War Resisters' International: Executive Committee and International Office Report 2004
This has been a year of challenges, changes and looking ahead.
We continue to face financial challenges. Cancellation of our 2003 Council meeting in Columbia was a reflection of our difficult financial situation. We set financial goals for 2004 that allow for no deficits. We cannot continue to draw on our reserves at the rate we have been doing and assure WRI's future. But we are still not raising enough money to assure we can do what we need to do on our income, creating a challenging situation for the Exec.
Regarding changes, Lyn Bliss joined the staff last August as the Finance and Admin Worker. After 6 years at WRI, Roberta Bacic has decided she will leave WRI by the end of the year. Discussions about Constitutional changes have been taking place. Our political crisis is more than a Constitutional one, however. The Exec has developed and sent to Council possible scenarios to consider for WRI to overcome our financial and political crisis. We are asking: "What kind of an organisation do we want WRI to be in 2007?"
Hopefully we are going into a year of transitioning out of these crises. We all have to be involved in this. The staff has done a lot of work this year, but WRI is more than our staff. We all need be committed to strengthening WRI while maintaining our commitment to our principles of nonviolence and antimilitarism. This is not just about finding the best way to raise money. It is also about finding the best way be war resisters.
Ken Simons, our devoted volunteer webmaster, has redesigned the WRI website at http://wri-irg.org. This redesign includes a new layout and better accessibility of webpages, especially through links. It also represents WRI's programme areas more clearly on the introductory page.
The Right to Refuse to Kill
The Right to Refuse to Kill project is now in its third year, and the present funding will expire at the end of April 2005.
Prisoners for Peace Day 2003 focused on South Korea. This was in follow-up to an international conference on conscientious objection, which took place in Seoul in Korea in March 2003 (see Report 2003). As in 2002, the Prisoners for Peace issue of The Broken Rifle was printed as an insert with Peace News, and in the USA with Nonviolent Activist. The German version was printed as an insert with ZivilCourage, the magazine of the German WRI section DFG-VK. Also Union Pacifiste inserted the French version in their magazine.
WRI worked closely with Korea Solidarity for Conscientious Objection and the new WRI affiliate 전쟁 저항자 인터내셔널 코리아 (WRI Korea) on Prisoners for Peace Day 2004. Yongwook Yeong from Korea worked as an intern in the WRI office from September to December 2003; his main task was work on Prisoners for Peace. For the first time, The Broken Rifle was also published in Korean.
International Conscientious Objectors' Day 2004
focuses on Chile and Latin America. At the time of writing, preparations for the international training and action are under way. It is planned that WRI programme staff Andreas Speck will participate in the training and action in Santiago in Chile, which are being planned in close cooperation with MOC Ni Casco Ni Uniforme, WRI's Chilean section. The Broken Rifle No 61, focussing on CO in Chile and Latin America, was published at the end of April 2004.
Other International CO Day activities are being planned in Britain, Colombia, Germany, Korea, Turkey, and the USA.
The WRI office continued to work on the situation in Israel, which remains the main focus on WRI's co-alert email list. In February 2004, the WRI Office released a report on the court martials of "the five" and of Jonathan Ben-Artzi  .
In follow-up of Prisoners for Peace 2002, WRI visited Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in July and August 2003, with a brief visit to Moscow in Russia too. The purpose of the visit was to identify potential partners for a WRI project on conscientious objection and antimilitarism in the region. However, the situation in the region is quite complex, and it is difficult to see a specific role for WRI to play. Articles on this visit have been published in Peace News and Graswurzelrevolution. After the "velvet revolution" in Georgia in November 2003 , Andreas Speck visited Georgia again to do a training on the Movement Action Plan with WRI Georgia.
In July 2003, War Resisters' International released a special report on The Right to Conscientious Objection in Selected Member States of the OSCE . In September, a special report on The Russian Federation: Human Rights and the Armed Forces was released . Both reports were only possible because of the help of WRI intern Kasper Jon Larsen. In February 2004, WRI participated in a joint EBCO/WRI delegation to Greece, to observe a trial of conscientious objection Lazaros Petromelidis. A joint EBCO/WRI declaration  was released prior to the trial, and a statement of the delegation  was sent from Thessaloniki on the day of the trial.
