Few weapons leave a longer legacy than land mines. But as a result of U.S. and international efforts since 1993, fewer people are killed or maimed by mine explosions today.
The world is safer, in large part, because of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program. It was established in 1993 to work with the international donor community to destroy weapons, including land mines.
Discussing the recent release of a report titled “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” Assistant Secretary of State Puneet Talwar said that land mines remain from conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s and even from as far back as World War II.
These mines harm innocent men and women, but most especially children, “who may not have even been alive during these conflicts,” he said.
The U.S. has contributed $2.3 billion to more than 90 countries through the weapons destruction program. “The United States views this as a humanitarian matter, which is why we are proud to be the world’s leading donor on this issue,” Talwar said.
The report highlights achievements toward making areas safer in Vietnam, greater North Africa and several other places around the world. The program’s accomplishments during the past 21 years include:
Helping more than 90 countries affected by land mines, explosive war remnants, small arms and munitions.
Disposing of more than 33,500 man-portable air-defense systems since 2003.
Destroying more than 1.6 million small arms and light weapons and more than 90,000 tons of ordnance in 38 countries.
Providing assistive devices and other rehabilitative services to hundreds of thousands of people in more than 50 countries.