WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) today announced the creation of the bipartisan Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)/Demining Caucus to support life-saving programs to remove ordnance, mines, and other explosive remnants of war left on battlefields around the world. Caucus co-chairs Speier and Valadao are joined by 12 colleagues dedicated to making the Caucus an example of bipartisan cooperation and commonsense efforts that will save lives and bolster America’s commitment to humanitarian assistance and human rights.
“During a Congressional delegation to Laos earlier this year, I saw firsthand the importance of humanitarian demining efforts and the lasting impact these heroic deeds have on the safety and economic well-being of communities around the world,” Rep. Speier said. “I’m proud to work with Congressman Valadao and the other Caucus members to shine a light on this often overlooked but critically important human rights issue. The actions of war, including our own country’s actions, leave permanent wounds on a society and we need to ensure civilians aren’t harmed years and decades after a conflict ends.”
“I am proud to co-lead the UXO caucus with my colleague, Representative Speier. It is a sad reality that many communities around the world live in fear of mines that were laid decades earlier during conflicts long forgotten,” Rep. Valadao said. “However, because of the dedication and commitment of organizations such as HALO Trust and MAG, these communities are closer than ever to experiencing life without the constant fear of a mine explosion. Together, members of the UXO Caucus will work to highlight this critical work and serve as a reminder of dangerous and lasting effect of conflict globally.”
The Caucus is hosting a Kick-Off Reception and Exhibition on Thursday, November 29 from 5 to 7 pm in Cannon HOB 421. The event will feature opening remarks from Reps. Speier and Valadao followed by Mark Swayne, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs; and Stanley L. Brown, the Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State (PM/WRA). It will also include a hands-on display of demining equipment and inert ordnance and a mine-detecting dog team.
The UXO/Demining Caucus advocates for the support of life-saving programs that protect communities and serve U.S. security, economic, and political interests abroad. The Caucus has a global interest, as U.S. UXO and mine removal programs have been implemented in more than 100 countries since 1993. Current U.S. operations span more than 40 countries, including Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Cambodia, Colombia, Iraq, Kosovo, Laos, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Ukraine.
The Caucus is supported by the non-partisan global demining groups The Halo Trust and Mines Advisory Group America.
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