"Social Militarisation in Latin America: experiences of resistance to the New World Order"
and International nonviolent action training
International Conscientious Objectors' Day, 15 May 2004: Focus on Chile and Latin America
Since the 1980s, 15 May is celebrated as International Conscientious Objectors’ Day. Originally coordinated by the International Conscientious Objectors’ Meeting (ICOM), War Resisters’ International stepped in to coordinate and promote International Conscientious Objectors’ Day since ICOM ceased to meet ever since ICOM 1995 in Chad. As part of WRI’s programme on The Right to Refuse to Kill, War Resisters’ International aims to establish a tradition of international nonviolent direct action on 15 May in support of a certain CO struggle, accompanied by decentral activities all over the world. In 2002, WRI organised an international nonviolent direct action at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, in support of CO movements on the Balkans. In 2003, WRI and New Profile jointly organised an international training in Tel Aviv, Israel.
This year, War Resisters' International and WRI's Chilean section Ni Casco Ni Uniforme joined forces to organise for International Conscientious Objectors' Day in Chile. Chile was chosen in follow-up to the WRI/Red Juvenil seminar in Colombia in August 2003, to draw more attention to the situation of conscientious objectors in Latin America, and the social militarisation in the Latin American countries.
Linked to the seminar and training, there will be a meeting of the Latin American CO Coordination (Coordinadora LatinoAmericana de Objecion de Conciencia – CLAOC).
The activities aim at:
- Strengthening the network of conscientious objectors' organisations and strengthening international support for these groups (Ni Casco Ni Uniforme in Chile, and groups that are part of CLAOC).
- Raising international awareness for the treatment of COs in Chile and Latin America
- Linking the issue of conscientious objection to social militarisation in Latin America and nonviolent resistance to social militarisation.
- Exchange of experience in nonviolent direct action among groups from Latin America and abroad, especially on issues of conscientious objection. This includes the sharing of training experience and training skills.
- Strengthening international networking of conscientious objectors through joint training and action.
The activities around 15 May 2004 do not stand alone. They can build on ongoing support of Chilean and Latin American conscientious objectors by War Resisters’ International and other groups, and they will form part of an international campaign, culminating on 15 May 2004.
In this campaign, WRI will:
- Provide background information on the situation of conscientious objectors in Chile and Latin America. This information can be used all over the world;
- Produce a special issue of The Broken Rifle (published in English, Spanish, French, and German), for use as campaigning material (available through WRI’s website and as paper copy);
- Coordinate decentral activities all over the world on 15 May 2004, in support of conscientious objectors from Chile and Latin America;
- Organise an international nonviolent training week and an international nonviolent direct action in Chile on 15 May 2004, in cooperation with Ni Casco Ni Uniforme;
- Facilitate links with Chilean and other Latin American organisations supporting conscientious objectors, and working against militarisation.
The international coordination for this campaign will be done from the War Resisters' International office in London. The WRI office will coordinate the production of the campaign material, and promote the activities world-wide. Ni Casco Ni Uniforme is responsible for the planning in Chile, and contact with other groups from Latin America.
The activities in Chile focus on three aspects:
- A meeting of the Latin American Coordination for Conscientious Objection (CLAOC) on 8/9 May 2004;
- An international seminar “Social Militarisation in Latin America: Experiences of Resistance to the New World Order” at the Universidad Bolivariana in Santiago, Chile, on 10/11 May 2004. A draft programme is included as Appendix I;
- An international nonviolent action training with up to 40 participants, at a venue close to Santiago;
The week will close with an international nonviolent action, planned by the participants, on International Conscientious Objectors' Day -- 15 May -- in Santiago.
1 Rudi Friedrich: History of Conscientious Objectors’ Day, Broken Rifle No 55, May 2002, page 8 (http://wri-irg.org/pubs/br55-en.htm#art5)
4http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2451/245108.html, see also The Broken Rifle No 58, May 2003, http://wri-irg.org/pubs/br58-en.htm