WASHINGTON--The United States should sign and ratify the Convention on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention or the Mine Ban Treaty, said the chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice.
"There is a legacy of devastation in places such as Iraq, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola, Colombia and Lebanon while landmines appear to have been used in more recent conflicts such as Syria," said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, in a February 12 letter. He cited both Rice's and the Vatican's calls for a response to the damage inflicted by anti-personnel mines.
"Please urge the President to exercise his leadership on banning landmines by acceding to the Ottawa Convention," wrote Bishop Pates. He compared the issue to President Obama's leadership on nuclear non-proliferation and the bishops' support for the New START Treaty, and added, "Be assured that our Conference would affirm this action and work vigorously for ratification of a treaty that rids the world of these weapons which cause long-term, irreparable, and indiscriminate harm."
Bishop Pates' letter is available online