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Today marks the second anniversary of President Donald Trump’s anti-personnel landmine policy, which reversed decades of practice by allowing the U.S. military to produce and deploy anti-personnel landmines anywhere in the world. When the new policy was initially announced in 2020, more than 60 national and international groups strongly condemned the policy—and the pressure hasn’t let up since.

These inhumane weapons continue to harm civilians around the world—half of them children.

In the last two years, FCNL constituents have sent Congress over a thousand letters urging lawmakers to speak out against landmines. Meanwhile, members of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) and members of Congress, in a bipartisan and bicameral letter, have pressed President Joe Biden to rid the U.S. military of these immoral weapons. Yet, over a year into the new administration, the policy remains unchanged.

Although landmines have not been regularly deployed by the U.S. military since the 1990’s, these inhumane weapons continue to harm civilians around the world. Just this past year, the 2021 Landmine Monitor reported “exceptionally high numbers” of landmine casualties in 2020. The vast majority of these casualties were among civilians—half of them children.

While the Pentagon claims landmines are “vital tools” in this “era of strategic competition,” numerous U.S. commanders have questioned their efficacy.  Retired Marine Corps Commandant General Alfred Gray, Jr. said the U.S. military kills “more Americans with our own mines than we do anyone else.” Even Ukraine has rejected these weapons and joined the Mine Ban Treaty, despite facing continued threats from Russia. In fact, Ukraine has destroyed more than two million of its stockpiled anti-personnel landmines since the Russian invasion in 2014 and the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Time for President Biden to Fulfill his Promises

In February 2020, then-presidential candidate Biden described Trump’s new landmine policy as “reckless” and “unnecessary.” He pledged to “promptly roll back this deeply misguided decision.” Yet a year into his term, President Biden has so far failed to fulfill his campaign promise.

The Biden administration must take immediate action to ban landmines and join the Mine Ban Treaty.

Determined to hold President Biden accountable, FCNL and the USCBL are keeping up the pressure for meaningful reform. FCNL has joined more than two dozen USCBL members to call on the Biden administration to take immediate action to ban landmines and join the Mine Ban Treaty.

Join the effort and urge your representative and senators to publicly support U.S. accession to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Now is not the time for silence!

Rafaela Demerath

Rafaela Demerath

Program Assistant, Peacebuilding (2021-2022)
Rafaela Demerath is the program assistant for the peacebuilding team.