Nonviolence Programme

War Resisters' International Nonviolence Programme

The Nonviolence Programme works sharing resources in nonviolent campaigning and action - such as the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns; coordinates and leads nonviolence training and promotes campaigning on war profiteering - including the publication of War Profiteers' News.

Recent War Profiteers posts

27 Feb 2015
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GDAMS 2014 action on the Canary IslandsGDAMS 2014 action on the Canary IslandsThe Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) is an annual, international day of action against the huge expenditure by governments across the world on militaries, this year taking place on the 13th April 2015. Last year, the Latin America Antimilitarist Network released a statement demanding that resources are invested in society, not the military. As in previous years, WRI will be supporting the day, and inviting affiliates from across the world to take action to challenge to challenge spending on the military in their own context.

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27 Feb 2015
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Seoul action by World Without WarSeoul action by World Without War

On 10 February groups in South Korea (World Without War), Turkey (Ban Tear Gas Initiative), the UK (Campaign Against Arms Trade and War Resisters' International) took action to demand that a shipment of South Korean tear gas to Turkey be stopped. In recent years, Turkey has repeatedly abused the rights of protesters with the weaponised use of tear gas at demonstrations. But despite human rights concerns, South Korea have issued export licences granting the export of nearly 1.65 million tear gas canisters and grenades to Turkey. At the action in Istanbul protesters were met by riot police, in the words of one of the organisers: "In front of the Korean embassy, 2 full buses of armed riot police, 1 water cannon vehicle, 10 cars of undercover cops were waiting. The consulate general is in a plaza and they didn't let us in. After the protest, the police tried to block us from entering but we reached the Korean embassy employees and delivered the letter to them. Too many press were with us!" (see photos).

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Recent Nonviolence Programme related publications

26 Mar 2015
English

In August 2014 we launched a website specifically on the topic of youth militarisation. It's a place where you can add your own resources - to share documentation on how young people come into contact with the military, and how to challenge the militarisation of young people around the world.

Find it here: antimili-youth.net

20 Mar 2015
English

The European Court of Justice: Having published its preliminary ruling, what is the next move?

by Rudi Friedrich

On February 26, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), having been asked by the Munich Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgericht) to submit a decision on U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd’s request for asylum, published its preliminary ruling. As many media observers now believe that Mr Shepherd’s prospects of being granted asylum status are very remote, Rudi Friedrich from Connection e.V. has now summarized his initial thoughts on whether pessimism is indeed justified and what ramifications the court's preliminary ruling will have. (ed.)

20 Mar 2015
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mexico handbook launch postermexico handbook launch posterOn March 25th 2015, in Casa Museo de la Memoria Indomita, Mexico City, two peace activists closely connected to WRI (Igor Seke from Serbia/Mexico and Julian Ovalle from Colombia) will present the 2nd edition of WRI's Hanbook for Nonviolent Campaigns. They will also talk about the CO as a way to resist war in Colombia, and how the international solidarity with conscientious objectors works in that country. The host of this event is Comité Eureka!

20 Mar 2015
English

Two new projects featuring a broken AK-47 (based on WRI's famous broken rifle logo), have been created by artist Ralph Ziman in Los Angeles and Cape Town. The mural in Los Angeles featured 408 names of victims of gun violence, while the Cape Town piece was painted in the middle of the Manenberg district, an area of Cape Town that has endured years of gang violence.

For photos and other information see the Resistance Project's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Resistance-Project

20 Mar 2015
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Construction gate blockadedConstruction gate blockadedOn Monday 2nd March, members of the European Antimilitarist Network and hundreds of activists from across the British isles rose early and prepared for a mass blockade of Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) - Burghfield Lockdown Burghfield is one of the sites where the British government builds and maintains the nuclear warheads that are fundamental to the Trident nuclear weapons system (alongside Aldermast

20 Mar 2015
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Operation HeadwindOperation Headwind

At the same time as the Finnish military launches it's Wihuri ('gust of wind') training exercises in June, AKL, a WRI affiliate in Finland, are hosting the 'Operation Headwind' antimilitarist camp. The camp will run from 3rd to 11th June, and will include skillsharing and an action day to counter the military war games taking place in the beautiful Karelia region of Finland. For more information, see: http://akl-web.fi/vastatuuli

20 Mar 2015
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Narayan DesaiNarayan DesaiWe mourn with sadness the passing of Narayanbhai, former Chair of War Resisters' International, who has passed away last week at the Sampurna Kranti Vidyalaya (Institute for Total Revolution) in Veddchi, Surat. Anand Mazgaonkar, of WRI in India, wrote "Narayan Desai belonged to a small band of workers who had a mind and identity of his own. Few people are as blessed as Narayan Desai was".

19 Mar 2015
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Find here the updated version of International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service, by Rachel Brett of the Quaker United Nations Office.

This reflects the latest case from the UN Human Rights Committee which found a violation of Article 9 (arbitrary detention) for imprisoning COs, as well as of Article 18.

