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Rendez-Vous Ottawa: Building Solidarity to Ban Nuclear Weapons

Posted by Martin Fleck on October 28, 2014

At Rendez-Vous Ottawa 2014, a cross-Atlantic mix of campaigners from many different organizations trained each other in advocacy techniques, strengthened alliances, and developed North American strategies. Douglas Roche, former chair of the UN Disarmament Committee, eloquently spoke on the urgent need to ban nuclear weapons. Jenny Huang of McGill University delivered a presentation of her research study on the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapon strike on the city of Montreal. 

"This weekend has been very energizing because we've brought together people who have decades of experience with people who bring lessons from other ban campaigns, and with the next generation of campaigners," said event organizer Erin Hunt of Mines Action Canada. "It's evident the nuclear weapons ban is coming. And it's very inspiring to meet the people who are going to make it happen."

Why Ottawa? Ottawa and Canada have played a historic role in past humanitarian campaigns, including the groundbreaking Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, commonly known as the "Ottawa Treaty." Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work toward the Ottawa Treaty, has said: "Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don't believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty."

Next up on the agenda: the ICAN Civil Society Forum December 6 and 7 in Vienna, on the eve of the Third Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons Conference, December 8 and 9. PSR is asking the United States to send an official delegation to constructively participate in the Vienna conference; you can help by signing PSR's MoveOn petition to President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Under Secretary Gottemoeller. 

Interested in attending the Vienna forum? More information and registration is here. Rendez-Vous Ottawa's twitter feed is #RVOttawa.

Here are the organizations that were represented at Rendez-Vous Ottawa 2014: Canadian Red Cross, Human Rights Research and Education Center (HRREC at the U. of Ottawa), International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Mines Action Canada, New Agenda Coalition, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), Physicians for Global Survival (PGS, the Canada IPPNW affiliate), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Project Ploughshares (based in Waterloo, Canada), Reaching Critical Will, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Andy Kanter, MD with co-panelists Mia Gandenberger of Reaching Critical Will (Geneva), Juan Carlos Chirgwin of Physicians for Global Survival (Canada) and Paul Hannon of Mines Action Canada


Ambassador Douglas Roche and Andy Kanter, MD


Martin Fleck, Barbara Birkett, MD of PGS, Erin Hunt of Mines Action Canada, Nancy Covington, MD of PGS, and Juan Carlos Chirgwin, President of PGS

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