Dec 2, 2001
Here’s a message that came to me from the National Peace Corps Association. It’s an urgent call for us to pressure President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to finally ban land mines. Please read this and call the President.
Please join the BAN LANDMINES CALL-IN DAYS December 3 and 4.
The White House landmines policy review is back on the table and is moving in an unfortunate direction—away from banning landmines and, indeed, toward actually using them. We believe that we only have a few short weeks to make our voices heard in the matter before the State Department and President Bush finalize this Administration’s landmine policy.
The national CALL-IN DAYS are DECEMBER 3rd and 4th. Please call the White House comment line (between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Eastern time) at 202-456-1111 and say something like the following:
“I am from __, and I am calling to urge President Bush to support a total ban on antipersonnel landmines. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty will help to protect U.S. troops and innocent civilians, in Afghanistan and throughout the world.”
Sample fax to Secretary of State Colin Powell
Dear Secretary Powell,
I am dismayed to hear that the United States may be moving away from its commitment to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Antipersonnel landmines maim and kill upwards of 18,000 people each year, mostly children, farmers, and other innocent civilians. This indiscriminate weapon also renders land useless for cultivation. Most of the world’s nations, including almost all of NATO, have joined the Mine Ban Treaty. It is time for the United States to do so as well.
In Afghanistan, there are already 8-10 million landmines on the ground. U.S. deployment of mines in that country, an option military leaders say is possible, would only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and put U.S. ground troops at risk. Please advocate for our country to give up this dishonorable weapon, in Afghanistan and everywhere else.
President Clinton instructed the U.S. government to move towards 2006 compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the use, stockpile, trade, and production of the weapon. It looks like the Bush Administration is poised to abandon that policy altogether. The formal landmines review now moves to the State Department, headed by Secretary Powell.
Tell him how you feel! More than 140 countries have joined this treaty, which has already made great strides in reducing the global landmine threat. We need improvement, not backtracking on the landmines issue!
The majority of landmine victims are in poor countries with very limited access to the surgery, blood transfusions, pain medication, prosthetic limbs, and physical therapy necessary for landmine survivors. The U.S. has not joined the treaty. This is unacceptable given the current humanitarian disaster:
- Landmines maim or kill upwards of 18,000 people each year; most are civilians; 30-40% are children.
- More than 500,000 people worldwide have been killed by landmines. 300,000 have been maimed by landmine explosions.
- In Cambodia, one in every 245 people is a landmine amputee; in Angola, one in every 334 persons.
- There are over 80 million landmines in 80 countries around the world. An additional 250 million are stockpiled.
ACTION NEEDED: Please join with other people of faith across the country who will be calling the White House to urge President Bush to ban landmines! If you can’t call on December 3 and 4, call as soon as you are able in December.
Take just one minute to register your opinion. Call the White House Operator and urge the President to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Telephone: 202-456-1111
Anton Zuiker ☄
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