In 2004, War Resisters' International was awarded the Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze award of the Germany based Protestant Working Group for Conscientious Objection (EAK) for its work on conscientious objection. The award ceremony will take place in Speyer, Germany, in September 2004.
Dealing with the Past
2003 was an intensive year of activities for the Dealing with the Past programme with wide travel involved. WRI received numerous requests from affiliate groups, other organisations, NGOs, universities and peace groups for input and assistance in the field. The programme is staffed by Roberta Bacic.
Initiatives that were undertaken and developed
- Dealing with the Past had decided to develop a pilot project to be tried out in two countries, Croatia and Sri Lanka as two WRI Council members were from those countries and could make the necessary local links.
In March 2003 we had made our first exploratory trip to this country and did work in Colombo and Batticaloa (see report 2003). We had undertaken the responsibility of following up, which included the plan for a return trip to Sri Lanka. We did this at the end of January 2004. Rajan Iruthaynathan, a fellow at Saint Ethelburga's who belongs to a local network in Batticaloa and who at present is doing his MA in London linked us with local groups and organised the second activity locally and at the level of grassroots. He went shortly before the workshop and attended it at all times. He also acted as translator. With a grant of £500 given by Lansbury House Trust Fund, by personal efforts and individual connections and donations, we managed to raise the required amount for the full programme in Sri Lanka. A complete report on this trip is available on our website  and a shorter version is in The Broken Rifle No 60, Dealing with the Past. We facilitated a program with 20 village war widow women who took photos of themselves and through that they started telling their own stories. A photo album containing 300 hundred of their photos is also available at the office. It is enough material to prepare an exhibition on their dealing with the past. The pilot programme should be able to continue through local partners and animated by Rajan. In March, a funding proposal was submitted to FLICT in Colombo for the next activity, which should be in July 2004.
Here the pilot programme did not develop. We did manage to plan some activities but they never took shape. Vesna Terselic (Council member from Croatia who was the contact person for this pilot programme) got involved in other initiatives connected to the topic. The Croatians are concerned with archiving war testimonies and historical accounts.
- A working team. The group could not keep going, due to differences of approaches plus heavy commitments to other activities by most of those originally involved.
- Chile Exhibition
In the context of the 30 years since General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Doctor Salvador Allende in Chile, a photographic exhibition was put together in an effort to share the process of dealing with the past alongside relatives of the disappeared and those executed for political reasons. We called it "Memory and Memorials from Chile: 30 years since the military coup". It is presented on the web in the three languages of Spanish, English and German . The exhibition was launched at St Ethelburga's in London in June 2003, continued in Belfast, Nuremberg, Austria (Stadtchlaining), Cambridge and again in London. The final showing was in Dublin in Glencree (Centre for Reconciliation), to end May 30th 2004 .
- Seminars, conferences, workshops, lectures and articles
A detailed list information on what has been done can be found on our website  or contact Roberta Bacic at the WRI office.
The expenses for the Dealing with the Past programme were covered by donations, appeals and payments for Roberta's lectures or presentations. Travel expenses were all covered by the groups, institutions or universities that invited Roberta. We had hoped that we could also raise more funds to cover part of Roberta's salary, but this was not realized. Long-term funders require a long process of working together and to relate to their approaches and established procedures. We have initiated this kind of relationship with CAFOD - Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, also with Christian Aid. Both of these should be followed up if Dealing With the Past work in Sri Lanka is to continue.
Alberto Estefania from the Basque Country finished his almost 1 year internship with WRI in October 2003. Katarina Putnik, a student from Serbia doing her MA at the University in Stadtschlaining, was an internee in the office for six weeks between January and February of this year. See her report on the web  and her article, "Dealing with the Past in Serbia", in The Broken Rifle No 60.
Nonviolence and Social Empowerment
The WRI Women's Working Group is co-organising "Asking the Right Questions: Nonviolence Training and Gender, an International Women's Consultation of Trainers" with the Women Peacemaker Programme of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). The consultation will take place in Chang Mai, Thailand, October 3-8, 2004.
