WRI Programme Updates

1..CONCODOC (Conscription and Conscientious Objection Documentation Project.)

A. "Refusing to bear arms"

As you should be aware, the second and final report from the "Refusing to Bear Arms" project of CONCODOC, which sets out the legislation surrounding conscription and conscientious objection, was published in September 1998. All affiliates are entitled to a free copy, plus additional copies at £13 / $21 for their own uses. If you do not have one, please contact Lucia at the office. Please note that sales to other organisations should be at full prices, which are £50 / $80 to legal practices, libraries, funded institutions, or £25 / $40 to CO activists or unfunded peace groups. Sales are the only income this project currently has, so please promote these as much as you can - order form enclosed for you to distribute.

This report is receiving excellent reviews and is proving particularly useful to solicitors representing COs and deserters seeking asylum abroad.(see number 3.). The WRI staff are and Exec are keen to ensure the financial and organisational future of this project as quickly as possible to ensure that 1) the report is not allowed to become out of date, 2) it can be expanded to include other areas of relevance that have been identified through its use in asylum cases and 3) it eventually becomes available on-line. The office is inviting expressions of interest from parties in the field of human rights / refugee law who may wish to co-sponsor a long-term documentation project and it is hoped that at least one meeting will have taken place by Council 99.

B. CO Movements

Within the WRI network there is also interest in documenting the nature and activities of CO movements, and providing.commentary on the activities of those defying or seeking to challenge the law. Such interest could potentially be developed into a second CONCODOC project, and produce a report to complement "Refusing to Bear Arms" providing political interpretation of the facts set out in the first report. A CONCODOC workshop will be held at Council where any proposals for a second documentation project can be discussed and volunteers come forward for a working group to raise funds and set about turning such ideas into reality.

2.Conscientious Objection and Political Asylum

At the WRI office, three volunteer law students / graduates, Pameel Crowther, Shamle Begum and Samina Dita, are providing an information service to the solicitors of CO asylum seekers and deserters. They are supervised by WRI staff, use material and contacts from "Refusing to Bear Arms", and work in collaboration with Bart and Marc, the authors. Some WRI affiliates e.g. MOC (Lyon, France), KEM-MOC (Bilbao, Basque Country), and ARK (Zagreb, Croatia) have sent news that they have been providing practical and political support to deserters from the Kosov@ and Algerian conflicts. Many agencies are turning to WRI for advice and assistance on this issue, and thereis a need to promote, develop and fund this work. Please send reports of your activity in this area to Peace News for a special issue on this theme in December, and for the next Broken Rifle, particularly news from Algeria. If possible, please send in a ready to print format.

3.Prisoners for Peace 1999

Patchwork (Germany) are organising an 80,000 circulation newspaper supplement on Prisoners for Peace, to include the WRI Roll of Honour 1999 and an appeal for donations to support this work. Please contact WRI volunteer Ippy at the office with your lists of current prisoners - it is hoped to include on the list all those who have been in prison at any point in 1999, so please inform the office a) immediately when you know of a prisoner for Peace, and b) who is the regular contact person for your group on Prisoners for Peace issues.

4.Nonviolence and Social Empowerment Programme -

India Conference 2000

Please note that the dates for this conference have changed, the new dates are December 29th 2000 to January 6th 2001. The organising committee for the NVSE conference has met twice in London and its next meeting is on 5th-6th August in Germany just before WRI Council. The organising committee is currently calling for papers and will provide a report in the next issue of the Broken Rifle.

5.Crisis Response

Kosov@

This issue of the Broken Rifle is intended to demonstrate just a sample of the response from the WRI network since NATO bombing began over Kosov@. At the central office, volunteers have helped to redistribute information arriving from around the network about anti-war activities and the situation of deserters, to send out information packs to the press and public, and to organise speakers for meetings and rallies. Howard Clark has written a 26 page document "Post War Peace Building" which can be ordered from the office or downloaded from the website. The May Executive meeting supported WRI providing input to a forum for S.E. European Dialogue - more news when this becomes available.

Indonesia

The WRI Executive Committee, at its May meeting in London, unanimously supported a request from the International Federation for east Timor to make funds from the Joint Emergency Contingency Fund (which holds money from war tax resisters) available as a guarantee to fund human rights observers at the Indonesian elections.

6.Publications

Puerto Rico : Joint publication with IFOR.

Roberta Bacic is writing a chapter on behalf of WRI for this publication and will be making a presentation of her work in Puerto Rico August 26th - 30th.

Peace News

Stephen Hancock and Chris Booth are leaving at the end of August. Council 99 will have a workshop devoted to Peace News to discuss themes for future issues and WRIs input, and it is hoped the new editor/s will attend. The Editorial Board invites greater international participation - please consider coming forward at Council to join the Board.

7.WRI Working Groups

For more details contact the office

Womens Working Group - will be meeting in Germany on 7th August, just before Council.

Turkey / Kurdistan - see next issue

Africa -see next issue

Indonesia / E. Timor - see 5.Crisis Response

Working Group convenors and contributors - please send reports to the WRI Office for inclusion in the next issue

8.Balkan Peace Team

See the Balkan Peace Team/FRY report on this website.