Press release

UK triples support for action against landmines on 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s iconic Angola visit

The UK will dramatically increase its support for demining, tripling the amount of UK aid supporting action against landmines.

Diana, Princess of Wales, walks in one of the safety corridors of the landmine fields of Huambo, Angola, during a visit to the country in 1997.
Diana, Princess of Wales, walks in one of the safety corridors of the landmine fields of Huambo, Angola, during a visit to the country in 1997. Picture: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking at a Kensington Palace event hosted by Prince Harry to mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s iconic visit to the minefields of Angola, International Development Secretary Priti Patel today announced a package of support to make safe the equivalent of over 20,000 football pitches and help 800,000 people live their lives free from the threat of mines.

Speaking at the event, Ms Patel highlighted the “global scourge of landmines” that led to a “destruction of opportunity and hope”.

She spoke of Global Britain’s “historic role in tackling the indiscriminate and lethal legacy of landmines” and highlighted how the efforts of her Royal Highness, Diana, Princess of Wales brought landmines to the world’s attention 20 years ago and led to international action.

The Department for International Development will support global efforts to tackle landmines through a £100 million UK aid package over the next 3 years.

UK aid triples support for action against landmines

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

Landmines are a global scourge that destroy opportunity and hope. We do not have to accept this.

Global Britain has had a historic role in tackling the indiscriminate and lethal legacy of landmines, but there is still more to do. Our new support will make safe the equivalent of over 20,000 football pitches and help 800,000 people live their lives free from the threat of mines.

It is for causes like this that we have made our commitment to the overseas aid budget. This is just one of the many ways that UK aid is making the world safer, healthier and more prosperous for us all.

UK action on mines:

  • The UK’s work removes and destroys landmines, but also focuses on education to ensure the local community is aware of the risk.
  • The UK was a founding signatory of the Mine Ban Treaty and a number of UK organisations such as Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Halo Trust are at the forefront of global efforts to make the world mine-free.
  • With concerted effort we can make a real difference. Through the support of UK aid, Mozambique was declared mine-free in 2015, joining 26 countries that have completed mine clearance in the past 20 years.
  • More than 60 million people still live with the daily threat of injury or death and the basic rights of safe access to health services, education, agricultural land and infrastructure continue to be denied to communities around the world.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Mine Ban Treaty, signed in 1997, is one of the world’s most widely accepted treaties: over 80% of the world’s countries are parties to it.

  2. Collectively, states party to the treaty have destroyed more than 51 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines and cleared nearly a thousand square kilometres of mined areas. In 2015 the only states to lay landmines were Syria, North Korea and Burma.

  3. Yet more remains to be done. More than 60 million people still live with the daily threat of injury or death. In 2015 alone almost 5,000 people were injured and over 1,600 killed by landmines or other explosive devices left behind by conflict. Three quarters of those were civilians; more than a third were children.

  4. The basic rights of safe access to health services, education, agricultural land and infrastructure continue to be denied to communities around the world.

  5. The £100 million includes committed programmes in Afghanistan and DFID’s Global Mine Action programme totalling £6.25 million in 17/18. New funding includes an extension of the Global Mine Action programme for £8.1 million in 17/18, plus a new programme of at least £85 million which will be allocated later this year to take funding up to 2020.

  6. Read Priti Patel’s full speech from tonight’s event.

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Published 4 April 2017