From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Brethren say land mines should be banned

From George Conklin <>
Date 27 May 1996 14:54:36


Nevin Dulabaum,     (847) 742-5100 
Director of News Services 
Church of the Brethren

(Elgin, Ill.) May 6, 1996 -- The revision of the Protocol on Landmines of
the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons was
concluded on May 3 in Geneva without an outright ban being

According to David Radcliff, the Church of the Brethren's director of
Denominational Peace Witness, the revised statement is a weak compromise
among the 55 nations represented at the conference. The accord will phase
out the use of non-detectable plastic mines. It also will limit the
life-span of antipersonnel mines that are not in properly marked, fenced
off, and guarded mine fields. These types of mines must self-destruct
within 30 days or self-deactivate within 120 days. However, the new land
mine agreement gives nations nine years to switch to detectable,
self-destructing mines.  

United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has stated that he
is disappointed that "the progress achieved falls so far short of what I
had hoped for at this review conference."  The
United Nations estimates that by the year 2001, the date of the
next review, another 10 million to 25 million land mines will be
planted, adding to the current estimate of 110 million land mines
worldwide. The UN also estimates that by that time land mines
will have killed an additional 50,000 people and maimed 80,000

The Church of the Brethren shares in Boutros-Ghali's disappointment and
believes that a complete land mine ban should
have been negotiated. The denomination fully supports the
International Campaign to Ban Land Mines.  

"This is not simply a military or political issue," said Radcliff. "It is a
human issue, as land mines are among the most inhumane implements of war
ever developed. Their maiming effect on soldiers are bad enough, but when
they inflict their ruinous injuries on civilians for years afterward, they
go far beyond the bounds of civilized conduct.  In refusing to deal
immediately and drastically with this threat to people around the world,
the international community has given in to the interests of nations and
arms suppliers whose decisions are driven much more by economics than by

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, Ill. It was formed in 1708
when the Brethren movement began in central Germany. It is a
historic peace church, conscientiously opposed to all war.    


For more information on international and U.S. campaigns to ban
land mines, contact the Church of the Brethren Washington Office
at 202 546-3202.  

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