26 May 2020

Harry praises work of landmine clearance charity supported by Diana

26 May 2020

The Duke of Sussex has praised a landmine clearance charity supported by Diana, Princess of Wales for keeping the “light of our common humanity” burning brightly.

Harry has written a letter to staff working for the Halo Trust praising them for continuing to remove landmines despite the coronavirus outbreak and providing Covid-19 support to locals.

The duke made an emotional pilgrimage to Africa last year to retrace the steps of his mother Diana, who famously walked through a partially cleared Angolan minefield in 1997 to highlight the trust’s efforts and the threat of the military munitions.

During his trip to Dirico, in southern Angola, Harry also saw first-hand the work of Halo and donned body armour and a face mask to inspect an area of bush being cleared of ordnance by the charity.

In 1997 Diana toured a minefield in Angola in body armour to learn about the carnage military munitions can cause. John Stillwell/PA Wire (PA Archive)

The duke also visited the minefield his mother toured in the city of Huambo now transformed into a wide residential road, complete with a school.

Harry wrote in his letter: “In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity. Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at the Halo Trust.

“As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations. Instead, Halo kept open a presence in all 25 of its country operations.”

The duke also praised Halo’s ability to provide a response to the pandemic, saying: “Halo might just have stuck to its core role, but I would also like to salute you for pivoting so quickly to meet the challenges unexpectedly presented by the pandemic.”

Halo has 8,500 staff in 25 countries and territories and has been providing ambulances and logistics to medical authorities in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau.

Harry saw the work of the Halo Trust for himself when last year he met staff clearing a minefield in Dirico, Angola. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire (PA Archive)

In Syria and Burma, the charity has been providing hygiene kits, personal protection equipment and health education to camps for families displaced by conflict.

Harry added: “The fact that you can operate across conflict affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognises no frontlines.

“It is at times like this that the work and efforts of people like you – prepared to do whatever it takes to help, serve and protect others – shines through. In sometimes hazardous and dangerous situations, your commitment to your communities and people who need your help is remarkable.

“I am hugely proud to be able to support such an extraordinary organisation.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox