UK announces more aid to clear landmines

The late Diana, Princess of Wales’s campaign to clear landmines received a boost as the International Development Secretary announced extra British aid to tackle the “hidden, indiscriminate killer”.

Penny Mordaunt pledged to match money the British public have donated to the Mine Advisory Group’s (MAG) Christmas appeal, in addition to £100 million already announced at an event with Diana’s son Prince Harry earlier this year.

The UK will extend its demining work to save lives in war-ravaged areas in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Diana famously walked through a minefield wearing body armour in 1997 to highlight the problem

It will also work in Angola, where Diana famously walked through a minefield wearing body armour in 1997, to highlight the problem caused by military munitions.

Ms Mordaunt said: “Landmines have left a shameful legacy of suffering across the world, and the British public can be proud of their contribution to eradicating this hidden, indiscriminate killer.

“These barbaric weapons of war kill innocent people years after a conflict has ended, and have left so many devastated families mourning the loss of loved ones. The thousands that do survive have been left maimed and seriously disabled forever, unable to work, unable to feed their families and suffering from a lifetime of debilitating pain.

“Twenty years after Princess Diana’s call for action resonated in every corner of the world, Britain is at the forefront in saving thousands of lives and ensuring that future generations will now have the chance to live without fear of being killed by a weapon from the past.”

Diana never saw her work to help outlaw landmines come to fruition as she died in a Paris car crash in August 1997 before the international treaty to ban the military weapons was signed at the end of that year.

Nearly 30 countries have been declared mine-free in the past 20 years but more than 60 million people are estimated to still live with the daily fear of unexploded munitions.

In 2014 the Ottawa treaty signatories agreed to complete clearance of all anti-personnel landmines by 2025.

MAG’s Walk Without Fear appeal on BBC Radio 4 was the station’s most successful ever drive for donations.

It raised more than £200,000 from the British public, which will be doubled by UK aid to more than £400,000.

This will clear 120,000 square metres of land from landmines and adds to the £100 million commitment over three years made by the Department for International Development in April, which will clear 15 million square metres.

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