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USCCB committee chair urges Obama administration to agree to Mine Ban Treaty

February 21, 2014

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has called upon the Obama administration to agree to the Ottawa Treaty, a 1997 agreement designed to end the use of anti-personnel landmines.

Over 150 nations have acceded to the treaty, which is also known as the Mine Ban Treaty and is officially called the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

“Our views are grounded in Church teaching that calls for a ban on landmines on moral grounds since they are indiscriminate weapons that kill and maim innocent civilians during and long after hostilities end,” said Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan 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. The Holy See has noted the ‘deplorable humanitarian consequences of anti-personnel mines.’”

Bishop Pates also cited a statement by Pope Benedict XVI encouraging “everyone to be committed to freeing humanity from these terrible and devious weapons.”

If President Obama were to sign the treaty, it would not go into effect until two thirds of senators voted to approve it.


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 23, 2014 2:14 AM ET USA

    You can also tell that none of the bishops have ever experienced war before, otherwise they would realize how many American service people have been saved by these defensive weapons.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Feb. 21, 2014 10:17 PM ET USA

    Bishop Pates again? Why he's an expert on just so much, he just can't stop commenting !