Film star Michael Douglas honours UN's Annan for efforts to eliminate landmines

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Actor Michael Douglas presented UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with an award for his dedication to ridding the world of landmines, marking the first international day to honour the cause.


Annan said in his acceptance speech Tuesday that "the goal of a world without landmines appears achievable in years - not decades as we used to think."

"Having been so effective in laying mines, we must now become even better at clearing them," he said, accepting the award from Adopt-A-Minefield, the world's largest non-governmental donor to programs to eliminate landmines.

The UN General Assembly established the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to focus attention on efforts to eliminate millions of mines in 82 countries. Mines kill or maim between 15,000 and 20,000 people annually, according to UN figures.

Douglas and Annan joined Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and singer-songwriter Moby in a fundraising dinner that raised thousands of dollars for Adopt-A-Minefield.

"The United Nations is the leading international body working to make the problem of landmines a history lesson for our children," said the Oscar-winning actor, who campaigns for disarmament as a UN messenger for peace.

"Tens of thousands of lives have been saved and millions more improved as a result of the decision and commitment of this man and the inspiration that he leads," Douglas said of Annan.

Douglas said Adopt-A-Minefield was clearing minefields and helping survivors in 11 countries, and had raised over $17 million in the last six years.

Von: 06.04.06, by Edith M. Lederer

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