Canada

In May and June 2017, activists in Canada, Israel and France have taken nonviolent direct action against arms fairs. In Ottawa, Canada, 40 activists blockaded the entrance to the CANSEC fair for over an hour. CANSEC is an annual two day event hosting 800 companies from across the arms industries, and attended by 12,000 people. As well as exhibits of weapons and other equipment, attendees were given the opportunity to hear presentations from government ministers and attend evening receptions sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

Nick Buxton

For anyone concerned with militarism, news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels brought a familiar sense of dread. We ache as we hear the stories of more innocent lives lost, and we feel foreboding from the knowledge that the bombings will predictably fuel new cycles of violence and horror in targeted communities at home or abroad. It creates the binary world that neocons and terrorists seek: an era of permanent war in which all our attention and resources are absorbed – and the real crises of poverty, inequality, unemployment, social alienation and climate crisis ignored.

Four days after the assassination of Berta Cáceres, a human rights and environmental activist from Honduras, activists in Canada entered the world's largest mining convention taking place in Canada, to protest extractivist projects that lead to militarisation, violence and human rights absuses. The group named some of those killed because of their activism against large-scale mining projects before being escorted from the event by police.

Tahoe Resources is a Canadian mining company. In mid-2010, Tahoe acquired the Escobal mine in southeast Guatemala from Goldcorp; Escobal is a 'high grade silver' mine, and also contains gold, lead and zinc. Some analysts believe it to be one of the biggest silver mines in the world. The Escobal mine is approximately 40km southeast of Guatemala City, and 3km from San Rafael los Flores.

The United Nations has released a damning report into the operations of Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources in Eritrea, which accuses the company of using conscripted labour at it's Bisha Mine in the country. Nevsun estimated that the mine held over a billion pounds of copper and 2.7 billion pounds of zinc.

The first ever international week of action for military-free education and research was held between 25-31 October 2014. This follows on from a day of action last year. Antimilitarists across the world took action to raise awareness, and challenge, the role the military has in education and research in educational institutions. This role gives them access to young people - to lay the groundwork for recruitment later in life, and to promote military values.

Different groups used the week of action in different ways. Some challenged military presence in schools through direct action, some publicly debated the presence of the military in education, others showed films, wrote articles, and campaigned on social media.

The Canadaian War Resisters' Support Campaign held a week of action from January 12 to 19th, asking Canadians across the country to send a message that U.S. war resisters are welcome in Canada, and that the Canadian government must stop the deportations and enact a provision to let them stay.

For 'Let Them Stay Week 2014', activists joined in on social media, by writing to local papers, lobbying the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and promoting public meetings and debates.

Editorial

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Turkey continues to dominate this issue of co-update, after we already opened the last issue with a long report on Turkey. However, the good news from the last issue cannot be repeated. This time we have to report that torture and abuse of a conscientious objector in a Turkish military prison does not necessarily lead to prosecution - or if it does, then to the prosecution of the victim.

In recent weeks several US war resisters who have sought refuse in Canada have been ordered to leave the country. U.S. Iraq war resister Jeremy Hinzman was told on 16 August that his family's application to stay in Canada has been rejected. Hinzman was told that he does not qualify under Canada's Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) program following a review by a Citizenship and Immigration department officer.

With the number of Canadian soldiers going AWOL increasing, and the Canadian military playing an increasingly aggressive role in Afghanistan and Haiti, the Canadian military too seems to have problems recruiting new soldiers. According to the "London Free Press", "[t]he number of Canadian soldiers who have gone absent without leave has doubled in the last six years... Records obtained through access to information show 708 troops were convicted of going AWOL in 2005 - more than twice the 340 convicted of the offence in 2000.

Women in the Military

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The WRI Women's Working Group has had a long standing interest in women's militarization, including the role of women in militaries. This last issue can be a problematic one for feminist pacifists. Pacifists have no interest in encouraging women to join the military; rather, they support anti-militarist work that keep both women and men out of the armed forces. Conservative forces that support a restricted and traditional view of women's place also strongly oppose women in the military.

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