McCartney launches landmine campaign
LONDON, England -- Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and his girlfriend Heather Mills have launched a new campaign to rid the world of landmines.
The pair are following in the footsteps of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and French footballer David Ginola.
"Landmines take or wreck three lives an hour, every hour, every day of every year. We have to come together now to try to stop that," McCartney said.
He was speaking on Monday at the launch of Adopt-A-Minefield UK, a new charity set up to raise funds for mine clearance and landmine survivors.
An estimated 60 million landmines may still be hidden in the ground in 70 countries.
Each year an estimated 26,000 people are killed or injured by landmines. As many as a third of the victims are children.
Princess Diana made the abolition of landmines one of the causes she backed before being killed in a Paris car crash in 1997.
Mills, who lost part of a leg in a road accident, said more work must still be done.
During the launch, in London, a 25-minute documentary film made by Mills in April, when she travelled to Croatia to hear harrowing stories of living in a land where more than one million mines are buried, was screened for the first time.
She said: "Every 20 minutes, somewhere in the world, a landmine claims another victim.
"There have been many excellent and high-profile campaigns against this hidden killer, but the need for a continued, concerted drive to rid the world of landmines is as great now as it ever was."
McCartney, who narrated the documentary, said: "Imagine living in a country during a terrible war and then peace is declared.
"You think the killing is over, but when you take your kids to the beach you can't walk on it because the beach blows up if you do. This is the legacy of the landmine.
"Landmines take or wreck three lives an hour, every hour of every day of every year. We have to come together now to try to stop that."
In April, Mills and McCartney took their campaign to Washington where they met Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The U.S. has reservations about a worldwide ban, but Powell said there were a number of areas where the U.S. government could co-operate with the campaign.
The Adopt-A-Minefield programme is sponsored by the U.N. Association of the U.S.A. and the Better World Fund.
The former Beatle became interested in the landmine issue after becoming acquainted with Mills, who has aided efforts to provide artificial limbs to landmine victims.
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