During the Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland during the week of April 7, Lynn Bradach, a Ban Advocate from the U.S., made a strong call to President Obama, urging his Administration to finalize its Landmine Policy Review and to commit to joining the Mine Ban Treaty at the Maputo Third Review Conference to take place this June in Mozambique.
She handed the following letter, drafted to President Obama, to Mr. Steve Costner, the U.S. delegate present in Geneva.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
RE: Why won’t the US commit to join the Mine Ban Treaty?
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Lynn Bradach and in July of 2003, my son Cpl Travis Bradach-Nall was killed by a U.S. cluster bomb in Karbala, Iraq, during a clearance operation. Since then I have worked with other Ban Advocates in memory of my son Travis and all Ban Advocates who have been victims of cluster munitions and landmines to ban the use of these horrible and indiscriminate weapons of war.
My main focus has been to get the U.S. to take a major step in doing what is right by acceding to the Mine Ban Treaty. To some, it may seem that this action would not make a great difference given that the U.S. has not transferred or used this weapon in more than 20 years. In fact, most countries in the world, including all other NATO members, have already joined the treaty. If the U.S. were to become a States Party to the treaty, we would be sending a very powerful message to the international community about the values our country stands for.
It has been more than five years since the current administration declared that it was in the process of reviewing U.S. landmine policy, and I along with many others believed that we were finally going to step up and do what was right. For five years, I have been on an emotional roller coaster, thinking a decision to join the treaty was imminent, only to be given the disappointing news that the review was not complete. The anguish of knowing that there would be more mothers, families and communities that would come to know the pain delivered by these weapons seems once again unbearable.
I commend my country on the aid they have given to the clearance of these horrendous weapons and I am thankful for the support provided for mine awareness and assistance to the victims. However financial support is not enough. We must prove to the world that we believe these weapons should never be used again by joining the Mine Ban Treaty.
This administration has an historic opportunity to add the United States of America to the list of 161 countries already on board, at the 3rd Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty taking place in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014.
President Obama, it is time to join the Mine Ban Treaty!
United States of America