Landmines: a continuing threat

Map showing landmine usageOn April 4 the United Nations will observe the 7th annual International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a commendable record in the campaign against landmines, but the crisis is not certainly over.

Antipersonnel land mines are the only non-nuclear weapons that continue to kill long after conflict ceases.  Most often their victims are women and children … While a land mine costs from $3 to $30, it can cost up to $1,000 to remove that mine once it is deployed … there is no single, highly efficient method for clearing existing mine fields.  It is a slow, dangerous and expensive process.  For years to come, these weapons will be cheap to buy, easy to use, hard to detect, and difficult to remove.

On Their Behalf: A Call to Presbyterians for Immediate Action on Land Mines

Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, 2002

In 2010 there were 4,200 victims of landmine’s devastating effects – 11 people a day.

Alarmingly, read Human Rights Watch’s account of Syria’s recent use of land mines here.

So what can we do?

Learn more from UNICEF

Roll up your pant leg on April 4 as part of the Lend Your Leg Campaign

Follow and Support organizations working for a change:

Pray that God will equip political leaders and the Church to take decisive action against landmine existence and proliferation

Use this Prayer for an End to the Use of Landmines

(adapted from the American Province of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis)

God of creation,
We have heard your call to care for the earth and for one another.
Yet even when wars stop, landmines mock our peace.
Young lives are risked playing games in nearby fields, going to school, chasing fluttering butterflies…
And yet political authorities often do little to provide for safety and health.
The need is great for advocates, de-miners, campaigners.
Lord of all, we humbly ask that you
Equip us to speak truth to those in power, persuading our leaders to abandon this cruel weapon.
Encourage us to step out together to free your world and your people from this scourge.
Empower us to build pathways for action, pathways of peace, pathways free of landmines.
In the name of the Prince of Peace we pray, Amen.

Andrew Turner is a field education student from Princeton Theological Seminary working with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

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