Landmines are among the most insidious and cruel weapons of all, because they do not distinguish between armed soldiers, civilians or even children. According to the Landmine Monitor 2020, explosive devices hidden in the ground killed or injured at least 5,554 people worldwide last year alone – that’s an average of 15 deaths and serious injuries per day. With her International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Professor Jody Williams (70) has been advocating a ban on landmines for almost 30 years. Together with her campaign for the banning of landmines she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her commitment.
Professor Williams, thank you for taking the time for this interview with the Faces of Peace initiative. To begin, we would first of all like to ask you: What does “peace” mean for you personally?
Peace is not simply the absence of armed conflict. That is the baseline on which sustainable peace can be built. For me, sustainable peace is peace built on human security, not national security. We do not need more, “modernized” nuclear weapons. We do not need fully autonomous weapons that on their own can target and kill human beings. We need to use our resources so that the needs of people are met, not the needs of arms producers. People should be able to live dignified lives, with equal access to education, health care, housing, etc. We need to focus on human security for sustainable peace, not national security to protect the infrastructure of the state. Peace and security should be people centered!