WASHINGTON, DC - The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its global efforts to eradicate antipersonnel landmines. The Peace Prize was awarded jointly to coordinator Jody Williams — of the Veterans for America (VFA) — and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Bobby Muller, President of VFA and co-founder of the International Campaign said, “We are pleased that the International Campaign is being honored by the Nobel Committee for our work to ban this insidious, indiscriminate weapon. Each of the 1,000 organizations in the coalition share this honor.” The ICBL brings together humanitarian, human rights, peace, veterans, medical, development, arms control, religious, environmental and women’s groups in common call for a complete ban on antipersonnel mines.
“We sincerely hope that this award will lead to a full worldwide ban that will include the United States, which has yet to show support for this effort,” Muller said. “With Russia’s decision today to join the treaty ban, the company the U.S. keeps has been reduced to the likes of Iraq, Iran, and China. It saddens me that we are aligning ourselves with the rogue nations of the world when we should be showing leadership.”
The International Campaign was started in 1991 by VFA and Medico International, a German humanitarian organization. It was quickly expanded to include four other core members, Physicians for Human Rights, Mines Advisory Group, Human Rights Watch, and Handicap International. Ms. Jody Williams was asked to head up the campaign and has been an active participant in the treaty negotiations. “In many ways our work has just begun,” said Ms. Williams. “The ICBL has drafted an action plan that promotes the rapid enforcement, universalization and monitoring of the treaty, and for expanding programs for mine clearance and victim assistance.”
The ICBL has been praised by numerous governments and U.N. agencies for being the driving force in the spectacular success of the movement to ban antipersonnel mines. Begun by just a handful of NGOs less than six years ago, the ICBL has played the key role in educating the world about the landmine crisis, and convincing governments to take urgent action to eliminate this weapon that kills or maims 26,000 innocent civilians each year. There are more than 100 million mines buried in more than 60 countries around the world.