LOS ANGELES—The HALO Trust, together with Mines and Advisory Group (MAG) and with the support of His Royal Highness Prince Harry, launched the Landmine Free 2025 campaign on April 4, International Mine Awareness Day.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s walk in the minefields of Angola, which brought worldwide attention to the issue, and the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty. Since then, 162 nations have signed that treaty.
The mission of the 2025 campaign is to clear the world of landmines by 2025. In Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), HALO Trust’s goal is to clear Artsakh of landmines by 2020. The HALO Trust has been working to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in Artsakh since 2000. With a $4 million anonymous donation in matching funds, this goal is within reach. This donation will provide half of the $8 million required to clear the remaining minefields outside of the traditional Soviet-era boundary by 2020.
Since 2012, Landmine Free Artsakh (LFA), a group of concerned Armenians, has made it its mission to raise awareness and funds to help the HALO Trust. The LFA has organized presentations in various cities in the United States and Canada, and has raised $80,000, benefiting three villages and 3,500 villagers. For the last two years, to help the villagers whose lives have been affected by landmines, the LFA Committee, has been organizing clothing drives.
In September, five members of LFA visited the HALO Nagorno-Karabagh compound in Stepanakert. They met the local HALO employees and watched demonstrations showing how they find and clear the landmines with painstaking dedication.
With the help of HALO Trust, members of LFA distributed clothing, shoes, toys and school supplies to landmine affected villages. In the Kashatagh (Lachin corridor), they visited three villages, Aghavnatun, Harar, and Khachgetik. In Martuni, they visited Vazgenashen and Myurishen. The distribution affected 130 families who live in and around these villages.
The HALO Trust has cleared or is in the process of clearing the areas where these villagers live, work, and go to school. It also provides much-needed mine education in schools.
LFA has facilitated the cooperation of other organizations from Southern California. In September, at the request of LFA, the Armenia School Foundation USA donated school desks and other furniture to the Myurishen school. AYSO Region 88 contributed athletic uniforms, which were distributed to the schools as part of the LFA distribution.
For more information and to donate, please visit www.halotrust.org/MineFreeNK.