[Landmine Aboliltion] Quaker Participation in the Campaign [Peaceweb Home Page]

Quaker Participation in the Campaign

by Peter Harkness

Peter Harkness, a member of the Ottawa Quaker Meeting, has been the representative at Mines Action Canada for the Canadian Friends Service Committee since April, 1995.

Quakers are opposed to the production and use of all weapons of war; so the campaign to ban landmines was a natural one for us to be involved in, and we were there.

The Canadian Friends Service Committee has been represented at Mines Action Canada(MAC) meetings for much of MAC's existence - first by Carol Dixon to April 1995, then by Peter Harkness to the present, and recently by Colin Stuart as well, all 3 being members of the Ottawa Quaker Meeting.

The Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, in close consultation with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, organized a pivotal meeting of government and NGO representatives held on their premises in Geneva on April 22, 1996. An important topic of discussion at that meeting was a Canadian Government proposal to hold another meeting in Ottawa in the Fall of 1996 to which all governments in favour of a ban along with some NGOs would be invited. The meeting in Ottawa was held in October, 1996 and it was at the very end of that gathering that Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy thrilled many with his unexpected, courageous and key invitation to the nations of the world to gather in Ottawa in December, 1997 to sign a treaty.

Also at the October, 1996 meeting in Ottawa one discussion group of about 55 NGO representatives from around the world contained 5 Quakers. A thrill went through me as I realized how many of us were there and compared to our numbers in the world this was a very high representation. Our response to the Spirit in us is alive and well, it seemed to me.

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Revised November 23, 1997, by C.S.