Special message to the Office of President-Elect and Vice President-Elect of the U.S.
Posted: Dec 17, 2020
Washington D.C. — On behalf of our staff, board, and community, Legacies of War congratulates Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris for their election as President-Elect and Vice President-Elect of the United States.
We would like to also recognize the historic election of Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, as the nation’s first Asian, first Black, and first woman to serve as Vice President of the United States. Legacies of War was founded by a Lao-American woman, Channapha Khamvongsa, and currently has a diverse team of Board of Directors and staff. We understand the importance and value of representation and diversity at all levels of government and civil society and would like to share our excitement for Vice President-Elect Harris’ extraordinary milestone.
understand the importance and value of representation and diversity at all levels of government and civil society and would like to share our excitement for Vice President-Elect Harris’ extraordinary milestone.
The mission of Legacies of War is to raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos and advocate for the clearance of unexploded bombs and survivor assistance, to provide space for healing the wounds of war, and to create greater hope for a future of peace. Since our inception in 2004, Legacies of War has worked with a bipartisan coalition of policymakers to advance work to remove unexploded ordnance (UXO), secure funds for survivor assistance, and strengthen UXO risk education, especially for children who are at higher risk of UXO accidents.
In 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a historic $90 million commitment for UXO removal over the course of three years. In 2020, the House Appropriations Committee and U.S. Senate approved $40 million for FY21 for UXO removal in Laos — the highest ever recorded commitment by the United States on an annual basis. We thank the U.S. government for providing leadership on this issue and we urge President-Elect Biden and Congress to continue its long-term investment in a safer Laos.
Within the first 100 days, we also urge President-Elect Biden to ban the use, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions, accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and layout an accelerated timeline for the destruction of stockpiled landmines and cluster munitions, as outlined in the policy memo from the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition.
We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration, the 117th United States Congress, and the Department of State to continue this important and vital work.