PRESS RELEASECity of London Magistrates' Court, The Justice Rooms, 1 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4N 4XY
War Resisters' International, the international network of antimilitarist and pacifist organisation with some 90 affiliated organisations in more than 40 countries, will be in court on the anniversary of the 11 September attacks because of war tax resistance. As a reaction to the "war on terrorism", War Resisters' International's staff asked WRI's executive to withhold the proportion of their tax used to fund war. It is highly symbolical, that WRI's tax resistance is in court in the run-up to an attack on Iraq - the next step in the "war on terrorism", and on the anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.
War Resisters' International's executive decided in December 2001 to act in accordance with the request from the WRI staff, and to withhold 7% of the PAYE in line with the employees' conscientious objection to their taxes being used to fund the military (7% being the quoted percentage of taxation allocated to the Ministry of Defence). In a letter to the Inland Revenue, dated 12 April 2002, the Executive wrote: "In its declaration, which has been signed by all our employees, War Resisters' International states: 'War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.' In not paying the proportion of tax spent on the military, our employees follow their conscience not to support any kind of war."
"Both employers and employees feel that our consciences cannot allow us to contribute willingly to military expenditure. It is not our intention to avoid paying this proportion of due taxes, merely to ensure that our employees' human right to freedom of conscience, as inshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act, is upheld by receiving a guarantee that their taxes are not used to further the suffering and destruction brought about by war."
Not surprisingly, the Inland Revenue didn't accept these arguments. The "discussion" will continue in court tomorrow.
War Resisters' International sees the fact that a court case on war tax resistance - against the war on terrorism - is scheduled for 11 September as highly symbolical. While this is supposed to be a trial against War Resisters' International, WRI will turn it into a trial against war - and most importantly an attack on Iraq as the next step in the war on terrorism.
War Resisters' International
The hearing will take place at:
City of London Magistrates' Court
The Justice Room, 1 Queen Victoria Street
London EC4N 4XY
For further information, call Andreas Speck @ War Resisters' International
hone: +44-20-7278 4040
Exchange of letters between Inland Revenue and War Resisters' International