War Resisters' International is proud to publish Devi Prasad's new book War is a Crime against Humanity: The Story of War Resisters' International. We will mark the publication with a public launch at Housmans Bookshop in London on 21 October 2005, at 6pm. For more information, please contact the WRI Office.
While producing this newsletter, urgent news arrived from Turkey, on a new hunger strike of conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan.
Forum 18 News Service reported recently on a new wave of sentences against Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in Armenia. During the cause of the year, 22 Jehovah's Witnesses abandoned their substitute service in protest against it remaining under the control of the ministry of defence.
With military recruitment in the USA down according to a many media reports (although some claim the opposite, i.e. TCV News), the battle about recruitment at high schools and universities identifies. Several universities dropped their opposition to military recruiters on the campus due to the risk of losing federal funding. Harvard Law School lifted its ban, which had only been introduced the year before, as reported by DailyPennsylvanian.com on 30 September.
Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was battered as his hair was violently cut by military prison authorities in Sivas. In response, Mehmet started an indefinite hunger strike, demanding an examination by civilian doctors, a report from a forensic medical facility documenting the torture and legal action against the perpetrators. On 30 September, at about 3pm, Mehmet Tarhan was told by non-commissioned military prison officer Hilmi Savluk, who was accompanied by 3-4 guards, that they were to cut Mehmet's hair.
Fifteen new conscientious objectors presented their CO statements on 27 September in a public act in front of the Dirección General de Movilización Nacional in Santiago, the branch of Chile's armed forces in charge of conscription.
A "Ni Casco Ni Uniforme" banner was unfolded in front of the DGMN building. Leaflets were handed down to people, while the COs entered in groups to gave the documentation to military personnel. Some participants had "square head" masks, representing the "square" mentality of the military.
The War Resisters' International was formed in reaction to the senseless slaughter of World War I with a mission not only to oppose all war but also to strive to eradicate its causes. This ambitious programme introduced a new and political dimension to the existing moral and religious basis of pacifism. It attracted some of the best pacifist thinkers and activists from around the world - George Lansbury, Bertrand Russell, Bayard Rustin, Martin Niemoeller, Danilo Dolci, and Mahatma Gandhi.