On August 31st it will be 20 years since the death of Lady Diana Spencer (Princess of Wales). I loved her social conscience and courage in standing up for the challenges of poverty. One of the issues she highlighted before her death was the issue of landmines when she courageously walked through a minefield to bring the worlds attention to the legacy of unexploded bombs and mines in conflict and post-conflict zones. She was indeed a brave and wonderful woman.
Landmines still remains a daily fact of life for millions of people today.
From 1964 to 1973 the US dropped over two million tons of ordnance during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years on the small impoverished nation of Laos in the so-called Secret War. To date, Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. It is estimated that the US spent 13.3 million dollars every day for nine years in the bombing of Laos. As much as 30% of these munitions failed to explode on landing and remain hidden and deadly to this day. In Laos, over 20,000 people have been killed by Landmines in Laos since the cessation of the conflict.
These bombs came in a variety of nasty packages. From the one-ton Behemoth bombs and incendiary devices full of white phosphorus to cluster bombs which are large casings that scatter small "bomblets" to an area the size of a football field. These bomblets are the size of an orange and are capable of remaining live in the soil for decades.
The removal of these landmines is slow and painstaking work undertaken by a nation unable to afford appropriate safety equipment for this work. At the current rate of land clearance, it is estimated that it will take over 1000 years to clear Laos of unexploded ordinance hiding in its farmland and villages and jungles. However, the impact of the remaining unexploded bombs in slowing the economic development of Laos is clearly visible. Farmers live in poverty but cannot farm their land because of the live armaments that remain in their soil. The nation's food security is impacted and the threat of death and injury is real. Laos has engaged in education in how to notify authorities when a live armament is suspected and in doing so they have been able to reduce injury and death due to these devices to less than 50 people per year but 60% of these incidents result in death and 40% of these incidents involve children.
Article 22 is a company dedicated to buying back the bombs.
Article 22 jewellery has been working with the Mines Advisory Group and the Halo Group since 2010 and has donated funding to clear over 150,000 square meters of bomb littered land in Laos. This includes the removal of 400 unexploded bombs from the land of one family in Naphia Village where the jewellery is produced.
EVERY PIECE of Peace bomb jewellery is made from a bomb remanent and helps fund the ongoing work of armament removal from Laos farmland. Additional donations are given to a Central Development fund managed by the community fund for use in development work amongst the villages.
Each piece of Article 22 jewellery is stunning and beautiful. How beautiful to help a farmer in rural Laos by wearing stunning jewellery in Melbourne.