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News release

Toronto Proclaims May 10 "Will to Intervene" Day

Concordia-based human rights initiative gains momentum

Montreal, May 10, 2012 - Toronto takes up the challenge of Concordia University’s Will to Intervene Project (W2I) as Mayor Rob Ford proclaims today “Will to Intervene” Day in the city.

Toronto is in good company. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, recently outlined his intent to better prevent and respond to mass atrocity crimes and make “never again” a reality. The U.S. government has already introduced policy changes based on recommendations formulated by the W2I Project.

As Canada’s largest and most multicultural city, Toronto has been affected by social unrest prompted by violations of human rights abroad. This happened most strikingly in March 2009, when more than 120,000 members of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora paralyzed downtown Toronto and shut down the Gardiner Expressway in protest against ongoing violence in their native country.

Today’s proclamation reinforces Toronto’s commitment to preventing mass atrocity crimes. “In order to avoid repeating dark and challenging times in history, it is our duty to continue to educate each other about the lessons of the past and work together with communities worldwide to ensure that we eliminate all forms of discrimination and uphold humanity's belief and commitment to a future free from conflict,” says Mayor Ford.

As the Will to Intervene Project’s co-founder, Lieutenant-General (retired) and Senator Roméo Dallaire, explains, “having Canada’s largest city spread the message that ‘never again’ is a civic duty is truly a breakthrough for human rights”.

The Will to Intervene Project is a crucial Canadian initiative conceived and developed at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University. Proclamations in support of the W2I Project have been passed in Vancouver and Calgary, and now Canada’s largest city lends its voice to the movement.

Mayor Ford made the proclamation at 2 p.m. today at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College Quad. This event was co-organized by the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P), a student-based research organization at the Munk School of the University of Toronto which aims to promote scholarly engagement and political implementation of the R2P principle.

For media interviews, please contact Kyle Matthews (MIGS) at 514-975-8160, or Tina Park (CCR2P) at 647-228-5705,

Media contact:

Kyle Matthews,
Senior Deputy Director, MIGS
Concordia University
kylematt@alcor.concordia.caMobile: 514-975-8160

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