Vatican call for landmines moratorium

The Holy See's Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi has cited both international humanitrian law, and the plight of those maimed by antipersonnel landmines, in his call for a moratorium on the production and use of "hidden" weapons.

Catholic News Agency has reported on Archbishop Tomasi's address at the 11th session of the Convention for the prohibition or limitation of the use of conventional weapons that can produce excessive or indiscriminate traumatic effects.

He noted that the use of certain armaments in numerous conflicts following World War II allow us today "to make objective judgments from the standpoint of humanitarian international law, as well as from a strictly pragmatic point of view, about the consequences of the use of an entire category of arms," especially antipersonnel mines.

The Agency said Archbishop Tomasi underscored that numerous humanitarian organizations have shown that today there is need "to seriously reflect on the legitimacy of the use of mines."

"The dead and wounded victims of mines number in the millions," he said, noting as well the difficulty they pose for refugees who wish to return to their homelands and for the development of those countries contaminated by unexploded mines.

The high rate of failure of these arms and the high civilian cost, explained Archbishop Tomasi, has led some countries to conclude that these arms "pose a serious and disproportionate problem with respect to their military advantage."

"We cannot help but salute this choice for precaution and responsibility," he said, adding that the Holy See fully supports the resolution of the European Parliament calling for "an immediate moratorium on the use, accumulation, production and transfer or exportation of mines."

Holy See calls for moratorium on production and use of land mines (Catholic News Agency 7/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction (Ottawa 18/9/97)

Pope endorses world ban on landmines (CathNews 3/12/04)
US Bishops regret Bush U-turn on landmines ban (CathNews 4/3/04)
Nun spells out Australia's landmines obligations (CathNews 10/3/03)
Mining mercy (Australian Catholics Spring 2004)
When one small step can shatter your body (OzSpirit)

Vatican envoy asks UN for moratorium on land mines (Catholic World News/Catholic News Agency 9/8/05)

10 Aug 2005