The legacy of conflict ranges from mistrust to fear to abridged economic opportunity, but perhaps the cruelest may be landmines that continue to maim and kill years and decades after the fighting ends. Worse, children perhaps born well after the battles have ended are disproportionately affected, some with years of wounds and disabilities to overcome for the remainder of their lives. Most UN member states as well global citizen civic organizations have universally sought to outlaw production as well as deployment of landmines. Landmines need to be stopped before planted into the ground and the seeds of tragedy can bear the undeniably sad fruits for generations to come.
Actor Daniel Craig, most recognized for his recent roles as “James Bond,” has been appointed as the United Nations Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards. As the Diplomat-Artist who joins the list of most prominent UN Goodwill Ambassadors, Mr. Craig will draw the focus of a global audience to a menace with a global footprint, from Middle East and African battlefields to Cambodia to Ukraine. As Bosnia & Herzegovina’s (BiH) UN Permanent Representative in 1997, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey highlighted the plague that persisted after the fighting ended – 3 million landmines or over 150 per each square mile and making BiH then “the most infested country in the world.” (See UN – “Bosnia & Herzegovina Press Conference on Landmines.”)
Fortunately the de-mining process in BiH has delivered tangible relief over the last two decades. BiH’s unified army and its own expert teams of de-miners are now assisting in providing relief to other former and even current battlegrounds such as Afghanistan. However, the most effective relief is never to plant a landmine, improvised explosive device, (IED) or other anti-personnel booby-traps. That is where Diplomat-Artist Daniel Craig may face the greatest challenge. (See: “UN Chief Appoints Actor Daniel Craig as Global Mine Action Advocate.”)