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Take Action: Stop the Cycle of Violence in Turkey

International peace organisations, including War Resisters' International, are appealing to the European Union to not lose sight of the situation in Turkey. The renewed war in south-east Turkey is taking place largely away from the attention of the international public: instead terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, and the refugee issue dominate the agenda. But in the face of violence and human rights violations in the war between the Turkish government and PKK regions, we demand that European politicians no longer look away. For that purpose, we have created a petition directed at the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Federica Mogherini. Join us in our appeal here.

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Turkey: Dr. Serdar Kuni sentenced to more than 4 years despite the absence of concrete evidence

International delegation at Serdar Kuni's trial in Sirnak/TurkeyInternational delegation at Serdar Kuni's trial in Sirnak/TurkeyOn 24 April 2017, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the second hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender from Turkey imprisoned last October. Below is the statement of the international delegation, including Andreas Speck from War Resisters' International, explaining their concerns from the trial yesterday.

COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector Diego Blanco illegally recruited

Diego Blanco has been illegally recruited into the Colombian militaryDiego Blanco has been illegally recruited into the Colombian militaryConscientious Objector Diego Fernando Blanco López from Colombia has been illegally recruited by the Colombian army, despite his right to postpone due to being a student. He is currently being forced to serve in the Grupo de Caballeria Mecanicado No 4 Juan de Corral of the Colombian Army in Rionegro, Antioquia.

Since his declaration of conscientious objection on 20th March 2017, Diego Blanco has been subjected to aggression and harassment by his superiors. When he refused to take arms earlier this week, he was attacked by the First Sergeant Oscar Camacho Cartagena and has been threatened with a court martial for disobedience/insubordination.

Support Diego Blanco with your protest emails to the authorities. Send your emails here.

WRI Council to protest the London arms fair!

This year's WRI Council meeting will take place in London in September, coinciding with DSEI - Defence & Security Equipment International - the biggest arms fair in the world. We will take part in actions before and after Council to disrupt the fair.

The schedule for our events is as follows:

  • Friday 8th September: arrivals and preparation for Saturday's action
  • Saturday 9th September: join the big day of action with Campaign Against Arms Trade
  • Sunday 10th September: a public event on international militarism and the arms trade
  • Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th September: Council meeting

War Resisters League calls for Sanctuary Cities Beyond Militarism

A WRI affiliate in the United States of America – War Resisters League – stand 'with all migrants in the U.S., especially the many facing renewed threats of mass deportation under the new Trump administration.' WRL are working to challenge police militarisation and racism, and their campaign #NoSWATzone upholds a vision of “Sanctuary Cities” and sanctuary spaces that provide refuge from the federal raids that Trump promises to bring.

Read their statement and recommended reading and resources here.

New policy document: WRI responses to crises

Adopted by War Resisters' International's Council, October 2016

War Resisters' International (WRI) as a world-wide network is challenged with responding to – or not responding to – many crises situations around the world. There are the 'global' challenges and crises, such as large wars involving many different countries from different continents (like the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Iraq war of 2003, or Syria/Iraq today). There are regional conflicts and crises like the ongoing occupation of Palestine or the war in South Sudan, and there is national or even local violence, and the flaring up of persecution, for example of conscientious objectors or human rights defenders, political murders etc., on all continents.

Call for submissions: New Worlds in Old Shells

When we think of social change, we often think of protests, campaigns, and direct action. These are all vital ways to say “no!” to destructive practices and institutions.

Permaculture farmers in El SalvadorPermaculture farmers in El Salvador

However, it's equally important that we are building concrete alternatives, where we say “yes!” to the vision of the world we want. Built on the same power analysis as our nonviolent direct action, “constructive programmes” can be powerful acts of resistance. Constructive programmes demonstrate the radical alternatives – to militarism and the causes of climate change, for example – that our world desperately needs, and puts them into practise in the here and now.

For Gandhi, a nonviolent revolution without a constructive programme was impossible; direct action and social change had to be embedded in empowered and vibrant communities that were bringing their own radical and egalitarian visions of life. Along with protest and direct action, he called for communities in India to start building the world they wanted to see, to build a new world in the shell of the old.

WRI in 2016

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 courtBram, 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.

Interview with Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, conscientious objector in Thailand

Related peace activists: 

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