Presentations by Dr. Lewis Griffith (International Security), Claude D’Estrée, J.D. (International Law), and Dr. Peter Van Arsdale (Humanitarian Assistance) on Landmine Awareness Day last week brought attention to landmine issues as they called for the United States to join the Mine Ban Treaty.
Currently, over 10 million stockpiled mines have yet to be destroyed and massive tracts of land are still unusable, according to the United Nations. The educational event, organized by Josef Korbel School MA Candidate Tim Schommer and sponsored by the Humanitarian Assistance Certificate, featured lectures by professors and a documentary by Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
“The issue of landmines is personal, human and very important for all of us,” said Van Arsdale who recounted some of his work in the Balkans with landmine victims.
Griffith went through the history of the use of mines, and said that their strategic military utility had drastically declined.
“There is no excuse for the U.S. not to be a party to the Landmines Ban from a military stance; it now comes down to keeping up the political pressure,” said Griffith.
From a legal standpoint, D’Estree noted that mines violated the concept of “superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering” as a principle in customary International Humanitarian law, or the Law of the War.
Keeping up political pressure is achieved through education and awareness of landmine issues, and this event was one of many across the country as a concerted effort for Landmine Awareness Day.
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies