War Resisters' International Office and Executive Report October 2017 – April 2018

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A group of people standing up in various position and holding up a thread that links them all
Photo: CAAT

Put together by the WRI Executive Committee and Staff.

It is barely seven months since the Council meeting in London. Therefore, this report is more modestly sized than usual. Some of the highlights since October include the meeting on Eritrea in Brussels, the week of action against the militarization of youth, Prisoners' for Peace day and, more recently, the training on gender and Countering the Militarisation of Youth (CMoY) that took place in London.

1. WRI Internal

1.1 Council 2017

People standing in a row holding the WRI banner

WRI’s Council meeting took place on the 11th and 12th of September 2017 in London. The dates were set to coincide with actions against the DSEI arms fair, in which many Council members participated. WRI also organised a seminar entitled "War Stops Here. Public Education on the Arms Trade" for participants in the actions against DSEI. The seminar was held close to the gates of the fair. Council discussed WRI’s programmes and finances, potential changes to the WRI constitution, and proposals for future events, such as the International Assembly 2019 and the centennial in 2021. The minutes of the Council meeting have been distributed.

1.2 Executive

The WRI Executive, consisting of Jungmin Choi, Cattis Laska, Hülya Üçpınar, Sergeiy Sandler (Treasurer) and Christine Schweitzer (Chair), continues to meet every month via Skype, and had a face-to-face meeting in London from the 26th to 28th of January 2018. In addition, all Exec members participate in at least one WRI working and task group. Since the last report, preparation for this eCouncil, the event in Colombia 2019, and discussions of changes to the constitution have comprised the largest proportion of the Exec’s work.

1.3 Working Groups

There are no changes to the statuses of the working groups:

  • the Women's Working Group still formally exists, but has not met in person or online during the past year.

  • the Queer Working Group has recently functioned more as a network, and therefore has renamed itself the WRI Queer Network, since it was felt that this represented the group better; thus, it no longer exists as a working group.

1.4 Office

Staff

At present, Andrew Metheven and Hannah Brock both work four days a week and Semih Sapmaz works on a freelance basis. They hold regular meetings (the minutes of which are shared with the Executive Committee), and go on a half-day away every six months to make plans for the coming months.

Andrew works on the Nonviolence programme, and Hannah on the Right to Refuse to Kill programme. Semih works in both the Countering the Militarisation of Youth and Right to Refuse to Kill programmes.

There will be some changes this year at the office. At the end of May 2018, Hannah will be leaving WRI. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear if the grant for the Right to Refuse to Kill programme will be divided up to pay two staff. The Exec would like to divide the position between Semih and a new member of staff to be hired in Colombia, but it is not clear if we will be permitted to do so.

This summer, Andrew and his family will be moving back to Bradford (in the north of England), and from then on he will be working partly from home and partly from the office.

The staff and Exec are already thinking of ways to ensure the staff continue to work well together across different sites – including new virtual meetings structures and ensuring that the new staff worker attends Exec meetings in person.

Volunteers and Interns

Three people sitting on the floor speaking to a group (unseen)
Susan asks Marcela a question at War Stops Here, September 2017. Photo: CAAT

In 2017, we were very happy to host Marcela Paz, from Chile, as our Right to Refuse to Kill intern. Marcela spent three months in the office, working on reports from Latin America for the CONCODOC database, supporting the CMoY week of action, taking part in Council, speaking at the War Stops Here seminar, connecting WRI and RAMALC, and starting to plan the Colombia meeting. Thank you, Marcela!

Martyn Lowe, who has been a regular volunteer at the WRI office for many years, continues to visit the office every November for three-to-four days to help us with the annual fundraising appeal; we are always very glad of his significant contribution!

