Throughout the 1990s there was a growing international consensus on the need to regulate and eliminate anti-personnel landmines because of the havoc they wreak on civilian populations. In 1992, several NGOs formed the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a coalition that is now composed of over 1,100 civic organizations around the world. Their effort culminated in 1997 with the negotiation of the landmine ban treaty, known as the Ottawa Convention. On October 10, 1997, the campaign, along with its director, Jody Williams, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As of 23 October 2003, 150 states had signed or acceded to the Convention, and 141 had ratified it. The United States is not one of them. On 17 September 1997, the Clinton Administration announced its decision not to sign the Ottowa Convention, but left the open the door to U.S. ratification at a later date if certain conditions were met, including an "adequate transition period" and the preservation of anti-tank mines. That door was closed on 27 February 2004 when the Bush administration announced a new US policy on landmines which states that the U.S. will eliminate "persistent landmines" (both anti-vehicle and anti-personnel), but will continue work to develop non-persistent landmines with self-destruction or self-deactivation capabilities.Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) U.S. Government Documents
Also see, Landmines: A Global Scourge for general background information on the issue. For information on what you can do right now to help ban landmines, Americans should check out the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines.
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