09.10.19

Leahy Honored With ‘Congressional Champion Award’ For His Leadership In Addressing Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) In Former Conflict Zones

. . . “Legacies Of War” Project Focuses On Removing UXO From The ‘Secret’ U.S. Saturation Bombing Of Laos During The Vietnam War

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, Sept. 10, 2019) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday was recognized for his long leadership on efforts to end the use of cluster munitions, anti-personnel landmines, and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), which continue to kill innocent civilians long after conflicts have ended.

Legacies of War, a nonprofit, nonpartisan project dedicated to raising awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing during the secret war in Laos, presented Leahy with the Congressional Champion Award in a ceremony in Washington.

He has been the foremost U.S. officeholder in the campaign to ban landmines, and his legislation banning the U.S. export of anti-personnel landmines – the first such law in the world -- is credited with sowing the seeds that became a global treaty on landmines.  On the Appropriations Committee, for decades he has made these war legacy issues a priority in annual appropriations bills, including the Leahy War Victims Fund, run by USAID, which has helped thousands of civilian war victims across the globe, and other programs to assist such victims in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. 

In honoring Leahy, the group said:

“Over the course of his service, Senator Leahy has demonstrated a commitment to worldwide humanitarian aid. Among many great achievements and efforts, he has used his position to provide outstanding support for victims of military conflict and unexploded ordnance (UXO).  In 1989, he founded the Leahy War Victims Fund through USAID for the purpose of providing aid to those injured by landmines.  In its early years, the Leahy War Victims Fund focused on providing prosthetics and physical rehabilitation. Senator Leahy has since developed the fund to provide a much wider range of care with up to $14 million in relief each year.

“Beyond his efforts to aid victims of UXO, Senator Leahy has urged congressional action to end the use of indiscriminate weapons and support humanitarian demining operations. Additionally, he has spoken in support of international treaties to prevent the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions.  These initiatives are crucial for protecting future generations from the dangers of UXO.  Through the Leahy War Victims Fund, policy activism in the Senate, and continual support of Legacies of War’s mission, Senator Leahy has been a key leader in the development of a safer future in Laos.”

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