From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Brethren object to Clinton landmine policy

From George Conklin <>
Date 27 May 1996 14:52:37

Nevin Dulabaum,     (847) 742-5100 
Director of News Services 
Church of the Brethren
The Church of the Brethren objects to President Clinton's landmine policy

(Elgin, Ill.) May 16, 1996 -- The Church of the Brethren objects to
President Clinton's policy regarding landmines. Rather than an immediate,
outright ban on the use of landmines, President Clinton today announced
that the U.S. will restrict only its use of so-called 'dumb' landmines,
which do not self-deactivate. The policy also allows the use of landmines
on the Korean peninsula and other specific geographical areas. The use of
'smart' or self-deactivating landmines will be allowed until 2001. 

The Church of the Brethren believes the U.S. should join many other nations
of the world in adopting a policy that immediately bans the production and
use of all landmines.

Landmines kill or injure over 26,000 people a year, or 500 people every
week, most of whom are civilians. An estimated 110 million landmines
already are planted around the world today, and the United Nations
estimates that another 10 million to 25 million will be planted in the next
five years. 

The President's decision not to enact an outright ban stands in contrast to
the recent actions of other nations. Thirty-nine countries have stated
their support for an immediate and comprehensive ban on landmines,
including 13 in just the past month and 25 since September. In January,
Canada suspended all production and use of landmines, effective
immediately. The Netherlands adopted a similar policy in March, Germany in
April. On May 3, the last day of a recent U.N. conference on landmines,
France, Portugal, Malta, Angola, and South Africa called for an immediate

"Mr. Clinton's pronouncement regarding the use of landmines is a
disappointment to our denomination, which supports a total ban on
landmines," said Donald E. Miller, Church of the Brethren general
secretary. "It was hoped that the president would take a stronger
leadership role on this humanitarian issue."

According to the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines, a coalition of 80 U.S.
non-governmental organizations, Clinton's announcement clearly indicates
that the U.S. has decided against taking a leadership role in the worldwide
effort to eradicate landmines, and will merely stand on the sidelines in
September when Canada convenes an international meeting with many countries
to develop ways measures to promote a total ban on landmines. 

According to Joshua Warner, legislative assistant with the Church of the
Brethren Washington Office, Clinton is yielding to the wishes of the
Pentagon while ignoring the recommendations of many knowledgeable
governmental officials with the State Department's
Agency for International Development and other branches of government that
are most familiar with the humanitarian and socio-economic disaster caused
by landmines. He also is ignoring the advice of 15 high-ranking retired
military officers who urged him in the May 3 New York Times to ban these
weapons as a "humane and militarily responsible" step. Among the
signatories were Gen.  Norman Schwartzkopf (commander Operation Desert

The Church of the Brethren, a 144,000-member denomination consisting of 23
districts spanning most of the contiguous United States, is headquartered
in Elgin, IL.  It was formed in 1708 when the Brethren movement began in
central Germany.  It is a historic peace church, conscientiously opposed to
all war.

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