As we approach the end of 2016, we're looking back on what WRI has been up to this year - we thought we would share some of the highlights,as we look towards a 2017 of radical action against war and it's causes!
Bram, Luis and Javier, outside courtEarly in the year, we were excited to hear the news that several members of WRI affiliates in Europe were found "not guilty!" in a trial that exposed the criminality of the DSEi arms fair. Javier, Bram and Luis travelled from Belgium to London in September 2015 to help blockade the entrances of the huge weapons fair alongside activists from the UK. At the end of the year, we were also relieved to hear that members of Spanish group AA-MOC had their charges dropped, following an action to disrupt a NATO training event in 2015.
In April, members of the WRI network travelled to Turkey to take part in a delegation, visiting Diyarbakir and towns effected by the curfews and armed conflict that has gripped the region. The delegation inspired a petition to the EU, and a speakers tour of European cities.
The WRI network has shown active solidarity for a number of conscientious objectors this year. Coinciding with the regular annual Prisoners for Peace day on 1st December, we organised a day of action against companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine, and calling for solidarity with imprisoned conscientious objectors who refuse to occupy - actions took place at arms factories supplying Israel around the world. In November, WRI staff member Hannah Brock and WRI members from South Korea travelled to Thailand, to spend time with Netiwit. Netiwit is one of the first people to declare their conscientious objection to military service in Thailand.From L to R: Yongsuk, Hannah, Sulak Sivaraksa (a scholar of nonviolence), Netiwit, Jungmin
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In July, WRI's Nonviolence Programme held a training to support Arbi Harnet, an Eritrean diaspora network agitating for social change in Eritrea. Members of the network travelled to the USA for three days of training in nonviolent civil resistance and social change. Also in the summer, the European Antimilitarist Network took action across Europe, at Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment in the UK, and at the Eurosatory arms fair in Paris.
In September we were pleased to welcome a new member of staff to the WRI office. Sarah will be with us for a year, working on developing resources about the militarisation of police forces around the world.
Members of WRI's affiliate in Finland, AKL, take action against youth recruitmentIn November, WRI's affiliates and friends took part in the week of action against youth militarisation. Actions took place around the world in schools, outside recruitment centres, in public spaces, and in the form of film showings, seminars and other events. In November we also held our annual Council meeting, welcoming four new affiliates from the UK, Czech Republic, Turkey and the Netherlands. Three others - from South Sudan, Nigeria and Serbia - upgraded their membership to Sections.
We are looking forward to more antimilitarist action in 2017! Regular financial support helps us to plan ahead and use our resources effectively and sustainably - visit https://www.wri-irg.org/donate-en.htm#Paypal to find out how you can give a monthly donation to support WRI's work.
Happy new year!