WRI is supported by a large network of translators – some are members of the Council or Executive, others have volunteered through our website. They include: Carlos Barranco, Nayua Abdelkefi, Igor Seke, Matias Mulet, Laura Perez Poza, Oscar Huenchunao, Pedro Ballesteros, Clara Delgado, Eva Aneiros, Cristian González, Mabel Pedemonte, Mayra Cavilla, Yolanda Alvarez, César Pérez, Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe, Martin Vallarino Arrospide, Carolina Olivero, Lydia Saiz, Mariana Avalaos, Manuel Torres, Paul Rankin, Ruby Starheart, Grace Brown, Anjali Mukhi Navalrai, Kevin Siegel, Inge Dreger, Gerd Buentzly, Christine Schweitzer, Rainer Sonntag, Caroline Wedler, Richard Meakin, Diana Vega, Laura Guthrie, Benjamin Lacey, David Scheuing, René Burget, Tikiri, Bastien Zara, Eve Tignol, Nolwenn Gaudin, Yoann Re, John Bogard, Lydia Castiello, Romain Ducroux, Maude Boudreault, Lewis Sinkala, Eleonora Romagna, D. Phillips, Asunción Serrano, Laura Poza, Laura Sanquer, Daniel Montes Esteban, Sofia Maestro Sanz, Joel Dergal, Matilde Gómez Sánchez, Yamina Bouali, Nina Krotov, Hortense Maignien, Felix Lonji, Safaa Issaad and Elizabeth Cortes.

In addition to this list of volunteers, many people help us through the Rosetta Foundation's website (trommons.org), which links up volunteer translators with not-for-profit groups for one-off tasks. Thank you to all of them! However, because of a change in structure – which will require WRI to pay to access this pool of volunteers – we do not expect to be able to use Trommons in the future.

Finally, thanks to our proofreading volunteers: Emma Green, Spencer P. Malloy, Andrew Jackson and Lyn Setchell (and especially to Lyn who proofread this report!).

2. WRI Programmes

2.1 Countering the Militarisation of Youth Programme

Programme Activities

Street action in front of the Military Recruitment Office in Athens, group of people standing with banners outside
Street action at the Athens Military Recruitment Office

The International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth was held for the fourth time between 20–26 November 2017. During the Week, activists from various countries organised actions and events protesting against the militarisation of youth and promoting ways to engage young people in peace and nonviolence. The Week has been organised since 2014 (wri-irg.org/en/MilitaryFreeWeekReport), following an international day of action held in 2013

Over the last four years, many activists have taken part by organising autonomous actions, such as protests in front of military recruitment centres, arms fairs, and job fairs attended by the military and arms fairs. They have organised talks, workshops, panel sessions and movie screenings. Some of them set up information stalls in front of schools, and circulated leaflets informing the public about youth militarisation and how to take action against it. Other activists took online actions by posting content jointly on social media, and some published reports and articles on youth militarisation in their countries and how to resist it.

A demonstration in Tel Aviv by the Mesarvot network - a solidarity network supporting political conscientious objectors in Israe
Demonstration in Tel Aviv

Similarly, during the fourth the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth various interesting actions, events and publications were undertaken. Examples from last November include:

  • A demonstration in Tel Aviv by the Mesarvot network – a solidarity network supporting political conscientious objectors in Israel – in support of the young refuser, Matan Hellmann.

  • street actions in front of the military recruitment centre in Helsinki by AKL, the Union of Conscientious Objectors.

  • another street action in front of the Military Recruitment Office in Athens organised by World Without Wars and Violence, the Association of Conscientious Objectors, Service Civil International Hellas, and the feminist collective the Purple.

  • a panel session and a movie screening by NESEHNUTI in Brno, Czech Republic, and an article published on antimili-youth.net.

  • another movie screening and discussion, this time held in Russia by the Movement of Conscientious Objectors (stoparmy.tilda.ws).

  • a photo exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, by the Peace Education Project MOMO.

  • street actions by Granny Peace Brigade activists from the USA who travelled to high schools throughout New York City and informed students and parents about alternatives to the military service.

  • an article series on the militarisation of youth in the United States, published by the National Network Opposing the Militarisation of Youth (from the USA) throughout the week. You can read all these articles on antimili-youth.net.

This year’s week of action will take place on between 12-–18 November 2018. Planning is in progress with the support of an international group of activists from different countries. If you'd like to take part in its planning and/or get more information contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org, and follow us at antimili-youth.net and on social media.

Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation

Thanks to the support of the Network for Social Change, during the previous year we started a new project: Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation. The project includes training sessions with activists from different countries that focus on the role of gender politics in developing more effective campaigns against the militarisation of youth, and an e-publication that further explores related issues.

Group of people sitting around a table, one person holding a piece of flip chart paper and speaking about what's on the paper
Gathering on the militarisation of youth in Europe, held in London between 2-4 February 2018

Our first gathering, which addressed the militarisation of youth in Europe, was held in London between 2–4 February 2018. Supported by the facilitators network Turning the Tide, the gathering hosted activists from AKL (Union of Conscientious Objectors) and Committee of 100 from Finland, Nesehnuti from the Czech Republic, DFG-VK and BSV from Germany, Movimento Nonviolento from Italy, Centre Delàs from Catalonia, and the Peace Pledge Union and ForcesWatch from the UK.

