UK

UK invests £100m in bid for landmine-free world by 2025

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Media captionPrince Harry: 'I applaud our government for their commitment'

The UK government is investing £100m in a plan - backed by Prince Harry - to rid the world of landmines by 2025.

International development secretary Priti Patel said the three-year aid package would tackle the "global scourge" of unexploded landmines.

Speaking at Kensington Palace, Ms Patel said it would help 800,000 people.

Prince Harry said the government had demonstrated "bold commitment" in pledging the money, but that "there is much more that needs to be done".

He is supporting a bid by anti-landmine charities the HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group to eradicate the explosives within eight years, following in the footsteps of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

He said it was "shocking" that an estimated 60 million people still lived with the threat of unexploded landmines.

"Somewhere in the world right now a parent is making the grimmest of choices - to risk cultivating in landmine-contaminated land or letting their children starve," he said.

"Such tragedies undermine the promises made by the world 20 years ago," he added.

He said it would take an additional £100m each year until 2025 to rid the world of landmines - "the cost of a star signing for some professional football team".

Diana's 'courage'

His mother, Princess Diana, campaigned on the issue of landmine use and called for them to be subject to an international ban.

Ms Patel highlighted Princess Diana's efforts, describing her as "courageous".

She said: "Britain has a historic role in tackling the indiscriminate and lethal legacy of landmines.

"That role was, of course, embodied by the efforts of His Royal Highness' late Mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

"Twenty years ago she brought landmines to the world's attention with her courageous walk through an Angolan mine field."

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Image caption Princess Diana toured a minefield in Angola shortly before her death

In the months before her death in 1997, Princess Diana was pictured walking through a minefield in Angola, which was being cleared by the HALO Trust.

On her last overseas trip, she also went to Bosnia to meet victims who had been injured by landmines.

Prince Harry has made similar trips to Angola and Mozambique after becoming a patron of the trust's 25th anniversary appeal.

Now, he will speak out against the weapons at the Landmine Free World 2025 event, which will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "Prince Harry is pleased to have this moment to recognise the significant contribution his mother made in this field, the progress which has been made by MAG (Mines Advisory Group), HALO, the UK government and other organisations, and the opportunity to continue raising awareness of making the world landmine-free by 2025."

Since the 128 countries signed the treaty to ban the use and production of anti-personnel mines, nearly 30 countries have been declared mine-free.

Countries most affected by landmines include those in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The countries and territories with mine contamination include:

  • Massive (More than 100 sq km): Angola, Chad, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Turkey, Iraq, Western Sahara.
  • Heavy (20-99 sq km): Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Colombia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Lebanon
  • Medium (5-19 sq km): Somaliland, Falkland Islands, Chile, Armenia, Tajikistan, Jordan, the West Bank.
  • Light (Less than 5 sq km): DRC, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Ecuador, Peru, Serbia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Serbia, Kosovo.

Source: Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.

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