Landmines & Cluster Munitions
Since coming to the Senate, Senator Leahy has been active in the international effort to ban the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines. In 1992, Senator Leahy wrote the first law enacted by any government to prohibit the export of these weapons. He worked in Congress to develop programs to assist mine victims, including establishing a special fund in the foreign aid budget. The Leahy War Victims Fund provides over $10 million annually to address the needs of disabled victims of conflict, particularly mine victims. Senator Leahy also worked to establish programs at the State and Defense Departments to support humanitarian de-mining.
Leahy has long been the leading U.S. official pressing for a worldwide ban on the use of these weapons, recently renewing his commitment for the United States to join the international treaty banning landmines. Leahy pressed every administration since the Clinton administration to join the treaty. Due in large part to his efforts, in September 2014, the United States committed to not using, or assisting in the use of, landmines outside of the Korean peninsula, as well as to efforts to destroy landmine stockpiles around the world. This built upon earlier policy changes that the U.S. would not produce or acquire landmines and other munitions that are not consistent with the Ottawa Treaty.
The more than 150 nations that have joined the treaty and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines together have shown that the goal of a worldwide landmine ban is within reach. But it will remain beyond the world's grasp as long as the United States, Russia and China refuse to officially join this effort.
Our country has made many contributions to the effort to de-mine areas of the world where landmines pose the greatest danger to innocent civilians, but our refusal to join the treaty gives nations that are the worst offenders an excuse to do the same. The Clinton Administration made a strong commitment to find alternatives to these indiscriminate weapons. While President Obama has made progress towards this goal, Senator Leahy is hopeful that the U.S. can continue to look for constructive ways to lead the world toward the goal of ending the use of these deadly weapons.
You can read an article from the Boston Globe on Leahy's efforts to ban the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines here.