During the training, activists took part in various activities exploring how military values are promoted to young people, in what ways this militarisation is gendered, and how we can plan effective strategies to counter these forces.

Currently we're working on the preparations for our second training, which is going to be held in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 26–28 May 2018. At our second gathering we're hoping to host activists from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Israel, Palestine, and more. This event is funded by the A.J. Muste Social Justice Fund, and supported by the Nonviolence Center (Istanbul, Turkey), Turning the Tide (London, UK), and activists in Nicosia.

Events

A group of people sitting around on chairs in Housmans bookshop. One of them is talking
Event in Housmans Bookshop

Following our training in London in February, we hosted a public forum on countering youth militarisation in different countries. The forum, held in Housmans Bookshop in London on 5 February, included activists from the Czech Republic, Finland, Turkey, and the UK. More information about the event can be found on the WRI website (wri-irg.org/en/story/2018/activists-countering-youth-militarisation-gather-london) and at Peace News (peacenews.info/node/8927/no-more-youth-militarisation).

Website and Social Media

The content of antimili-youth.net, the website of the Countering the Militarisation of Youth programme, was improved via the incorporation of news stories from across the world – together with pieces by, and interviews with, activists from different countries. Its up-to-date content also includes visual material, i.e. videos and galleries. The website is available in three languages: English, Spanish and German, although due to capacity issues and practicalities there is more content available in English than in any other language.

The site functions as an online resource centre for activists and members of the public interested in countering the militarisation of youth. With antimili-youth.net, we aim to help visitors act on the issues around youth militarisation worldwide and to share ideas and tactics.

The Countering the Militarisation of Youth Programme has its own Facebook page, which links to content from antimili-youth.net and other sources relevant to youth militarisation and resistance to it. We also have a Facebook group, “War is not a Game”, where activists are invited to share content from their work and/or updates from their countries.

CMoY Programme Committee

The Countering the Militarisation of Youth programme committee consists of Cattis Laska (Ofog, Sweden), Dola Nicholas Oluoch (Chemchemi, Kenya), Michael Schulze von Glaßer (DFG-VK, Germany), Sahar Vardi (American Friends Service Committee, Israel), Hannah Brock (Right to Refuse Kill programme worker at WRI, London) and Semih Sapmaz (Countering the Militarisation of Youth, London).

Funding

Since September 2017, we received funding from A.J. Muste Memorial Institute Social Justice Fund, which is to be used for our second gathering as part of the project Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation project. This is in addition to general WRI funds, which supports the programme during this year. The programme continues to seek funding for its projects in 2018 and 2019.

Evaluation

Achievements

  • The 4th International Week of Action took place with the participation of various groups and individuals across different countries.
  • Our first gathering as part of our Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation project was held successfully in London. We were glad to receive positive feedbacks following our first training, which motivated us during the preparations for the second one.
  • The content of antimili-youth.net was further improved with up-to-date stories and contributions by activists from within and outside our network.
  • Fundraising: we're glad to receive A.J. Muste Memorial Institute's support for our Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation project.

Challenges

  • Despite successes in fundraising during 2017, it continues to be a challenge for the Countering the Militarisation of Youth programme as its financial position is not fully sustainable yet. We will keep pursuing funds for our programme work during this year as well.

2.2 Nonviolence Programme

Since the last annual report, we have mainly been building and developing on the projects we have been working on over the last few years: our publications and websites, and our “war profiteers” programme of work. The programme continues to be staffed by Andrew Metheven.

Nonviolence resources

Empowering Nonviolence website: In 2017, we finished the technical work on our new micro-site, Empowering Nonviolence. Empowering Nonviolence hosts all of our material on nonviolent campaigning, in several languages. We intend to continue publishing new material on this website, and have been slowly commissioning new content, including on using video and photography in actions, using social media to enhance a campaign, and creative action techniques using theatre.

New Worlds in Old Shells: The work on our next publication – New Worlds in Old Shells – continues. The work on this has been somewhat delayed as we work hard to make sure the book covers enough areas in enough depth. The book will explore historical and modern-day examples of “constructive programme” projects, and offer ideas and approaches for how to start or develop such constructive action. Much of the work on the case studies has now been completed, as has the theoretical content of the book. We now expect to publish towards the end of this year.

