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(Washington, 1 April 2022) – The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) strongly condemns the use of internationally banned antipersonnel landmines by Russian forces in the Ukraine conflict, as reported by USCBL steering committee member Human Rights Watch.
Antipersonnel landmines are banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, to which 164 countries are states parties, although neither Russia nor the United States are party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
Antipersonnel landmines are inherently indiscriminate weapons that maim and kill long after conflicts end. According to the 2021 Landmine Monitor, civilians accounted for 80 percent of casualties from landmines and other explosive remnants of war in 2020 – including 1,872 child casualties. In Ukraine alone, the Landmine Monitor has recorded 2,727 mine casualties since the outbreak of conflict in 2014 through 2019, though this number may now rise sharply.
The use of antipersonnel landmines by Russian forces in Ukraine follows their widespread use of cluster munitions, killing and injuring civilians. The USCBL-USCMC strongly condemns the use of both weapons and urges Russia and all parties to guarantee protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, and to adhere to the international norm banning use of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
The USCBL-USCMC urges the United States to condemn the use of antipersonnel landmines and take immediate steps to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. The failure of the United States to join the international agreement banning antipersonnel landmines weakens the impact of United States’ criticism of Russia’s use of these weapons.
Therefore, we also call upon the Biden Administration to rapidly submit the Mine Ban Treaty to the United States Senate for advice and consent. The time for the United States government to act is now.
The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition is the U.S. affiliate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the global Cluster Munition Coalition. The civil society coalition works to end the suffering caused by landmines and cluster munitions, which cause unacceptable harm to civilians both at their time of deployment and for decades after.
Media notes: Experts available upon request.
Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition U.S.