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US will not become party to anti-personnel landmine treaty

[JURIST] The US State Department (DOS) stated [press release] Tuesday that the US will not be signing the treaty [text; JURIST news archive] to ban the use of anti-personnel landmines. The announcement comes a week before the Second Review Conference [official website] the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction is set to be held in Cartagena, Colombia. For the first time, the US will send a delegation of humanitarian landmine observers to the conference. A spokesperson for Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed disappointment in the decision not to sign the treaty, but also welcomed [Reuters report] the presence of the observers as a possible sign of progress. To date 156 countries have signed the treaty [advocacy website], while 39, including China, Russia and India, have not.

Last year, the Bush Administration decided against [JURIST report] adopting the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) [text]. More than 100 countries have adopted the convention [JURIST report], but major users of cluster munitions, including Russia and China, have not. While the US did not adopt the ban, claiming it would impede humanitarian efforts [JURIST report]by discouraging cooperation with non-signatories, it did adopt a formal policy [text,PDF] on cluster munitions "intended to minimize the potential unintended harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure."

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