3 December 2003 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed gratitude to two women whose advocacy of landmine clearing operations has helped reduce accidental post-war killings and restored mined land to productive use, in a speech to be delivered today in Los Angeles.
In an address given in the new Walt Disney Hall, Mr. Annan said: “Today I am especially grateful to one member of Walt Disney’s family, his daughter and our gracious co-host Diane Disney Miller, who is so generously and consistently committed to supporting de-mining efforts in Afghanistan.
“I am equally thankful to Heidi Kuhn, who founded the Roots of Peace in 1997.”
He said Ms. Kuhn’s astonishing energy and enthusiasm and the success of her California-based organization in helping to eliminate landmines and to create lands of peace and prosperity – usually vineyards and grain fields – provided inspiration to all.
Other landmine-related activities today included the sixth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, known as the Ottawa Convention, Mr. Annan said. It was also the International Day of Disabled Persons, many of whom had been disabled by mines, he said.
On this day, the United Nations was also launching its “Portfolio of Mine Action Projects for 2004” – a catalogue of projects for de-mining, awareness-raising and mine survivors’ physical and economic rehabilitation in 36 countries, he said.
“A world without mines is still far away, but it is not an impossible dream,” Mr. Annan said. “More and more Governments agree that mines have no place in the civilized kind of society in which Walt Disney spoke of raising his family.”