News from WRI

26 May 2015

[an international seminar on war profiteering] 

Stopping the War Business
talking tactics and linking methods

16 - 17 October 2015: Seoul, Republic of Korea

Please register here

South Korean activists take action against the ADEX arms fair in 2013South Korean activists take action against the ADEX arms fair in 2013For antimilitarists, disrupting war profiteering means knocking out the economic pillars that make war inevitable. It goes far beyond the arms trade (although that is an important part of it), and includes all those who fund and profit from war and militarisation.

Disrupting war profiteering takes a whole range of activities, from research, lobbying and legal challenges to mobilisation, direct action and creative campaigning techniques.

This seminar will provide a space for activists using a whole range of different methods to gather together, learn how a spectrum of tactics interlink and help each other to be more effective. It'll answer questions like 'How can we make our direct action more strategic using research? 'How could a public campaign support our lobbying work?' 'What tools or methods can help my campaign be more effective?'

This international seminar Stopping the War Business will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 16-17th October. The seminar is jointly coordinated by World Without War in Korea and international antimilitarist network War Resisters' International.

26 May 2015


Swiss activists blockade entrance to military baseSwiss activists blockade entrance to military baseThun, Switzerland – Since 9:30am on Tuesday 25th May, activists have been protesting against the purchase of war drones from the Israeli company Elbit Systems. The activists have blocked the entrance to one of Switzerland's biggest military bases, where members of the Swiss parliament planned to watch the Hermes 900 drone.

Since 9:30 AM, activists from different organisations - Gruppe für eine Schweiz ohne Armee (GSoA), Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), Collective Urgence Palestine (CUP) and independent activists - have blocked the entrance to the planned presentation of the Hermes 900 drones, that Switzerland is planning to purchase. No vehicles can go through the main door of the military compound in Thun, which the members of the security committees of both chambers have been invited to.

15 May 2015

Photo: Amnesty InternationalPhoto: Amnesty International

15th May is International Conscientious Objection Day - a joint day of action used by peace activists around the world to support those who refuse to be part of the militarist system, as well as to remember and learn from conscientious objectors of past generations.

Those who resist war and preparations for war expose the military for what it is. As Yeook Yang, from World Without War, a WRI affiliate in South Korea, tells us: "In a highly militarised society where any discussion of the military is taboo, conscientious objectors are making it clear that the military exists only to kill."

For us, conscientious objection is part of a wider nonviolent struggle to transform oppressive and violent systems, and show an alternative way.

Take action

Here are some ways you can support conscientious objectors around the world today:

  • attend a CO day event. See our list here in English, Español, Deutsch for info on events in South Korea, Turkey, the USA, Colombia, Britain, Greece, Germany, France and Paraguay.
  • talk about CO day on social media. Use #COday in English or #díaOC in Spanish
  • sign and share our petition for COs in Korea. Find it here in English, and here in German. You can print a version to share with your contacts in person here
  • COs in Colombia are calling for your input into their campaign! They would like short videos of people answering the question: Which service would you provide to your community if you did not have to do military service? More info:
  • share our press release, which focuses on conscientious objection in South Korea:
  • sign up to receive CO Alerts, which put pressure on authorities imprisoning and punishing conscientious objectors
12 May 2015




War Resisters' International, Amnesty International, Connection e.V. and World Without War are petitioning the South Korean Defence Minister, General Han Min-Koo 한민구, calling upon his government to immediately and unconditionally release all conscientious objectors; recognise conscientious objection as a human right inherent to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; make appropriate provision for conscientious objectors to military service; and to clear the criminal records and provide compensation for conscientious objectors who have been imprisoned for refusing military service in the past.

Sign it online here and download a paper version here.

11 May 2015

Turkish antimilitarists protest the IDEF arms fairTurkish antimilitarists protest the IDEF arms fairOn Friday 8th May, ten protesters met in front of the IDEF 2015 Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey. The protesters, who came together with the call from the Conscientious Objection Association were met with a heavy police presence including 15 civilian police, tens of riot police and one water cannon truck.

28 Apr 2015

Prasanna Ratnayake

Sri Lanka has a long history of armed violence and slaughter since its independence from Britain in 1948. There were ethnic riots in 1953, ‘58, ‘77, ‘83 and ‘87; two insurrections in 1971 and 1986-90; and a 30-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) of the North and East and Sinhalese nationalists of the South. The war ended on 19th May 2009 with the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. By then more than 300,000 people had become internally displaced (IDPs).

Art Exhibition, ColomboArt Exhibition, ColomboThe notes here concern the 10 years from the coming to power of former human rights lawyer, Mahinda Rajapakse, in November 2005 to the downfall of his regime on 9th January 2015. A mix of political parties - Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalists, Socialists, Marxists and the Buddhist Monks’ party - had supported Rajapakse’s candidacy. From the moment he became president, virtually over night, we entered the period of what would become a totally militarised police state. We woke up one morning to find Army checkpoints, military vehicles, police and soldiers everywhere. Cynthia Enloe has described it well, ‘Militarization is the step-by-step process by which something becomes controlled by, dependent on, or derives its value from the military as an institution or militaristic criteria.’ (Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000.)