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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > December
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 19, 2005

2005 Sees Major Developments in United States Efforts to End the Global Landmine Problem: U.S. Funding for Mine Action Surpasses $1 Billion

United States support for humanitarian mine action surpassed $1 billion this year since the inter-agency U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program, the world’s largest, was established in 1993. This program seeks to alleviate the humanitarian, social and economic effects of persistent landmines left from past conflicts and includes such activities as demining, mine risk education, mine survivors assistance, and research and development on better ways to find and clear landmines.

Other significant developments in 2005 included the implementation of the U.S. ban on non-detectable landmines (both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle), and the successful completion of humanitarian mine action in Guatemala thanks in part to United States assistance.

"Our efforts over the years, in partnership with other governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations, have reduced landmine casualties, enabled millions to live, farm, and raise their children safely, and made mine action a more efficient discipline," remarked Dr. John Hillen, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. "The goal of a world free from the humanitarian impact of landmines is attainable in our lifetime provided we all continue to apply lessons learned and focus on the landmines that pose an imminent threat to the safety of communities and that hinder economic development."

The United States looks forward to further progress in mine action in the future and to continued cooperation with others in various fora including the Mine Action Support Group, a group of mine action donor countries. The United States assumed the chairmanship of the Mine Action Support Group this month.

The United States began to conduct "humanitarian demining" in Afghanistan as early as 1988. It subsequently expanded such aid to other mine-affected countries, and then created the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program in 1993. Nearly 50 countries have received mine action assistance from the United States to date.

U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program participating agencies include the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (www.state.gov/t/pm/wra) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (www.humanitarian-demining.org/demining/default.asp), the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund (www.leahywarvictimsfund.org), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/nceh/ierh/Reseearch&Survey/WarRelated.htm), and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation.

A revised fact sheet, "Milestones in Humanitarian Mine Action (3rd Edition)," is now available at www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/58255.htm. It provides a chronology of significant United States and foreign mine action and landmine policy activities through 2005.

Released on December 19, 2005

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