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After 40 Years of Danger, Mauritania is Now Landmine Free


Under the purview of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Mauritania is now free of landmines for the first time in four decades. Committing to weapons treaties like these can also influence nonstate actors to do the same.

In the News:

Mauritania is now the 31st State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention which entered into force in 1999, and is a disarmament treaty that prohibits landmine use, stockpiling, production and transfer. Since its beginnings, 164 States Parties have destroyed more than 51 million landmines and 158 States Parties have fulfilled their stockpile destruction obligation.

“The coalition is bucking quite a tide. This month, the congressionally mandated National Defense Strategy Commission called for a beefed-up U.S. military presence to be paid for by budget increases that could propel annual U.S. military past its current $700 billion a year—more than the next eight countries, most of them our allies, put together—to $1 trillion by 2024. Without this money, the commission warned, the U.S. would be required to ‘alter the expectation of U.S. defense strategy and our global strategic objectives.’”

Insight from Peace Science:

  • Signing a commitment banning landmines appears to influence armed nonstate actors (ANSAs) away from the use of landmines, suggesting that deeds of commitment can influence ANSAs’ behavior.
  • The same factor that may account for a government signing the Mine Ban Treaty—its previous non-use of landmines—may also account for its compliance with that treaty, suggesting that signing itself does not exercise any independent effect on state behavior.
  • State and nonstate actors’ behavior with regards to signing and complying with humanitarian treaties should be viewed as interdependent, where actors make decisions based in part on what their opponents do.


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