LOS ANGELES — International relief and development agency Oxfam congratulates one of its most steadfast supporters, Helen Mirren, on her Oscar victory for her portrayal as Queen Elizabeth in "The Queen." Helen Mirren has been an avid supporter of Oxfam for many years. In 1998 in she traveled to South Africa to highlight the devastating effects weapons are having in poor countries around the world, as part of Oxfam's Control Arms Campaign. Following her visit to South Africa, Helen traveled to New York the following year to address the UN Security Council on the spiraling arms trade and called for an international arms trade treaty to be established.
At the end of 2004, Helen traveled again with Oxfam, this time to Northern Uganda. Here she was confronted by what the UN Security Council called the world's worst forgotten crisis in which half a million people have been killed and two million people displaced. She met children who had been kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army and forced to join thousands of others as child soldiers.
"I want to shine a search light on a part of the world people have ignored for too long" she said. "What I've seen here is the worst horror story you can imagine—a war that specifically targets children," said Mirren.
Helen continued to lobby hard on behalf of the Control Arms campaign and to highlight the situation in Northern Uganda. In 2006 the campaign won a huge victory with 153 countries backing the need for an international arms trade treaty. Helen was delighted with the success. The backing of so many countries around the world is a real step towards establishing an international arms trade treaty. Many people have worked tirelessly through Oxfam and the Control Arms campaign to make this happen and Helen Mirren's contribution cannot be underestimated.
Further information on Helen Mirren's work with Oxfam can be found online at www.oxfam.org.uk.