On November 29th, more than 80 guests attended the official kick off of the bipartisan U.S. Congressional Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)/Demining Caucus, held in the Cannon House Office Building of Washington, D.C.
The event featured impassioned speeches from caucus co-chairs, Representatives Jackie Speier and David Valadao, from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs Mark Swayne, and from the State Department Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement’s (PM/WRA) Stan Brown.
"In 2017, 2,700 people died due to unexploded ordnance and explosives and 7,239 were injured. About one third of these were children. We need to do something now." Representative Jackie Speier
Most of us in the US couldn't really relate to the fear of walking down the street and an explosive device killing us or destroying our future. But I had the opportunity to be briefed by The HALO Trust on their work in Nagorno Karabakh and I just thought we've got to do something to continue this effort." Representative David Valadao
To celebrate the new caucus, guests were encouraged to learn more about U.S. humanitarian demining programs by trying out demining equipment, interacting with inert ordnance, and by getting to know a mine detection dog. Exhibiters included HALO, the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), the Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining R&D program and Humanitarian Demining Training Center, Marshall Legacy Institute, and MAG.
The formation of the UXO/Demining Caucus, which currently includes 13 members, symbolizes the strong commitment of many members of Congress to promote US humanitarian demining programs.
Caucus co-chairs include Reps. Jackie Speier and David Valadao, and members include Reps. Matt Cartwright, Tom Emmer, Pramila Jayapal, Bill Johnson, Alan Lowenthal, Betty McCollum, James McGovern, Frank Pallone, Ed Royce, Adam Schiff, and Brad Sherman.
If you reside in the U.S. and would like to support HALO’s advocacy efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org