CAPTION: Princess Astrid of Belgium visits Fundación REI in Colombia during the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World.
Geneva, Brussels 20 June 2013 – Princess Astrid of Belgium, a longtime advocate of landmine survivors’ rights is now a Special Envoy representing the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or Ottawa Convention.
Princess Astrid who has been part of the landmine movement for more than a decade will promote the Convention at a diplomatic level in states that have not yet joined the treaty. “I feel honored in having been called to promote the need for universal adoption of the Convention,” said Princess Astrid.
“While landmine casualties have decreased in no small part thanks to the Convention, anti-personnel mines are still the source of dreadful damage and suffering upon individuals. In 2011 alone, 4,286 new victims – or 12 victims everyday – were recorded, most of them civilians. It is clear that efforts need to continue to end the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.”
Since 2000, Princess Astrid has represented Belgium in several of the Convention’s Meetings of the States Parties including in Geneva, Thailand, Jordan and most recently, in the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World.
It was at the Cartagena Summit where states and international and non-governmental organizations noted the “dire need” to engage states not party to the Convention to ensure the universal acceptance of the treaty. Since then, the European Union has heeded to the call providing funds to assist in the advocacy efforts.
In addition to Princess Astrid of Belgium, His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Al Hussein of Jordan and landmine advocate and Grammy-award winner Juanes, are joining in worldwide efforts to promote the treaty that bans the use, stockpile, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
Since the Convention entered into force in 1999, 25 of 59 States Parties that have reported mined areas have declared completion of their mine clearance obligation; demining has resulted in millions of square meters of once-dangerous land being released for normal human activity.
Belgium lead the efforts to pass the treaty and has been at the forefront of its implementation.