Prince Harry Speaks of Diana’s Legacy to Rid the World of Landmines (IEDs)

I feel her spirit in my work today.  I feel it strongly.  It is not to confuse humanitarianism with politics, they are completely separate issues.  For me I could be seen as political but in truth I am a humanitarian as I am feeling more and more the need to speak up for humanity as it is sidelined in favour of special interests. I didn’t know Diana’s death was within weeks of her visit to Bosnia.

It is to transform the war mentality from a security issue into a humanitarian issue.

It seems key nations have not signed the Mine Ban Treaty and others are involved in demining but not stopping production of mines.  Thus, the industrial-military complex issue.

Non signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty are as follows:

“…Cluster Munition Monitor 2018 is the ninth annual report of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the global coalition of nongovernmental organizations co-founded and chaired by Human Rights Watch. The group works to ensure that all countries join and adhere to the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions and requiring clearance and victim assistance. The report details how some non-signatories, particularly IsraelRussia, and the United States, hardened their defense of cluster munitions during the past year…”  (see next blog re: Cluster Munition Monitor)

Key quotes from article below:

“…At the time, the attention my mother brought to this issue wasn’t universally popular; some believed she had stepped over the line into the arena of political campaigning – but for her this wasn’t about politics; it was about people…’

‘she transformed landmines from a security issue into a humanitarian issue.’

Harry stated:  ‘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.’

Note: the Invictus Games and Royal visit in 2018 cost 2 million dollars, that could be invested in clearing landmines refer

…’she would have applauded the public outrage and the resolve of those in positions of power to end the indiscriminate killing of civilians. She would have applauded that, in a moment of global conscience, the treaty put humanitarian, not military, considerations at its heart.’

Britain's Princess Diana, is accompanied by a mine-clearing expert of the Halo Trust on 15 January 1997 in Huambo, Angola.
Britain’s Princess Diana, is accompanied by a mine-clearing expert of the Halo Trust on 15 January 1997 in Huambo, Angola.
Antonio Cotrim—AFP—Getty Images

April 5, 2017

Prince Harry delivered the speech below at the ‘Landmine Free 2025’ reception at Kensington Palace, on April 4. The event was held on International Mine Awareness Day, 20 years after Princess Diana walked through an active mine field during a trip to Angola.

Twenty years ago, in the last months of her life, my mother campaigned to draw attention to the horrific and indiscriminate impact of landmines. 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.

My mother had been shocked and appalled by the impact that landmines were having on incredibly vulnerable people and on children in particular. She did not understand why more people were not willing to address the cause of so much suffering. She refused to accept that these destructive weapons should be left where they were, just because they were perceived as too expensive and difficult to remove.

‘Even if the world decided tomorrow to ban these weapons, this terrible legacy of mines already in the earth would continue to plague the poor nations of the Globe. The evil that men do, lives after them…’

Ken Rutherford, who is here with us this evening, was working for a humanitarian organisation in Somalia when he lost both his legs to a landmine. Ken opened a Landmine survivor’s project in Bosnia with my mother and, in my mind, sums up her contribution to this cause perfectly. He says that… ‘she transformed landmines from a security issue into a humanitarian issue.’

There is no question that a huge amount has been achieved in the last 20 years – landmines remain politically toxic weapons in the eyes of people around the world; vast government stockpiles have been destroyed; and production of these weapons by the world’s arms producers has all but ceased.

The contribution of these demining organisations cannot be overstated; if you were to retrace my mother’s footsteps through Huambo in Angola today, you would see no danger signs and have no need for a helmet or body armour. Where the land was once contaminated with deadly explosives, there is now a thriving community, with a small college and a workshop making wooden furniture.

It is right that we should celebrate the huge progress which has been made, thanks to the difficult and dangerous work of the field teams, the dedication of all those who support them and the tremendous financial support, especially from the governments’ of the United States, Japan, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, the EU and our own government here in the UK. But in marking how far we have come, we must also acknowledge that there is much more which needs to be done to fulfil the commitments of the Ottawa treaty.

Families trying to meet their basic needs for survival – growing crops, gathering wood or collecting water – are facing unacceptable risks in their daily lives. In fact, somewhere in the world right now, a parent is making the grimmest of choices: to risk cultivating mine-contaminated land or to let their family starve. That is no choice at all.

Such tragedies undermine the promises made by the world twenty years ago; too many communities remained shackled in a cycle of poverty and fear. But it doesn’t need to be this way. With the renewed focus this anniversary demands, we should celebrate MAG and HALO’s joint commitment to ‘finishing the job’ and use their example to bring other organisations into this collaboration.

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. 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.

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.

Those two young boys, Malic and Žarko, are now grown men and are with us today. 20 years on, they both still struggle with their physical and emotional injuries and with the high costs of replacing their prosthetics.

When my mother said goodbye to Žarko that August, just weeks before her untimely death, she told him he would not be forgotten. Please help me keep her word to Žarko and Malic, and other people like them throughout the world, who still need us to finish the job and rid the planet of landmines. Collectively we have the knowledge, skill, and resources to achieve it, so let’s make future generations proud and finish what we started.

Mohandas Gandhi

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”