Colombian rock star Juanes became the first musician to perform in the debating chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels when he staged a concert Wednesday (April 19) as part of his campaign against land mines.
The performance was aimed at offering support for the European Union’s campaign to ban anti-personnel mines, that claim 20,000 victims annually, most of them civilians. “We need the support of the international community to help the victims and to prevent more deaths and mutilations,” Juanes said.
He said there was little real understanding about the actual situation, and he hoped the five-song acoustic concert would “raise public awareness and persuade the guilty to stop using these weapons that are banned internationally”.
Influential countries like the United States, Russia, China and India have still to sign the Ottawa Convention banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of landmines.
The EU is one of the most important donors in the fight against landmines, last month announcing a €17.5 million ($21 million) program aimed at helping victims.
“This event is a homage to the people who are suffering and, at the same time, a strong commitment to make landmines history and, step by step, to launch a process of disarmament,” said Italian member of European parliament Luisa Morgantini, chair of the Parliament’s Development Committee.
Juanes, who has won 12 Latin Grammys, was named by Time Magazine in 2005 as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
He is due to host a benefit concert to raise money for children who have been victims of land mines in Colombia. The Colombia Sin Minas (Colombia Without Mines) concert is set for May 24 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and will feature Juanes along with Alejandro Sanz, Ana Gabriel, Carlos Vives, Juan Luis Guerra, Laura Pausini, Luis Fonsi and Ricardo Montaner.