Scotland and the Ban Treaty – Visit of ICAN Director

Beatrice Fihn, the director of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) spent Wednesday 14th March in Scotland.

She started the day with leading Scottish feminist academic historian Lesley Orr, and then visited the Scottish Parliament where a large and representative of MSPs of all political persuasions took time to pay their respects, even forming a queue to have a few minutes conversation and express their appreciation for ICAN’s contribution to the UN Treaty adopted last year to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Greens, Willie Rennie of the Lib Dems and Richard Leonard the Scottish Labour leader all took time to offer their congratulations, along with many SNP MSPs. Despite the First Minister’s absence from Holyrood on Brexit business, Cabinet Ministers Fiona Hyslop (External Affairs), Paul Wheelhouse, Keith Brown, and Joe Fitzpatrick formally welcomed Beatrice to a private meeting on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The overwhelming support for the Treaty in Scotland, and the international support for this position from states across the world was an important feature of the talks, along with the ever present danger of accident as long as the weapons continued to exist.

After the parliamentary visit, Beatrice joined a vigil at Faslane attended by campaigners from across Scotland, including fourteen year old piper Emma Montgomery, the fourth generation of women in her family who have campaigned for an end of nuclear weapons in Scotland and the world.

She also visited the Peace Camp opposite the base, which is the UK’s oldest continuously occupied nuclear protest camp, and talked with residents about their part with the world’s ICAN campaigners in achieving the Nobel Award.

From the Haul Road above the base, she was able to observe the layout of the base, the razor wire surrounding it and the facilities constructed against the backdrop of mountains and the Gare Loch and contemplate what the Treaty could mean for us in Scotland. Then it was off to Glasgow to meet NGO representatives who are part of the ICAN network for a strategising dinner.

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