From the office

Webinar video: The case for bottom-up peacebuilding

This webinar, led by Geoff Harris, was the first in a series of webinars by and for the African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network. It took place on the 6 March, 2014. 

This series is open to all, and leading up to the July 2014 international conference: Small Actions, Big Movements: The Continuum of Nonviolence, taking place in Cape Town.

Please note: after Geoff starts speaking (3 minutes in), you may need to turn up your volume because there is a volume difference between when Javier and Geoff are speaking!

Bund für Soziale Verteidigung statement on the situation in Ukraine

We republish in English a statement from Bund für Soziale Verteidigung, a WRI affiliated in Germany. Find the original (in German) here:

On the Situation in Ukraine

Minden, 5. March 2014

We are observing the developments in the Ukraine with great concern; in particular, the ways some media outlets and politicians are currently stirring up a revival of the East-West conflict.

Once more the world is divided into 'good' and 'bad'. The 'good guys are the uprising people of Ukraine, who demonstrated for democracy and association to (and membership of) the European Union. The 'bad guys' are once again 'the Russians', who are trying to stop this process through violence and the threat of military intervention in Ukraine. Neither is wrong, but the picture is much more complex. In fact, many protesters demonstrated on the Maidan because they were fed up with the corruption and arbitrary rule of the government of Yanukovych. They see themselves as only partly represented by the opposition parties – a strong element of the protests of recent weeks was the distrust people felt against all parties and all politicians.

Regional solidarity actions for Cypriot CO Murat Kanatlı

Related peace activists: 

The Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatlı was sentenced to ten days in prison for his refusal to participate in the annual compulsory military exercises in the northern part of Cyprus Februar 25, 2014.

On February 28th, organizations of conscientious objectors from several countries demanded his release on an international action day. See photos below, and video above from an action in Istanbul.

The Egyptian group No to Compolsory Military Service also put out a statement: 'Free Murat Kanatli Now'.

Howard Clark: why I became a pacifist

In these videos, Howard talks about why he became a pacifist and nonviolent struggle around the world. With thanks to mujerpalabra for sharing these videos.

African Groundings: War Resisters International’s African Engagement

The Broken Rifle, No 98, December 2013

A quick and cursory view of the history of War Resisters International (WRI) – an organization responsible for many wonderful small actions but rarely credited for its inspiration of big and effective movements – had hardly any connection to Africa at all. But that initial impression would be incorrect. Though often behind-the-scenes and without fanfare or spotlight, key members of WRI have played significant roles in significant aspects of the continents anti-colonial and anti-war moments over the past 90-plus years since WRI’s 1921 founding. The July 2014 international conference in Cape Town, South Africa is simply the most public – and perhaps the most ambitious – of these endeavors.

Howard Clark

With deep sadness we must announce that last night WRI Chair Howard Clark passed away.

Howard was Chair of WRI since 2006, and earlier worked for many years as Coordinator of WRI in London before moving to live with Yolanda Juarros Barcenilla in Spain.

He is leaving a gap we are still unable to fully grasp. War Resisters' International is losing with him a good friend, a tireless and committed peace worker, a sharp mind and organizer, and his institutional memory reaching back many decades.

Our thoughts are with Yolanda and their two children, Ismael and Violeta, at this tragic time.

Information about memorials and an obituary can be found on this website later.

The WRI Office and Executive
Friday, 29 November 2013


We have created a space for people to add their messages of condolence. Please feel free to go and add your message. You will find it here: and an image gallery You can also read an obituary

War Resisters' International joins the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela

Madiba Nelson Madela with WRI activist Bill Sutherland. Photo: Matt Meyer, 1992Madiba Nelson Madela with WRI activist Bill Sutherland. Photo: Matt Meyer, 1992War Resisters' International joins the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela – a statesman and an activist, a lawyer and a political prisoner, an advocate of direct action and reconciliation. Mandela’s life symbolizes, as few others have ever done, the long road to freedom, peace, and justice which can nevertheless be won (at least in part) through determined commitment and struggle. He lived his convictions, spending 27 years behind bars without wavering from his core convictions, ready still to play a crucial role upon release to ensure a transition away from formal apartheid through compromise and negotiation. That the transition which ended white minority rule took place with a minimum of bloodshed is one of the great victories of modern times, a victory Mandela helped lead by example.

Prisoners for Peace Day 2013

1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned for actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

India: Extractive Industries, State Violence & Struggle for Right to Life

War Profiteers' News, No 40

Anand Mazgaonkar

Most current-day economists' guidebooks and blueprints would have us believe that growth trickles down and that is the way to eradicate poverty. Armed with such rationale, various governments fall over each other to attract investment from corporations, regardless of whether they have to re-order policy priorities, change local laws, defray huge public expenditures to provide infrastructure, or hand out massive subsidies to 'foreign investors'. While 'democratic' governments pretend to be accountable to 'people', i.e., common citizens, they unabashedly only serve the interests corporations. The definition of 'extractive industries' would therefore include not just mining corporations but:

Empowering Nonviolent Action in Africa

Dear Friends,

In South Sudan, the seeds of nonviolence are being sown and cultivated by the Organisation for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD), a War Resisters' International affiliate.

Despite changes of attitudes and behaviour of individuals and groups as a result of ONAD's nonviolence trainings, many people still believe armed struggle can bring the changes they hope to see. In South Sudan, society is highly militarized with some civilians owning weapons. While some have surrendered their guns to the government, disarmament of both minds and hearts are equally necessary if we are to avoid ongoing militarization of society.

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