WASHINGTON—Bishop Richard E. Pates ofDes Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peaceof the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has joined a call from 76nongovernmental organizations to President Obama, urging the United States torelinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty withoutfurther delay.
“This is a crucial humanitariandecision that should not be put off any longer, or postponed during a busyelection year,” the organizations’ representatives said in an April 4 letter.“We urge you to submit the treaty to the Senate this year for its advice andconsent next year.”
The letter comes as the Obamaadministration concludes the comprehensive interagency review of its landminepolicy, initiated in December 2009, and enters the decision-making stage.
Since starting the review, theletter notes, the administration has received letters of support for the MineBan Treaty from 68 Senators, 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, key NATO allies,retired senior military personnel, dozens of NGO leaders, victims of U.S. landmines,and countless concerned Americans.
It notes that 161 countries aresignatories to the Mine Ban Treaty, including every member of NATO except theUnited States, as well as every member of the European Union, and other keyU.S. allies such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States is one of only 37countries in the world that have not joined the Mine Ban Treaty and the onlycountry in the Western Hemisphere aside from Cuba that has not joined.
Signers of the letter includedrepresentatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the UnitedMethodist Church, Church of the Brethren, the Conference of Major Superiors ofMen, Evangelicals for Social Action, Presbyterian Church (USA), Human RightsWatch, the Islamic Society of North America, Jesuit Refugee Services/USA andPax Christi USA.
Full text of the letter is availableonline: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/landmines/upload/Joint-Letter-to-Obama-on-Mine-Ban-Treaty-2012-04-04.pdf
---MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:Don ClemmerO: 202-541-3206Email
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