Prince Harry attended The Landmine Free World 2025 Reception at Kensington Palace to mark International Mine Awareness Day.
The Reception was hosted by the world’s two leading landmine charities, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust, who aim to free the world of landmines by 2025.
“I have seen first-hand the work of demining field teams in Cahora Bassa, Mozambique and Cuito Cuanavale, Angola and can attest to their discipline, expertise and determination,” said Prince Harry. "MAG and HALO alone have a combined workforce of 9,000 people – almost all from mine-affected communities. They, and other organisations, have the knowledge, experience and capability to realise the Treaty’s vision by 2025 or sooner.
“It would take just an additional £100m each year until 2025 – the cost of a star signing for some professional football teams – to clear the world’s most affected countries of landmines; countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, where the debris from bygone wars denies men and women the ability to cultivate their land, feed their children and re-build their lives.
“I applaud the Secretary of State and our government for their bold commitment to supporting this vital work with additional funding. I hope this example will be seen by the international community as a reminder of the commitments made in 1997 and that other countries will redouble their efforts. The sooner we are able to clear all remaining landmines the less chance there is of innocent lives being lost or changed forever.”
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty was signed 20 years ago in order to prevent the use and production of landmines across the world – but there are still countries contaminated with the devices.
Several key figures in the signing of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty attended the reception, alongside other senior representatives of governments who support international mine action.
The Chief Executive of MAG, Jane Cocking, and The HALO Trust Chief Executive, James Cowan, spoke before introducing Prince Harry and Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel.
Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was closely involved in raising awareness about landmines, visiting Angola and Bosnia, two countries heavily affected.
In the year marking the twentieth anniversary of The Princess’ death, Prince Harry is pleased to recognise his mother’s work and the progress which has been made by MAG, HALO, the UK Government and other organisations.
“Twenty years ago, in the last months of her life, my mother campaigned to draw attention to the horrific and indiscriminate impact of landmines,” said Prince Harry. “She visited affected areas such as Huambo in Angola and Travnik in Bosnia. She heard how people in these communities lived in constant fear that each step may be their last. She met with those who had suffered life changing injuries as a result of anti-personnel mines, she listened to their stories, and helped share them with the world.”
Prince Harry has visited minefields himself, in both Angola and Mozambique, meeting amputees, and witnessing the devastating impact landmines have on some of the poorest people in mine-affected communities.