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Landmines: A Deadly Legacy

Members who read the Ploughshares Monitor are aware that in each issue there is a feature entitled “20-minute peace workout” in which readers are asked to write to appropriate authorities on a topic of concern. In the most recent issue (Vol.XVI, No.1, March 1995) the topic is “The landmine crisis: bolder action needed”. Uncleared antipersonnel landmines, some of them laid years ago in wars that have long since ended, kill or injure tens of thousands of civilians every year.

There is an increasing demand throughout the world for effective action to put an end to these tragedies. The United Nations, some governments, and many non-governmental organizations are attempting in various ways to limit or ban the use of these weapons and to provide funds for mine clearance. The Canadian government is seeking to strengthen the UN Inhumane Weapons Convention, and Canadian personnel are assisting in mine clearance in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia. The United States has proposed a landmine control regime which many see as a backward step. The Ploughshares Monitor has asked readers to take the following action:

“Write letters to Foreign Affairs Minister Andre Ouellet (House of Commons, Ottawa, K 1 A 0A6, no postage required) commending the Canadian government on its response to the landmine crisis to date and urging it to step up efforts by:

  1. announcing an export moratorium on landmines;

  2. supporting an international convention banning all anti-personnel mines; and

  3. increasing support for humanitarian landmine clearance and victim medical and rehabilitation programs.

Also write to President Bill Clinton (the White House, Washington, DC 20500, USA), urging the US government to reclaim its leadership on landmines by dropping its proposed control regime and by moving quickly toward a regime that would eliminate all landmines.”

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