Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply alarmed by reports that the Trump administration will allow the United States military to use landmines, a highly indiscriminate and destructive weapon. The administration appears to have reversed a 2014 directive for the United States to no longer “produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines.”
Landmines have maimed or killed hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men. They are forbidden by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which came into force faster than any arms control treaty in modern history. As one of the six organizations that launched the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for helping secure this ban.
The following statement is attributable to Michael Payne, PHR interim advocacy director:
“The United States is doing a 180 on the near-global consensus to ban the abhorrent and inhumane use of landmines. These indiscriminate weapons maim and kill. They destroy families and communities, arable land and livestock.
“By rolling back longstanding U.S. restrictions on the use of landmines, the Trump administration is yet again showing a complete disregard for established international norms.
“Despite any purported technological advancements, landmines are still capable of causing indiscriminate harm and egregious injury and suffering. By loosening restrictions on landmine use, the United States is signaling to other countries around the world that landmines can be acceptable. The Trump administration should not normalize these archaic and gruesome weapons, which have no place in the 21st century.
“International human rights law explicitly prohibits the use of weapons that kill indiscriminately. PHR has been in the forefront of documenting the devastating medical effects and the frequently lethal consequences of these weapons that cannot distinguish between the footfall of a soldier and the step of a child. We will continue to advocate for a comprehensive global ban on the use, stockpiling, production transfer, and export of anti-personnel landmines.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.