16 Mar 2015
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Narayan Desai, 1924-2015

Narayan DesaiNarayan Desai

We mourn with sadness the passing of Narayanbhai - teacher, trainer, author, spinner: total revolutionary. We celebrate a long life rich in history though never in funds, Narayan grew up in Gandhi's ashram, the son of Gandhi's personal secretary and biographer, Mahadev Desai. A devotee of Jayaprakash (JP) Narayan's work and call for TOTAL REVOLUTION, Narayanbhai set up the Institute for Total Revolution after JP's passing in 1979. He was a founder of the World Peace Brigades and Peace Brigades International, a chairperson of the War Resisters International, and a leader of India's Shanti Sena (Peace Army) and many other organizations and movements. From 2007 until very recently, he held the post of Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith, the Ahmedabad university founded by Gandhi in 1920.

11 Mar 2015
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Construction gate blockadedConstruction gate blockaded

On Monday 2nd March, members of the European Antimilitarist Network and hundreds of activists from across the British isles rose early and prepared for a mass blockade of Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) - Burghfield Lockdown. Burghfield is one of the sites where the British government builds and maintains the nuclear warheads that are fundamental to the Trident nuclear weapons system (alongside Aldermaston, seven miles down the road). The activists were aiming to stop work at the base for the day by nonviolently blockading all of the entrances. Working in small affinity groups, they gathered at strategic points around the base, and all but shut the base by sitting in the roads, many locked together using chains and 'lock on tubes' – in fact, it seems work at the base that day had already been cancelled because of the action, something the protesters counted as an immediate success!

09 Mar 2015
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by Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL

Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL: Much that is negative and little that is positive in the outcome

The network for conscientious objection Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL criticize today’s decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the case of U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd (37) as insufficient and in part quite incomprehensible in its argumentation. “The ruling by the ECJ does not strengthen the position of conscientious objectors and deserters in political-asylum proceedings. The Court avoided some fundamental questions, and answered others unacceptably, contrary to the opinion submitted by the Advocate-General.” said Rudi Friedrich of Connection e.V.

03 Mar 2015
English

Photo: Bem photographyPhoto: Bem photography

After the reinstatement of military conscription last year, the Ukrainian military is undertaking the first of three waves of 'emergency' military conscription. Call ups in this wave started on 20 January, and men aged 25 to 60 are eligible for conscription. By mid-February 75000 people had been called up, of whom 60% will enter service, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claims.

Conscription had ended in Ukraine in 2013, but was reimposed in 2014.

01 Mar 2015
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European Antimilitarist Network members meeting before Burghfield LockdownEuropean Antimilitarist Network members meeting before Burghfield Lockdown

Burghfield Lockdown: 25 European Activists Questioned under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000 in Calais

25 international peace activists from Finland, Sweden, and Belgium travelling on a coach from Finland to Burghfield in Berkshire to take part in the Burghfield Lockdown blockade planned for Monday 2 March were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act by British anti-terror police in Calais on 28 February 2015. The pacifists from groups including the Union of Conscientious Objectors Finland (AKL), ofog in Sweden and Agir pour la Paix in Belgium are part of a group of more than 40 European activist who will take part in the blockade of AWE Burghfield on Monday 2 March 2015, to build up pressure against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system [1].

27 Feb 2015
English

Photo: Bem photographyPhoto: Bem photographyIn the middle a wave of 'emergency conscription' in Ukraine, reports of desertion are high - especially in the West.  A mayor of a town in western Ukraine said “At least here mobilisation has been a total failure. People don’t understand what they are fighting against.” However the Ukrainian government has accused Russian government media of inflating desertion figues in a concerted propaganda campaign. Conscription had ended in Ukraine in 2013, but was reimposed in 2014. A new Ukrainian government decree regulates foreign travel for those subject to conscription. It means people could be arrested at border checkpoints, with those found guilty of draft-dodging facing up to five years in prison. Read more in our CO-Update for February; CO-Updates give bimonthly news of conscription, conscientious objection and counter-recruitment around the world. You can subscribe here.

Read more...

27 Feb 2015
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Ruslan Narkuliyev, the last Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector imprisoned in Turkmenistan's Seydi labour camp was released on 17 February in part of a President's amnesty, the Turkmen government's 'Flag Day'. This follows the release of the other eight Jehovah's Witness COs who had been in Seydi labour camp up until October. Ruslan had been sentenced to two years' imprisonment in September 2014.

There remains one Jehovah's Witness conscientious, Soyunmurat Korov, who is still being detained – but in a military hospital. Jehovah's Witness in Turkmenistan told Forum 18 that he is being held against his will.

