From the office

A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System launched

Empowering conscientious objectors to take advantage of human rights mechanisms

We're extremely happy to announce the launch of 'A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System'. This is an update of 'A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System', published in 2000, and covers the multitude of developments that have taken place in terms of human rights and conscientious objection since then.

The end of conscription and the transformation of war

'Remote control precision warfare'. Source: Somin Belcher, Alamy, via Brokeronline.eu'Remote control precision warfare'. Source: Somin Belcher, Alamy, via Brokeronline.euIn Europe, conscription has mostly disappeared and made place for professional armies with high-tech weaponry. This was caused by a transformation of military strategies and a change in the political objectives of defense policy after the end of the Cold War.

International Day of Action For Military-Free Education and Research

Friday 14 June 2013 will be an International Day of Action For Military-Free Education and Research.

Conscription and conscientious objection in Europe

WRI Right to Refuse to Kill programme worker Hannah Brock talking about conscription and conscientious objection in Europe, as part of the panel as part of the COnscription exhibition on International Conscientious Objectors Day: http://www.filmpro.net/conscription-panel-discussion

NB. In the video it says that conscription ended in Britain in 1960 - this was misspoken - National Service in Britain ended in 1960, not conscription.

On International Conscientious Objectors' Day, Israeli CO in prison for the 'record' tenth time

Related peace activists: 

Today is International Conscientious Objectors day: http://www.wri-irg.org/COsDay2013. Around the world, campaigners are raising awareness of the people who continue to be persecuted and imprisoned for refusing to kill, as well as remembering the generations who refused to go to war.

Joint Statement: Freedom to Conscientious Objectors in the Middle East

Related peace activists: 

Natan Blanc holding pictures of Emad and Mohammed (with thanks for the photo to Yesh Gvul)Natan Blanc holding pictures of Emad and Mohammed (with thanks for the photo to Yesh Gvul)Together, we in No to Compulsory Military Service (Egypt) and New Profile (Israel) confirm our support of peace and of conscientious objectors in both countries, re-affirming the human right to freedom of conscience, faith and self-determination.

15 April - the day the world said No to Military Spending!

War Profiteers' New, No 38, April 2013

On 15 April there were more than 120 actions worldwide as part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, an initiative coordinated by the International Peace Bureau (IPB). The day of action coincided with the annual release of SIPRI's figures on military spending. According to SIPRI, in the last year there was a slight decrease (0.5%) of the world military expenditure. However, China - the second largest spender in 2012 - increased its expenditure by 7.8 per cent ($11.5 billion). Russia - the third largest spender - increased its expenditure by 16 per cent ($12.3 billion). Annual world military spending continues at around $1.5 trillion dollars. WRI released a statement in support of the day of action, and helped to coordinate and promote activities. You can read report from the various events on this site.

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WRI supports Venezuelan Human Rights organisation PROVEA

Eleven years ago, during those 47 hours when a right-wing faction had detained Hugo Chavez and Pedro Carmona had declared himself the new president of Venezuela, one of the first groups to issue a condemnation of the coup was PROVEA, the Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos. At a time when the governments of the USA and Spain had recognised the 'new government', PROVEA - regardless of the risks their own organisation might face - circulated nationally and internationally their denunciation of the coup and their call for respect of the 1999 constitution. The courage and the determination to investigate and state the truth that marked PROVEA's action at that time has continued to characterise its research and reports. It is therefore alarming that Ernesto Villegas, the Venezuelan government minister for Communication and Information, should now smear PROVEA as "the rearguard of fascism" and "accomplices of murder and attacks".

Counter a new face of militarism: support WRI!

Oskar CastroOskar CastroInternational war in the 21st century is less about conscription, and more about 'smart' technology and highly trained mobile forces. In the past, war resisters tried to make conscription unworkable – and they sometimes succeeded. Now, War Resisters' International carries on the struggle against preparations for war and against changing forms of militarism throughout the world, because one aspect of war has not changed: it continues to indiscriminately wreak death and destruction.

Thank you, Martyn - office volunteer leaves London

Today WRI bids farewell to Martyn Lowe, the longsuffering Cockney cherub who has been a reliable help week in week out for nearly 28 years. Martyn, proud of his Cockney (East London) heritage, is leaving London for Liverpool ... but he has agreed to come down and help once or twice a year.

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