Prince Harry Calls For Support For A Landmine Free 2025
Twenty years since Diana, Princess of Wales inspired people to back the campaign to ban landmines, Prince Harry is calling on the international community to make a renewed commitment to clear these indiscriminate killers and make a world free from landmines a reality by 2025.
Last night at Kensington Palace, Prince Harry was joined on stage by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, who pledged an additional £100m in British aid over the next three years to jumpstart the campaign.
This pledge supports the Mine Ban Treaty signed 20 years ago in Ottawa, widely recognised as one of the most successful treaties ever, having saved hundreds of thousands of lives. So far, 162 states have signed, and 27 countries have declared themselves mine-free. Over 51 million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed and the global trade has ground to a halt.
Yet we can and must do more. Despite the overwhelming success of the last two decades, landmines remain a constant threat to over 60 million people. In 2015, deaths and injuries hit a 10-year high, thanks to an increase in their use in the conflicts in the Middle East. Even in countries where peace now reigns, the legacy of contamination still claims lives. Princess Diana was a leading light in the campaign that led to the successful negotiation of the Mine Ban Treaty.
By travelling to Angola and highlighting the human suffering inflicted by these indiscriminate weapons, she struck a chord with millions around the world and moved governments to make an unprecedented commitment to get rid of landmines by 2025.
The minefield where Diana famously walked is now a thriving community with housing, a carpentry workshop, and a school. Following in his mother’s footsteps, Prince Harry also visited Angola in 2013, and saw first hand the way landmines constrain communities and create a pervasive sense of fear.
He spoke to men, women and children whose lives had been affected by these horrific relics of forgotten wars and this reaffirmed his commitment to carry on his mother’s legacy. Britain was a leading force in this enormous humanitarian effort in 1997, and this renewed commitment from our government shows its intent to be so once again. With leadership like this, the right sort of coordination, and renewed commitments from other donors, a landmine free 2025 can be a reality.
Page published: 5 April 2017