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On June 21, President Biden fulfilled his campaign promise to reverse the Trump administration’s anti-personnel landmine policy by announcing a new near-global ban on anti-personnel landmine use by the U.S. military.

Over the past two years, FCNL advocates sent their members of Congress over a thousand letters urging them to speak out against landmines.

Over the past two years, FCNL advocates sent their members of Congress over a thousand letters urging them to speak out against landmines. Meanwhile, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) and members of Congress, led by Sen, Patrick Leahy (VT) and Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-2), pressed President Biden to take swift action to ban these weapons.

Now, after nearly two and a half years of dedicated advocacy, our networks have helped bring about positive change!

What’s in the new anti-personnel landmine policy?

Under President Biden’s new anti-personnel landmine policy, the United States will begin to comply with key parts of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which requires that countries renounce the use, development, production, acquisition, transfer, and stockpiling of these indiscriminate weapons.  The U.S. policy will adhere to these commitments everywhere except the Korean peninsula. This will essentially reinstate the Obama Administration’s 2014 policy on landmines.

What more needs to be done?

Since the ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, also known as the Ottawa Convention, there has been a global consensus against the use of anti-personnel landmines. Today, 164 other countries—including all our NATO allies—have joined the treaty and renounced the use of landmines. However, the United States, China, India, Pakistan, and Russia have not yet signed the treaty.

While President Biden’s landmine policy sets the goal of “ultimately acceding to the Ottawa Convention,” the policy’s “Korean exception” remains a major barrier. The perceived need to keep using mines on the North Korea-South Korea border has been used as an excuse by successive administrations not to join the treaty for more than two decades.

However, this “Korean exception” is outdated and unnecessary. The anti-personnel landmines already emplaced on the peninsula cause ongoing harm to civilians and create obstacles to peace.

How can I help?

FCNL and our partners in the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines are continuing to urge President Biden to end the “Korean exception” and  set the United States on a direct path to joining the Mine Ban Treaty by 2024.

You can help by urging your representative and senators to publicly support U.S. accession to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and help keep the pressure on!

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Ursala Knudsen-Latta

Legislative Director, Peacebuilding

Ursala is the legislative director for peacebuilding. She lobbies Congress to establish peacebuilding as a central goal of U.S. foreign policy.