Today 60 million people are still forced to live with the threat of landmines and unexploded bombs. Every day 20 people are killed or injured by these indiscriminate weapons. Almost half of civilian casualties are children. When conflict ends, the legacy of war lives on in communities. Land is left unused, children are in danger on their way to school, and people’s lives are further blighted. And yet this terrifying problem can be solved.
Thirty years ago, ex-British Army engineer, Rae McGrath, set up MAG when he realized how these weapons hindered reconstruction and recovery. MAG has been on the frontlines ever since, helping communities become stronger after conflict.
MAG started by conducting impact surveys in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, with others, we launched an international campaign to ban landmines. Diana, Princess of Wales, spoke out against their use and famously visited Angolan minefields. The campaign culminated in 1997 when the Ottawa Treaty was agreed, banning landmines. The campaign partners, including MAG, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
But the work to clear landmines must continue until it is done. Drawing inspiration from that enormous success, two decades later, Prince Harry launched our sector’s enormously important Landmine Free 2025 campaign. There are six more years to achieve that ambition. xxx countries are now free of landmines. With our partners, we are determined to rid the world of these indiscriminate killers.
Much has been achieved since 1989. We’ve worked in 68 countries. Today MAG employs around 5,000 men and women, many of them drawn from the communities where clearance work takes place. Thanks to their bravery, technical skill and innovation – and with the support of governments and other supporters – MAG has released 5,853km2 of land back to communities. To date, MAG has destroyed over 353,000 mines, almost 5,000,000 unexploded bombs and over 293,000 weapons. This work has directly benefitted more than 18 million women, men, girls, and boys and it will also benefit the generations that follow them.
We are committed to a world that provides a safe future for those affected by violence, conflict and insecurity. Everyone has a right to work, learn and play safely.