U.S. fails to complete landmine policy review as promised

The United States Campaign to Ban Landmines said on Thursday that the Obama Administration is not keeping its promises by not completing a review of U.S. landmine policy that it started more than four years ago.

"The Obama Administration has spent another year ignoring this issue, choosing instead to delay a decision on joining a treaty that is saving so many lives every day," Steve Goose, the head of the ICBL delegation and executive director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, said. "There is no excuse for such inaction, and the humanitarian costs it entails. The U.S. continues to opt to stand outside the Mine Ban Treaty, alongside Syria and Iran among others, instead of inside it with all of its NATO and European Union allies."

A U.S. delegation to a meeting of the States Parties in 2012 said a completion of the review would come "soon," but conflicting information said the review was "pressing forward."

"It is ridiculous that the United States has once again deferred conclusion of this review," Zach Hudson, a USCBL coordinator said. "The administration is just not taking this seriously. Yet during the same four years that they have avoided making the decisions necessary to join this lifesaving convention, more than 16,000 men, women, and children have been killed or maimed by a landmine-many by U.S. munitions, and ten more casualties will continue to occur every day moving forward."

During the previous four years, letters in support of the U.S. accession to the Mine Ban Treaty were sent to the Obama Administration by 68 Senators, approximately 100 leaders of U.S. nongovernmental organizations, NATO allies, military personnel, 16 Nobel Peace Prize recipients and landmine surviviors.

The U.S. is one of 36 countries in the world that have not joined the treaty, which was negotiated in 1997 and became international law in 1999.