Queen Noor of Jordan meets Colombian children maimed by mines
"I am committed [to banning landmines] because of the injustice I see, because of the obstacles to peace and human development," says Queen Noor.
The south-west Colombian department of Cauca, one of the stops on the Queen's trip, is one of the areas worst affected by landmines. Children account for half of the 126 deaths recorded there since 1992.
One 13-year-old boy told the Queen how he lost part of his foot when he started playing with an unexploded mine on his way home from school. His eight-year-old brother was killed and two other children also lost their legs in this horrific incident. Another nine-year-old described how he lost his hand when he picked up a grenade he found in his school yard. Children are often attracted by the intriguing and colourful appearance of ordnance and cannot read signs telling them to stay away.
Speaking about the upcoming landmine summit meeting, the Queen said: "I will try to convey a message to the summit in Nairobi that will perhaps, in some measure, focus on what I have seen in Colombia and the special challenges that are faced here and that are in many ways universal for all mine-affected countries."
In many countries, children account for one in five landmine victims.
"No one child should be the casualty of landmines," says Queen Noor. "They are the most innocent of victims. They are the ones who, when injured, require more expensive medical care and rehabilitation over a longer period of time."
In spite of the Colombian government's commitment to disposing of landmines, the problem continues because of the on-going conflict in parts of the country.
About the Nairobi Summit
The Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World - or first Review Conference of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty - takes place from 29 November to 3 December 2004 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Hundreds of delegates will take part in the formal proceedings and numerous side events. Participants will include world leaders, NGOs, international organizations, landmine survivors, youth and UN agencies.