A deminer working for Mines Advisory Group in northern Iraq conducts mine clearance.

© 2004 Brian Liu

(Washington, DC) – Two recent policy statements bring the United States closer to aligning its policy with the 1997 treaty banning landmines, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing a question-and-answer document about the policy changes.

The new elements in the landmine policy are a ban on use of antipersonnel mines except on the Korean Peninsula; a ban on production and acquisition of antipersonnel mines; a study of the alternatives; and a statement that the US will rejoin the path toward accession to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

“The new steps announced by the Obama administration will help bring US policy closer to the requirements of the Mine Ban Treaty,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. “But to help rid the world of these insidious weapons, the US needs to get past the exception permitting landmine use on the Korean Peninsula and join the treaty.”

Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, together with its coordinator, Jody Williams, for its efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty and for its contributions to a new international diplomacy based on humanitarian imperatives. It is also chair of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines.