Prince Harry delivered a stirring speech on Monday arguing for the continuation of the removal of land mines in Angola — a mission his mother, Princess Diana, began over 20 years ago.
Speaking to an audience at The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, the Duke of Sussex made his case by pointing out that the effort to remove land mines needs to be continued to ensure the safety of citizens, increase tourism, and help preserve wildlife in the Okavango Delta.
“My hope is that through this collaboration, minefields can be cleared, land can be protected, wildlife can be free to return to where they once roamed, and Angolans can reap the rewards by coexisting with the one constant that will draw people in from all over the world – the extraordinary setting that they call home,” Harry said, according to The Telegraph.
Harry, 34, went on to say that in June 2017, he took part in a scenario planning exercise on land mine clearance, which helped him realize that land mines were a “humanitarian emergency” because they are a “humanitarian issue NOT a political one.”
The duke said the job cannot be left “half done,” adding that he was recently told about the “positive transformation in Huambo since my mother walked that minefield all those years ago.”
Harry praised the Angolan government for the advancements they have made in clearing away the “remnants of war,” adding that it had been a long, frustrating journey. He also said that while much work has been done, there is still more work to do.
“I truly believe that Angola will become a shining example to the rest of the continent.”
The Telegraph reported that organizers of the event announced a new initiative between The Hazardous Area Life-support Organization Trust and the government of Angola, which is investing $60 million to clear land mines surrounding the Angolan Okavango delta.
Princess Diana died before landmines were outlawed. https://t.co/TFDoFeb9Ab— Metro (@MetroUK) June 17, 2019
More than 1 million land mines were buried throughout Angola during the civil war, which ended in 2002. Large portions of the country were rendered unsafe for both citizens and animals such as elephants, lions, and cheetahs, per The Telegraph.
In 1997, Diana raised awareness about land mines in the area when she walked through a live minefield and later posed with a 13-year-old girl who lost her legs after stepping on a land mine.
In 2013, Harry visited Angola to support the country’s effort to remove land mines.
Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are expected to take a royal tour of Africa later this year.