This was delivered to me through the Pol Act mailing list, run by Peace oriented.

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Landmines, whose purpose is to maim and kill people, are escalating around the world. The State Department estimates abut 100 million unexploded landmines exist in over 60 countries. Millions more are stockpiled in warehouses, waiting to be deployed. Four out of every five landmine victims are civilians. Landmines placed during a conflict can still be triggered years later.

Two years ago, Congress passed the Leahy Amendment, placing a one-year moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines from the U.S. Last year, the moratorium was extended for another three years after a 100-0 vote in the Senate. The Clinton Administration followed with a U.N. resolution calling for a global export moratorium, which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 16, 1993. Eight other countries (Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, Slovakia and Greece) have announced their own export moratoria, and Cambodia has said it will no longer use or purchase mines. Canada, Taiwan, Peru and the Czech Republic are expected to declare export moratoria soon.

Despite these positive actions, far more mines re being strewn today than are being cleared. Costing as little a 50 cents apiece (top of the line is $30) each one costs $300 to $1000 to remove. The American Red Cross estimates that at least 1,200 people are being killed or maimed by mines each month. In addition to harming individuals, the threat of landmines leaves roads, power plants and farming lands off limits contributing to economic hardship as well. Sen. Leahy plans to introduce new legislation which builds on the U.S. landmine export moratorium. The new legislation would:

  1. Impose a one-year moratorium on the procurement and production of anti-personnel landmines by the U.S.
  2. Urge the President to encourage other major producers of anti-personnel landmines to adopt similar moratoria.
  3. Authorize up to $425 million for mine clearing activities.

Sen. Leahy is unofficially gathering original cosponsors. So far, over 50 Senators have agreed to support this legislation, including Barbara Boxer. Dianne Feinstein has not yet announced a position. The Army is opposed to this legislation, because it wishes to retain landmines as a weapon option. The Army is lobbying to stop any kind of landmine production ban.


Write or fax or phone your Senator For example:

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Phone 202/224-3841
fax 415/249-4777
fax 202/224-0656