The history of Princess Diana’s landmine walk
Princess Diana has been admired for her charming personality and charitable endeavors. She had already played a role in establishing the UK’s first HIV/AIDS unit in London. She had worked with the British Red Cross for several years. Months before her death in January 1997 she had been on her Africa tour when she came across the work of the HALO Trust, which had been working to clear landmines from Angola which had been heavily affected by the landmines due to continuous civil war.
Here she met the landmine victims and saw their miserable conditions. The poor people had lost many lives and those survived had been amputated, crippled and disabled for life. She also met with the HALO Trust students and land mines clearing experts. She wore a protective armor and headgear and walked the cleared landmine lane before the cameras to raise the voice of the landmine survivors. This immediately sought the attention of the international media and started circulating the world. This portrayed her striking personality in the context of philanthropy.
Her visit to the survivors of landmines is still something to be talked about because she had been visiting the people still living under conditions of conflict and civil war still had been going on. Even the people she met and interviewed had admired her civilized, courteous and act of kindness.
After her visit to Angola, she wrote a letter to the British Red Cross stressing if her visit had contributed something to highlight the terrible issue then her deepest wish had been fulfilled. Months later she also visited another country, Bosnia and met the land mine victims and again brought the world’s attention to the terrible issue. She used her popularity to help the land mine survivors and to address the issue on the international level.
Diana’s Angola visit had been reported on international media and became an instant hit all over the world. At the time, she had been the most influential advocate of the terrible issue of land mines and their devastating effects. Her legacy continued in a way that the Canadian member of the International Campaign to Ban the Landmines had been awarded the International Nobel Peace Prize, 1997.
At the time of her visit to the children of land mine survivals in Angola, the negotiations to ban the land mines had been going on. She had vocally appealed to ban the land mines worldwide which sought immediate international attention. Despite the criticism and controversy, sparked by her advocacy, she had a significant impact on the process of banning landmines internationally. She gave momentum to the process of the landmines ban treaty.
After her tragic death in August 1997, the land mines ban treaty being written in Oslo, was soon planned to be signed in Ottawa, the following month and currently known as ‘Ottawa Treaty’, which significantly prohibits the use, stocking, producing and transferring the land mines against persons around the world. Even after her tragic death, her legacy continues to the present day. Diana’s son, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex has visited the HALO Trust projects of clearing land mines. Prince Harry, on his Royal visit to Africa with his wife and son in 2019, also walked the landmine lane wearing protective armor and headgear, to pay the tribute to the legacy of her beloved mother who had walked lane in 1997 in a similar fashion.