Translations of the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns: Our main resource – the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns – continues to be translated into various languages. This year, Andrew has been working closely with our friends in Turkey on a Turkish edition of the Handbook. At the time of writing, the translation has been completed, as has much of the design work, and we are exploring how to print and distribute the book.

The Handbook continues to be translated into Portuguese. When it is completed, we will publish the translation on the Empowering Nonviolence website, and look for resources for the design, printing and distribution.

War profiteers

The Nonviolence Programme has a particular interest in work countering the arms trade and other forms of war profiteers. This year we have been involved in various projects, as well as continuing our regular newsletter, War Profiteers News.

War Profiteers News is an electronic magazine, covering news about the arms trade and other war profiteers. Since September 2017, we have been able to publish War Profiteers News as a monthly news bulletin, thanks to financial contributions by two foundations in the UK. This has helped the magazine to reach a wider audience, and to feel more timely and relevant.

War Stops Here

The main event to accompany our 2017 Council meeting was an all-day, open air seminar on the arms trade, outside the gates of the DSEI arms fair. Around 100 people attended the various parts of the day, which saw talks and presentations given by a large number of Council members and WRI allies in the UK. Though we had less-than-brilliant weather, it felt important to be present at the site of the DSEI fair. The event followed a week of direct action by the Stop the Arms Fair coalition, with a large number of trucks held up by thousands of protesters.

Who profits at DSEI (and Eurosatory!)?

To accompany our War Stops Here seminar, and the other actions taking place against DSEI, WRI published a short introduction to the arms trade. We profiled 12 companies who had been present at DSEI in the past. WRI printed 100 copies for the seminar, and our affiliate Campaign Against the Arms Trade had 500 copies printed and distributed throughout the week of action. The whole resource is available as a pdf on our website.

Since then, we have also been approached by grassroots groups involved in the campaign against the Eurosatory arms fair, a biannual event held in Paris due to take place in June 2018. We are adapting the original “Who Profits at DSEI?” resource with companies relevant to Eurosatory, and including more French companies. This resource will be printed and distributed by the Stop Fuelling War network.

Resisting Police Militarisation

Heavily armed police officers in the UK face protesters. One is carrying a large weapon, another a shield.

Last year, we were very glad to host Sarah Robinson as part of the QPSW Peaceworker Programme. Sarah did extensive research into the phenomenon of militarised policing around the world, and her work was brought together in a new online resource mapping and aalysing the various ways that militarised policing occurs around the world. The tool has over a dozen profiles on countries where militarised policing is particularly prevalent, and allows us to gather material both on the main WRI website and on other sources - such as news websites - around the world. The resource can be found at: www.wri-irg.org/police

Nonviolent Programme Committee

The Nonviolence Programme Committee meets once a month, for around an hour, on Skype. Its current members are: Andrew Metheven, Joanne Sheehan, Dorie Wilsnack, Eric Bachman, Stellan Vinthagen, Jungmin Choi, and Hülya Üçpınar. The committee was formed a few years ago via a call out to the WRI network, and provides staff with support and advice, and has specifically focused its work on the "New Worlds in Old Shells" book, for which the committee is acting as an editorial group.

Funding

As per other years, the programme continues to be underfunded. One of the main challenges in fundraising is balancing maintaining ongoing projects (like the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns and War Profiteers News) with new projects that are attractive to funders, so we were happy this year to find funding to support War Profiteers News.

We have a number of trusts to apply to in 2018 for projects towards the end of the year.

Evaluation

  • War Profiteers News has been strengthened through its monthly publication, with more articles being published from a wider range of contexts.

  • The “Who profits at DSEI?” resource – and its subsequent adaptation for Eurosatory – is a good example of WRI resourcing and empowering grassroots antimilitarist networks.

  • Using more online resources is cheaper to maintain than printed books, and allows us to work on projects over a longer period of time, updating them as and when we can.

  • The programme is working on a broad range of different areas, with limited resources. Sometimes this can stretch staff capacity.

2.3 The Right to Refuse to Kill Programme

We continue to work to support conscientious objectors (COs) and CO movements resisting conscription – especially those facing repression.

Eritrea

Five speakers sitting on a platform at the Eritrea event
Day one of the meeting on Eritrea. Photo: Connection e.V.