International Organisational Matters
Last year Council meeting, planned to be in Medellin, Colombia, was cancelled due to lack of secured funding. The Red Juvenil went ahead with the international seminar, "Active Nonviolence and Resistance to War".
The conference successfully gathered around 80 participants, mostly from all over Colombia, many young people, representing groups who are daily faced with the threat from the guerrilla, paramilitary and the government's army. Ellen Elster and Vivien Sharples represented WRI Council.
Three Executive Committee meetings have taken place this past year - 6 -7 September, 12-13 December, and 12 - 13 March. Exec will meet 18-19 June prior to Council. On 28th of April we had our first real-time web based Exec chat, primarily to prepare council. The Exec accepted the resignation of Siva Ramamoorthy with regret. Siva will continue to work with us as a Council member.
The year 2003 ended with a shortage of £30,816.72, which was mainly covered by taking £32,000 from our reserves. This was £7,000 more than was budgeted, but necessary to cover the deficits of 2002. The Executive Committee decided during the year to use up two funds that had been allocated, but not been used for several years. With this extra "income" the year ended with a positive result of £8,197.82.
The general income in 2003, a total of £37,112.26, exceeded the budget.
The Right to Refuse to Kill (RRK) programme received 34,150.96. Besides the main grant from Joseph Rowntrees Charitable Trust (£25,000), a total of £9,150,96 was received specific projects. For the Dealing with the Past (DwtP) programme £2,280.93 was received as grants and donations. For the seminar in Colombia WRI fundraised a total of £9,011.38 of which 2,200 was for costs made by WRI, which were booked under general income, and the remainder (£6,811.38) was reserved for the seminar.
The overhead expenses in 2003 totalled £49,462.61.
Outreach (publications) amounted to £4,684.08 in 2003. This comprises £3,228.75 for Peace News and £1,455.33 for The Broken Rifle.
The costs of the RRK programme were £29,404.76, and were fully covered by fundraising.
In 2003 salary costs were allocated to the DwtP programme, giving a better picture of the costs of this programme. Excluding the salary costs the programme costs were £2,814.90, which for the most part was covered by fundraising.
The 2003 council meeting in Colombia was cancelled. To the seminar in Colombia, organised by Red Juvenil, WRI contributed £5,969.06. Because more funds were raised then necessary, WRI Exec decided that the remainder (£842.32) were to be reserved for travel for Colombian participants to the 2004 Council meeting.
In 2003 there were still £5,559.89 costs of the Triennial 2002 to be paid.
(all amounts in £ (GBP))
|Financial agents balances||4.877,20||4.911,83||11.013,28|
|Current accounts & cash||3.151,74||3.393,51||3.807,17|
|Other current assets||1.891,40||1.781,30||1.781,30|
|Right to Refuse to Kill||6.250||30.000||34.150,96||31.000||26.483,25||25.000||19.428,78|
|Dealing with the past||0||10.000||2.380,93||3.000||512,29||0||0,00|
|Right to Refuse to Kill||5.000||27.000||29.404,76||27.000||25.071,54||20.000||15.022,56|
|Dealing with the past||0||10.000||12.170,76||3.400||1.183,07||3.000||106,18|
|taken from WRI Reserves||12.000||18.000||32.000,00||25.000||49.500,00||25.000||25.000,00|
|taken from WRI funds|
 War Resisters' International: Conscience on Trial, February 2004, http://wri-irg.org/news/2004/israel0204-en.htm
 Andreas Speck: Impressions from a journey through the Caucasus, Peace News No 2452, September-November 2003, http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2452/245209.html
 Andreas Speck: Weder Krieg noch Frieden. Eindrücke einer Reise in den Kaukasus.Graswurzelrevolution No 283, November 2003, http://www.graswurzel.net/283/kaukasus.shtml
 See Andreas Speck: Samtene Revolution in Georgien? Graswurzelrevolution No 285, January 2004, http://www.graswurzel.net/285/georgien.shtml an English version (A velvet revolution in Georgia?) is available at http://wri-irg.org/news/2003/georgia-gwr-en.htm
 see http://wri-irg.org/news/2004/batticaloa.htm
 see http://wri-irg.org/photo/index-en.htm for English.