Sources: Forum 18, http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2009, 28 October 2014; WRI, December CO Update,  12 December 2014; Forum 18, TURKMENISTAN: Two amnestied prisoners, conscientious objector in hospital, beaten "Wahhabis", 19 February 2015

27 Feb 2015
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A recent broken rifle art installation in Los Angeles. Artist: Ralph ZimanA recent broken rifle art installation in Los Angeles. Artist: Ralph Ziman

Social networking sites have played a huge role in civil resistance in recent years, and they're not going anywhere! A lot WRI's network of affiliates are using social media, and this is a great way to find out news from different countries quickly, and be able to amplify their requests for solidarity and action amongst your contacts too. We've added social media accounts to our information on affiliates here. Those of you on Twitter can also sign up to subscribe to our list of WRI affiliates here. You can also of course follow WRI onTwitter, Facebook and Diaspora.

More info...

27 Feb 2015
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Javier and Domi at their joint leaving partyJavier and Domi at their joint leaving partyThis month we're sayingfarewell to Javier Gárate, WRI's Nonviolence Programme Worker for the last ten years, and to Dominique Saillard, WRI's Treasurer for over seven years. Both Javier and Domi have played an enormous role in WRI in recent years – certainly culminating in the great effort in the Cape Town International Conference last July. All of us on the staff and Executive (and far beyond) are going to miss them both enormously. We wish them both well, and trust they will always be part of WRI, though in different (hopefully less work intensive!) way in the future.

See some photos from Javier and Domi's joint leaving party here.

25 Feb 2015
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Javier and the Lush Charity Pot for WRI: a limited edition hand cream!Javier and the Lush Charity Pot for WRI: a limited edition hand cream!After ten years Javier Gárate, WRI's first ever Nonviolence Programme worker, is leaving WRI. When Javier started, there was little else than an old computer and WRI’s track record in nonviolence trainings to help him bring together this programme. He has done so very successfully – numerous international trainings for activists, trainings of trainers and two issues of the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns stand for Javier’s achievements in those ten years. Plus of course three "quadriennials", in Germany, India and South Africa, which Javier together with his co-workers played a crucial role in preparing and conducting successfully.

Javier is moving to Belgium, but will continue to participate in some of WRI's regional networks. So we have reasons to hope that this good-bye is also a "see you soon again". We thank Javier very much for his untiring work, his friendliness, his kindness, his dedication, his humour and his keen commitment. WRI has gained so much from your time in the office, and we hope WRI has given you a lot, too. Javier – vaarwel, adiós, all the best and au revoir!

17 Feb 2015
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A military court in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas has sentenced conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan, to 15 months in jail. The verdict was transformed to a fine of 9,000 Turkish Liras, for “failing to obey orders.” Mehmet is appealing the verdict Mehmet's struggle against the Turkish military has been running for over a decade.

The verdict disregards a previous ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in which they found on a violation of article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and in addition of article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman treatment) of the Convention. The Court ruled that the heavy criminal sanctions imposed on those who did not comply with compulsory military service did not strike a proper balance between the general interest of society and that of conscientious objectors.

17 Feb 2015
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This year, WRI will publish a new handbook for conscientious objection. It's inspired by our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, designed by activists for activists, sharing experiences, strategies and inspiration for using conscientious objection as a nonviolent strategy against militarism. Rather than an academic text, it is meant to help CO movements in their campaigns.

Production of the book is being coordinated by Elisa Haf, a Quaker Peace and Social Witness Peaceworker based at WRI (and Forces Watch, whose offices are in the same building as us) for a year. It is being authored by over 30 contributors from Latin America, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

17 Feb 2015
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Campaigners in Colombia have been boosted by a new ruling from the Constitutional Court. In a case brought by two conscientious objectors (COs) who had been forcibly recruited into the military, in January the Court ordered the National Recruitment Office to: resolve applications for CO within 15 days; to publish a booklet that notifies youth of their grounds for exemption, deferral, and their right to CO; and to end the practices of arbitrary detention, including batidas (recruitment raids, usually in public spaces).

17 Feb 2015
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In Finland, WRI's affiliate AKL (Union of Conscientious Objectors) are petitioning the government to end conscription and the imprisonment of conscientious objectors. Please add your name to it here.

In addition to signing the petition, you could:

17 Feb 2015
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Semih SapmazSemih Sapmaz

There will be many changes in the WRI office this year. Firstly, we say goodbye to Javier Gárate after ten years working in the office. There will be a chance to say goodbye and thank you to Javier next month! Taking over from Javier as WRI's Nonviolence Programme Worker in mid-February will be Andrew Dey.

17 Feb 2015
English

Domi receiving her leaving presents from WRI!Domi receiving her leaving presents from WRI!

More than seven years ago Dominique Saillard came back from what she calls her 'WRI exile'. As many of you know, Domi had been on the staff of WRI for several years in the nineties, forming a dream team with Howard. When Howard became chair in 2006, WRI didn't have a treasurer. So as one of his first tasks as Chair he said "I know the perfect person to ask to be treasurer - it is Domi! I just need to convince her..." At the time we didn't know how successful Howard's persuasion of Domi would be, but he regularly reported that he was making more and more progress in getting WRI a treasurer.