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War Resisters' International's activities for the World Social Forum in Kenya

War Resisters' International has been engaged with different Social Forums for several years. WRI was present at the European Social Forum in London in 2004 and Athens in 2006, at the Mediterranean Social Forum in 2005, and at the World Social Forum in Caracas in 2006 (although then more at the Alternative Social Forum).

War Resisters' International's conference "Globalising Nonviolence", which took place in Germany in July 2006, also discussed the need to strengthen WRI's involvement and presence at different Social Forums. The plans for the World Social Forum in Kenya in January 2007 are one outcome of this conference.

WRI's focus: Nonviolence and antimilitarism at the World Social Forum

In keeping with WRI's experience, War Resisters' International's focus at the World Social Forum will be on nonviolence and antimilitarism. At the present stage of planning, WRI aims to organise four major events at the WSF in Kenya. Resource persons for these major events will then also be able to conduct a series of workshops in addition to their presentation at the major events. The following events are being prepared:

The European Union and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Coordinator: Tobias Pflüger, MEP and WRI Council member

This seminar will look at the interests and the policy of the European Union in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been on the receiving end of more EU military operations than any other country – including the present EU mission in the country. Speakers will hopefully include activists from within the DRC.

Eritrea: human rights and antimilitarism

Coordinator: Abraham Gebreyesus-Mehreteab, Eritrean Antimilitarism Initiative

The seminar aims to highlight the situation regarding human rights within Eritrea, especially also regarding the situation of youth (male and female) who face conscription and a potentially unlimited military service. Many desert and flee the country, facing persecution in Eritrea or deportation from abroad. Persecution is extended to relatives of draft evaders/deserters.
The seminar is also aimed at networking among Eritrean groups in exile, and reaching out to groups in neighbouring country, to build a support network for people from Eritrea.

African Perspectives on Nonviolence

Coordinators: Matt Meyer, War Resisters League USA, Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International

Nonviolence has a long history in Africa. In view of the present image of Africa as being a country of violence and hunger, it is important to make the history of African nonviolence visible again. Nonviolence can also provide inspiration to activists in countries which presently face violent conflicts.
The seminar is aimed at raising the profile of nonviolence in Africa, and to connect African and international nonviolent activists.

Against All Militarism

Coordinator: Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International Conscientious Objection Campaigning Worker

This seminar is a response to the increased support for "leftist militarism" and so-called "progressive governments" within the World Social Forum process. This was visible at the World Social Forum in Caracas, and is also reflected in the "Bamako Appeal"1.
The aim of the seminar is to present and antimilitarist critique, and to highlight the importance of an antimilitarist perspective within social movements in general, and the World Social Forum process in particular.

Workshops and other activities

In addition to these major activities, War Resisters' International will organise a range of workshops, on topics related to nonviolence and antimilitarism.

Networking Against War Profiteers

A workshop for people who are campaigning (or interested in campaigning) against war profiteers. The aim of the workshop is to strengthen international networking.

Nonviolence Training

A brief practical introduction to nonviolence and nonviolent action

Conscientious objection

A workshop on conscientious objection to military service, its relevance, and the situation in different countries. Also aimed at networking. With conscientious objectors from different countries.

Globalising Nonviolence

A workshop aimed at networking among anti-globalisation and peace activists

Take part in the World Social Forum

NairobiNairobi

The main venue for the World Social Forum 2007 will be the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani - about 10 km. north east of the Central Business District of Nairobi. Opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi.

The organising committee of the World Social Forum advises everyone to register as soon as possible on their website. 

Important information: The deadline for activity registrations is now December 13th 2006.

If you want to get involved in WRI's activities around the World Social Forum, then you should first register officially with the Forum's website, and then on the website ask to join War Resisters' International. We are looking forward to meeting you in Nairobi soon.