Continuing our work with member of the Eritrean diaspora, we worked with a group of organisations across Europe (The Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR), Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), Förderverein Pro Asyl e.V., Connection e.V., and the Stop Slavery in Eritrea Campaign) that support Eritreans fleeing indefinite conscription (what the group 'Stop Slavery in Eritrea' refers to as 'slavery'). On 19–20 October 2017 we co-hosted a gathering in Brussels. This work was a response to growing pressure on Eritrean asylum seekers in the perceived migration crisis.

The first day of the gathering was an advocacy day, bringing together representatives of various European governments and developing recommendations for European and international bodies and giving space for the voices of Eritrean COs. The press release can be found at wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/un-special-rapporteur-emphasises-gravity-human-rights-violations-eritrea.

The second day focused on internal campaigns strategy, bringing together various European support and advocacy groups. We shared strategies and plan joint campaigns to pressure European governments to offer protection to those fleeing what Special Rapporteur on Eritrea Sheila Keetharuth has called “excessive militarisation". One of the results of this meeting was the establishment of a new website – eritreahub.org.

South Korea

We held a webinar on educating for peace and conscientious objection in South Korea (wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/educating-peace-and-conscientious-objection-south-korea). You can also watch the recording on Vimeo (vimeo.com/223155830).

We are still awaiting the results of the Constitutional Court's examination of the case of COs. News reports suggest this will come very soon, possibly in August this year. WRI, along with Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Quaker United Nations Office, submitted a third-party intervention to the court back in 2014.

International Conscientious Objection Day this year will focus on South Korean COs in jail, demanding their release and the provision of rights for COs in South Korea – which imprisons more COs than the rest of the world combined. See the Events section below for more information.

Thailand

Following our visit to Thailand in 2017 (trip report: wri-irg.org/en/military-and-monarchy) we have been working with a number of activists in Thailand, including a recently-declared CO Apinan Issarakura Na Ayutthaya and, and Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a CO who was charged with sedition for peaceful protests against the military junta; his charges were dropped.

Challenging Governments

We also gave support to individual COs. Recently, we submitted a letter to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the case of Osman Murat Ülke, who was summoned to his local police station over two decades since his first imprisonment. Further news and our submission can be found on our website.

We’ve also been supporting Ukrainian CO Ruslan Kotsaba (in collaboration with CO support group Connection e.V.; wri-irg.org/en/programmes/rrtk/co-action-alert/2018/ukraine-ruslan-kotsabas-next-hearing).

Publications

The CO-Update newsletter (wri-irg.org/en/publications/co-update) is published every two-to-three months. It remains the only wholly international newsletter covering conscientious objection to military service and military recruitment that includes COs acting from religious, political, and other motivations. One of the recent highlights was an article written by Hannah Brock on conscription trends (wri-irg.org/en/story/2018/return-conscription).

The CO-Alert system has been active this year, providing updates on a number of Israeli COs who were repeatedly imprisoned, and Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, Ruslan Kotsaba, and Osman Murat Ülke, as mentioned above. See wri-irg.org/en/programmes/co_alerts

It’s very easy to subscribe to receive these updates and alerts, and it directly helps COs at risk. Please sign up at wri-irg.org/WRI-mailing-lists-and-publications if you can.

This year will also see the publication of the Spanish version of our book Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements – online and in print. The translation was undertaken by volunteers, and the final proofread is being conducted by Matias Mulet Truyols – a big thank you to him! See wri-irg.org/en/story/2016/conscientious-objection-practical-companion-movements-now-available-online. World Without War (withoutwar.org/) in South Korea are also finalising the Korean version, which will be launched at the end of May.

CONCODOC: We've been working with volunteers and RRTK interns – including Victoria Giraldo, Rebecca Hummler and Marcela Paz – to update our World Survey of Conscientious Objection and Conscription (CONCODOC) on a rolling basis. Recent updated reports cover Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Germany, Portugal and Venezuela. (All of the reports can be found at wri-irg.org/es/programmes/world_survey.)

If you would like to update the report relating to your country (or one that you are knowledgeable about) – that would be great! Please get in touch with us at info@wri-irg.org.

Events

International Conscientious Objection Day: On International CO day (15 May) this year we will focus on the situation in South Korea, which imprisons more conscientious objectors than the rest of the world combined. Currently, there's no substitute service in South Korea – so if you don't want to join the army, you go to jail. However, the current President pledged to change this in his election manifesto, and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea has voted repeatedly to recommend that the South Korean government institute an alternative service system. See wri-irg.org/en/event/2018-05/international-conscientious-objection-day.

