announcement, delivered at the Third Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention in Maputo, Mozambique, underscores the U.S. commitment to the spirit and humanitarian aims of the Ottawa Convention, the treaty that prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL. The U.S. delegation in Maputo further announced that the United States is diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and that would ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention. We are also conducting a high fidelity modeling and simulation effort to ascertain how to mitigate the risks associated with the loss of APL. Other aspects of U.S. landmine policy remain under consideration, and we will share outcomes from this process as we are able to do so.
This announcement marks another important step in our landmine policy. It follows previous steps to end the use of all non-detectable mines and all persistent mines, which can remain active for years after the end of a conflict.
The United States is also the world’s single largest financial supporter of humanitarian mine action, which includes not only clearance of landmines, but also medical rehabilitation and vocational training for those injured by landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Since the United States Humanitarian Mine Action Program was established in 1993, the United States has provided over $2.3 billion in aid in over 90 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs. Through this assistance, the United States has:
- Helped 15 countries to become free from the humanitarian impact of landmines;
- Provided emergency assistance to support the removal or mitigation of conventional weapons including landmines and other unexploded ordnance in more than 18 countries; and
- Provided assistive devices and other rehabilitation services to over 250,000 people in 35 countries through the U.S. Agency for International Development-managed Leahy War Victims Fund.
These vital U.S. assistance efforts help post-conflict countries consolidate peace and set the stage for reconstruction and development. Clearance efforts and victim assistance programs return land and infrastructure to productive use and assist in the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of survivors of mine and explosive remnants of war incidents.
Further information on U.S. humanitarian demining and conventional weapons destruction programs can be found in the State Department’s annual To Walk the Earth in Safety report.