(Washington, 19 April 2022)—The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) takes exception to U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley’s remarks concerning landmines during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 7, 2022.
General Milley testified that “we need to look no further than what’s happening actually in Ukraine, the landmines are being effectively used by the Ukrainian forces to shape the avenues of approach…Anti-tank or anti-personnel mines are effective for use in combat.” The USCBL-USCMC strongly condemns the use of internationally banned anti-personnel landmines by any party, regardless of any potential military use, because they disproportionately and indiscriminately kill and maim civilians during, and long after, wars have ended.
General Milley mentioned two types of mines: anti-personnel and anti-tank. Anti-personnel landmines, which are banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty to which 164 countries are states parties, are inherently indiscriminate weapons incapable of distinguishing between civilians and combatants. Ukraine is party to the treaty; as of the publication of this statement, there has been no reported use of anti-personnel mines by Ukrainian forces. Neither Russia nor the United States is party to the Mine Ban Treaty, and Russian forces have used anti-personnel mines in Ukraine.
Ukraine is already one of the most mine-affected countries in the world: every day, more than half a million children live, study and play in mine-contaminated areas of Ukraine.
USCBL-USCMC continues to strongly urge the Biden Administration to take swift action to condemn the use of anti-personnel landmines and take immediate steps to ban the use of such landmines by the U.S. and accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. The failure of the United States to join the international agreement banning anti-personnel landmines weakens the impact of United States’ criticism of Russia’s use of these weapons.
USCBL-USCMC Steering Committee
Humanity & Inclusion (chair)
Amnesty International USA
Arms Control Association
Center for Civilians in Conflict
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Human Rights Watch
Legacies of War
Physicians for Human Rights
United Methodist Church -General Board of Church and Society
West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions / Proud Students Against Landmines