We will ask people to run stalls near South Korean embassies or in their town centres, and send a postcard to protest the continuing imprisonment of COs in South Korea (tiny.cc/COday2018). There will also be ways to join in via our website and social media – including downloading the postcard from our website and sending it – if you don’t live somewhere where an event is taking place.

Prisoners for Peace Day: December 1st is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day. We send out a paper version of the Prisoners for Peace list each year with the November funding appeal. We share this information on social media and provide easy ways to contact a peace prisoner. Many of those on the list have been there for many years, including COs in Eritrea that were imprisoned in 1994.

RRTK Programme Committee

The Right to Refuse to Kill programme committee continues to be in regular contact.

The RRTK committee currently consists of Rachel Brett (Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva), Igor Seke (from Serbia, now living in Mexico), with Sergeiy Sandler (New Profile, Israel) convening the committee, and Hannah Brock and Semih Sapmaz working on the RRTK programme. We usually meet via conference call every four-to-six weeks, and in person once a year.

Members of affiliates working on CO issues have also joined RRTK committee calls and updated us about the situation in their countries. Recently, these have included people in South Korea, Turkey and Finland.

Funding

Having reapplied to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, we have funding until April 2020. We seek funding for specific projects in addition to this main grant.

Evaluation

Achievements

  • We have seen more people use our CO-Alerts this year, most likely as a result of improvements to the usability of the website and a larger social media following.

  • We are working closely with affiliates to respond to their needs. For example, World Without War, with whom we are planning CO Day 2018.

  • Our work to update World Survey (CONCODOC) reports will ensure that we continue to be effective in our aim to provide information to activists to facilitate their campaigning.

Challenges

  • CONCODOC was first published in 1998; some of the reports have not been updated since (although many have). On the one hand, this is an important resource which has been used by many people since it was created. On the other hand, keeping it updated fully would require a significant time investment.

  • Balancing programme work with general WRI work is a constant balancing act, especially when approaching big WRI event, such as the International Assemblies.

3. WRI in the Regions

People standing in rows waving at the camera
RAMALC members meeting in Paraguay, November 2017

3.1 Latin American and Caribbean Antimilitarist Network (RAMALC)

Please see Rompiendo Filas magazine and ramalc.org for information about the incorporation of new members into the network.

Report will be made during the Council.

3.2 Pan African Nonviolent and Peacebuilding Network (PANPEN)

Report will be made during the Council.

3.3 WRI in East, South and South East Asia

See the report of Right to Refuse to Kill (2.3) for activities in Asia.

3.4 WRI in Oceania and Australia

WRI has an affiliate in Australia, and an individual member in West Papua. Through the war profiteers initiative we have also made contact with groups in Australia and New Zealand. Both groups are resisting arms trade events in their local towns, and have been featured at various points in War Profiteers News.

3.5 European Antimilitarist Network

The European Antimilitarist Network (EAN) consists of a wide range of groups from across Europe dedicated to antimilitarism and the use of nonviolent direct action. The network facilitates communication between the groups in the network and between the network and other groups and people involved in the antimilitarist struggle. They developed and use the concept of War Starts Here (which is also used by some other antimilitarist groups outside the network).

3.6 WRI in North America

Reports from WRI affiliates in North America, e.g. the War Resisters League, will follow in the eCouncil.

4. Turkey Project

Map of Turkey with a broken rifle logo on top of it

At the beginning of 2016 a Working Group on Turkey was established, starting with the appeal “Stop the Cycle of Violence”. This working group consists of WRI members based in Sevilla, Istanbul and London, Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria, Connection e.V. (Germany) and the Federation for Social Defence (Germany). In 2017, a plan was developed to organise training for activists from the Southeast of Turkey; unfortunately this had to be abandoned. The reasons for this were twofold – the steadily worsening security situation in Turkey, and lack of fundraising success. In late March 2018 the group met in Istanbul to see various organisations and to learn about the current situation (including the invasion of North Syria) and what internationals could do to support nonviolent approaches in Turkey. On their return, the group made a statement that has been translated into English and German (soziale-verteidigung.de and connection-ev.de). After this report was finalised, the group began was assessing among other things the possibilities of a later visit and plus an event in South East Turkey, and of raising the issue of arms exports to Turkey in the European peace movement. At the Council, the group will be able to provide give an update.

