950727 Fact Sheet: U.S. Initiatives for Demining and Landmine Control  Return to: Index of "Arms Control, Counter-terrorism and Military Affairs || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage


U.S. Department of State
95/07/27 Fact Sheet on US Initiatives-Demining & Landmine Control
Bureau of Public Affairs
 
 
Fact Sheet:  U.S. Initiatives for Demining and Landmine Control 
 
 
Anti-personnel landmines are the weapon of choice for many government 
and insurgent groups. They are cheap, easy to manufacture and use, 
difficult to detect, and expensive and dangerous to remove. Usually, 
landmines are not removed after armed conflict ends. They are left for 
populations and, more recently, peacekeepers to deal with. While the 
U.S. military employs landmines responsibly and in accordance with 
international law, others often use them in irresponsible and 
indiscriminate ways against civilian populations to generate fear, 
inhibit refugee repatriation, disrupt economic reconstruction, and 
generally create chaos in fragile governments. 
 
Addressing the horrible toll in innocent civilian casualties caused by 
the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines is 
a high priority of the Administration. In his address to the United 
Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 1994, President Clinton 
called on all nations to join with the U.S. to "conclude an agreement to 
reduce the number and availability" of anti-personnel landmines. Given 
the immediacy and the complexity of the problem, the U.S. has developed 
a comprehensive, four-track strategy. 
 
Demining Initiatives. The U.S. currently assists demining programs in 
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Angola, Rwanda, Namibia, 
Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Mozambique. These follow five 
steps: landmine assessment, training in mine awareness, education and 
training in mine clearance, transition of responsibility for the program 
to the host government or other designated entity (e.g., an 
international organization or a private non-governmental organization), 
and follow-on assistance. There are significant landmine problems in 
Somalia and Liberia as well, but unrest in those countries has prevented 
the implementation of U.S. assistance. The Administration hopes to 
expand the program to other countries.  
 
Efforts To Strengthen the Convention on Conventional Weapons--CCW 
(particularly Protocol II which governs the use of landmines). The 
Senate gave its advice and consent to, and the U.S. deposited its 
instrument of ratification for, the CCW on March 24, 1995. This ensures 
that the U.S. will be a full party at the September Review Conference in 
Vienna, where the U.S. is committed to strengthening the landmine 
protocol. U.S. proposed changes include making the treaty applicable to 
internal conflicts, restricting the use of long-lived anti-personnel 
landmines (the type of mine which poses the greatest threat to the 
civilian population), requiring that all mines be detectable, and 
developing effective verification provisions. 
 
Moratoria on Landmine Transfers. In October 1992, the U.S. adopted a 
unilateral export moratorium on anti-personnel landmines. This 
moratorium was extended in 1993 for three years. In 1993 and 1994, the 
UNGA adopted U.S. resolutions calling for moratoria on exports of 
landmines that pose a grave risk to civilians. The 1994 resolution 
contained additional language calling for the eventual elimination of 
anti-personnel landmines. To date, about 25 countries have declared 
formal moratoria. The U.S. again will sponsor an anti-personnel landmine 
resolution at the 51st UNGA this fall. 
 
Establishment of an International Anti-personnel Landmine Control 
Program. The export moratoria are only temporary measures. The U.S. and 
U.K. have developed a proposal for an anti-personnel landmine control 
program that would reduce both reliance on landmines that threaten 
civilian populations most and the overall availability of anti-personnel 
landmines. The ultimate goal is the eventual elimination of anti-
personnel landmines. We can move most effectively toward that goal as 
viable and humane alternatives are developed. As a first step, the 
control program would impose restrictions on the production, 
stockpiling, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. Over 30 countries 
attended a meeting in Budapest June 29-30 to discuss the joint U.S.-U.K. 
proposal. A second meeting will be held this fall after the CCW Review 
Conference. (###) 
 
 
Further Information 
 
For further information see the 1994 Report to the U.S. Congress, Hidden 
Killers:  The Global Landmine Crisis, released by the Department of 
State in January 1995.  For hard copy, contact the Bureau of Political-
Military Affairs, tel. 202-647-6968. The report also is available 
through the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) on the 
Internet by pointing your gopher client to dosfan.lib.uic.edu and 
selecting  Global Affairs, Arms Control. The report is in U.S. Foreign 
Affairs on CD-ROM, a quarterly subscription sold by the Government 
Printing Office.  To order, call 202-512-1800 or send a fax to 202-512-
2250.  A one-year subscription (4 discs) is $80 (domestic) and $100 
(foreign). (###) 
 
 
Anti-personnel Landmine Facts 
 
--  There are between 85 and 110 million uncleared landmines in 64 
countries around the world.  More than 65 million mines were laid in the 
last 15 years. 
 
--  Landmines cause more than 500 deaths or injuries worldwide each 
week. Most of these are innocent civilian casualties. 
 
--  About 10 million landmines are in Afghanistan; 9-20 million in 
Angola; 7-9 million in Cambodia; and 4 million in Iraq. 
 
--  It costs between $150 and $1,000 to remove one landmine. 
 
--  The U.S. allocated nearly $18 million to demining projects in FY 
1994; more than $46 million will be spent in FY 1995. 
 
--  There are more than 30,000 amputees in Cambodia and more than 70,000 
in Angola, according to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
estimates.  Most are victims of mines. 
 
--  In 1991, the ICRC made almost 8,000 artificial limbs and 11,000 
orthopedic appliances for mine victims in 14 countries. 

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