5. Publications and Outreach

All of WRI's email-based publications can be viewed on our website. You can subscribe to receive them to your inbox at wri-irg.org/en/WRI-mailing-lists-and-publications.

We have written a simple 'writing guide' for the website, to encourage people to submit ideas for stories to our publications (wri-irg.org/en/Writing-for-WRI [German, Spanish, French]).

5.1 Series Publications

The Broken Rifle

The Broken Rifle is WRI's main newsletter, and is published in English, Spanish, German and French. It is published online, usually with a downloadable PDF version, and sent out as an email newsletter.

We use Issuu to publish the PDF version, which makes it much easier to read on tablets, laptops and e-readers, and to embed on the website. You can sign up for free, and read past issues in all four published languages, at issuu.com/warresistersint.

Since September 2017 we have published two issues: November 2017 and March 2018.

November 2017: Police militarisation This issue explores the militarisation of police forces, and resistance to it, with examples from Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Palestine, South Africa, the USA, Paraguay, Kenya, and South Korea.

March 2018: Militarism: What is it good for? The latest issue focuses on the experiences of militarism, particularly in the context of conflict and post-conflict areas. Pieces in this issue include examples from Yemen, Eritrea, Cyprus, Catalonia, South Korea and Turkey.

All issues of the Broken Rifle can be found at wri-irg.org/en/publication/broken-rifle.

War Resisters' Stories

War Resisters' Stories is a short monthly bulletin of news from the WRI network. Each month it contains five stories, both from the office and from the wider WRI network. It is designed to provide highlights of recent activities and direct them towards upcoming events, in a brief and engaging way. This year we have started translating this bulletin into French, so it is now available in English, Spanish, French and German.

CO-Update

The CO-Update, produced in English and Spanish, is the eNewsletter of the Right to Refuse to Kill programme. Since summer 2012 it has been produced bimonthly. It contains updates on conscientious objection and conscription around the world, in addition to news of RRTK activities.

CO-Alert

Conscientious objectors Ayelet and Mattan from a CO-Alert

In July 2001, WRI launched the email-based CO-Alert system to inform subscribers of the imprisonment or other difficulties faced by conscientious objectors. Since then, hundreds of CO-Alerts have been distributed. The CO-Alert system has been integrated into WRI's conscientious objection database, and is now managed entirely through the WRI website. CO-Alert is an English-only email list, although some alerts are also available in other languages on the WRI website. CO-Alerts since September 2017 have included calls for support for COs in Israel, Thailand and Ukraine.

Please encourage as many people to join this list as possible: wri-irg.org/en/programmes/co_alerts.

War Profiteers News

The War Profiteers News email newsletter is published in English and Spanish, usually once a quarter. It has been an important tool in providing information on matters related to war profiteering to a wide range of groups and activists, and has facilitated networking of groups working on war profiteers. War Profiteers News, published since 2006, has been produced monthly since September 2017. See wri-irg.org/en/publications/war-profiteers-news.

5.2 Social Media

We continue to develop our social media work. We aim to post on Facebook once a day and on Twitter as regularly as seems appropriate. We have also tried to regularly repost and retweet content produced by groups affiliated to WRI.

Facebook

Find us at facebook.com/pg/warresistersint/. We now have over 5,000 followers. Our most popular posts this year concerned COs in Israel, Ukraine and Thailand, our new resource on police militarisation, and posts during the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth.

Twitter

You can find WRI at twitter.com/warresistersint. We now have over 4,800 followers. Twitter feeds from WRI's affiliates can be found at twitter.com/warresistersint/lists/wri-affiliates.

Vimeo

War Resisters' International has a page on Vimeo, a video sharing platform. On this page, you can find various videos produced by WRI – including recordings of our webinars and videos from our previous actions, for example, with activists as part of the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth, etc. You can find out more at vimeo.com/user4456636.

Instagram

We have recently started an Instagram account where we're hoping to post photos and videos from our events, as well as bits from our daily work. You can follow us on Instagram at instagram.com/warresistersint/.

5.3 Books

Who profits at DSEI?

Cover of the Who Profits at DSEI? bookley

In September 2017, WRI produced a short booklet – called "Who profits at DSEI?" – which was distributed at the protests against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in London. It profiles twelve of the companies who attended DSEI, what they build, who they sell it to, and the impacts of some of these weapons. You can read "Who Profits at DSEI?" online on Issuu, or you can download the booklet as a PDF at .wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2017-09/Design%20internet%20version.pdf.

WRI Webshop

In February this year, we launched our new webshop, where you can find a range of WRI publications, in addition to broken rifle badges, bags, t-shirts and hoodies. We are grateful to the web development company Netuxo, who also built WRI's new website in 2017, for their hard work and support.

To find out more about the products and international shipping options, visit our webshop at wri-irg.org/en/shop.

 

6. Finances and Fundraising

WRI ended 2017 with a significant deficit of roughly £12,500 (the complete end-of-year figures are not available at the time of writing, so this is an estimate; we will have a fuller picture and a more detailed breakdown to present at eCouncil). This puts our total reserves by the year’s end at approximately £62,500.

While most of our 2017 deficit reflects a one-off cost (that of rebuilding WRI’s website), it also reflects a more chronical financial problem: despite great improvements in our fundraising capacity over the last decade, we still spend, on average, more than we raise.

The Right to Refuse to Kill Programme continues to receive full and generous funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (currently until April 2020, but we are optimistic about extending it further). Our other office programmes (Nonviolence and Countering the Militarisation of Youth), between them, are reliably able to raise roughly £10,000 a year to cover core programme costs, on top of funding for special projects and events – thanks to the relentless efforts of our three dedicated staff members. Affiliation fees, individual donations and publication and merchandise sales contributed a little under £20,000 in 2017.

A noteworthy development is the special efforts we made (especially via our new website) in late 2017 to attract donors who would make regular recurrent donations to WRI. At present, we have 16 people that set up regular donations following this push, and over the course of a year their contributions will total £1,932 – not an insignificant amount. We only need 9 more to reach our target of 25 new regular donors.

Overall, our expenditure generally exceed our fundraising capacity and increasing this capacity further is no easy task. Simply cutting expenditure would not be a good solution because it would involve cutting down staff time – which would not only reduce the amount of work done, but would also reduce our fundraising capacity, thereby offsetting the very savings we were a aiming for.

In this context, the upcoming departure of Hannah Brock, our RRtK programme worker (after more than five years of truly superb work) presents us with an opportunity of sorts to cut some costs without damaging capacity as significantly (see section 1.4). Over time, these changes might allow us to reduce staff costs and/or increase fundraising capacity just enough to balance our budget. This balancing, if it is to happen, will not happen all on its own. It will require a lot of work from our staff and volunteers and a continued, even increased, commitment from you, WRI’s affiliates and members, through your affiliation fees, help with generating donations and sales, and with raising grant funding.

Supporting our upcoming International Conference and Assembly in Colombia next year is going to require a great deal of effort. Organising such a large-scale event is always challenging, but the challenge is perhaps greater than usual financially. International events in Latin America are typically more expensive to organise than in many other regions (mostly due to airfare costs), and obtaining sufficient funding will also take a lot of work, especially given the general downturn in funding available to social movements in the Global South in recent years. We will need all the help, connections, ideas and engagement from you that we can get!

As always, affiliation fees and individual donations are a significant proportion of our income, and we need to maintain that; this is a direct way in which the WRI network can support its office programmes. Volunteer help of all sorts (including with fundraising) could be invaluable as a resource in its own right, and will eventually get reflected in our (financial) books.

At the end of 2017, we did a push for regular donors. Currently we have 16 new people set up regular donations which over a year will come to £1932, which isn't an insignificant amount. We only need 9 more to get to the target of 25 we set ourselves.

7. Outlook

Organisationally, the main area of work this year will probably be the preparation for the International Conference and Assembly in Colombia the dates of which have been tentatively set for 12–19 May 2019. We will report further at the Council.

This event is important for bringing together COs from across Latin America. The conference (the theme of which will likely relate to the idea of a very militarised peace) will also include sessions and themes relating to conscription and conscientious objection, especially as antimilitarists in Colombia start to raise the question of ending conscription, in the ‘post-conflict’ context.

In the yearly programme, there are the regular days/week of action – for example, 15 May which will be over by the time the Council meets and which will focus on South Korea this year, the CMoY action week and the prisoners for peace day. Later in the year we also intend to finalise the handbook on constructive nonviolent projects (hopefully), and conduct activities in our Turkey project and a second training on Gender and CMoY, probably in Cyprus.

Programmes & Projects

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