On Thursday 17th January, War Resisters' International, paid war taxes that had been withheld for five years, under protest to HM Revenue and Customs. Since 2007, WRI has been withholding a proportion of PAYE as a form of protest against Britain's military policies. In 2011, the UK's military spending was £39 billion. This has risen almost 20% since 2002 1. This puts the UK fourth in a country list of military expenditure – above Saudi Arabia, France, Germany and Brazil. Check photos of the action at: http://wri-irg.org/node/21061
In violation of international law, since the evening of 10 January, French troops based in Chad or Burkina landed on the runway of Sevare with eight big carrier planes. Union Pacifiste, French section of War Resisters International, recall with vigor that war is never the solution, bringing more and more corpses, mutilations and rapes. Peace can only be realised with acts of demilitarisation and by unilateral disarmament (the only way to provide the iron will to end with all wars, injustices and barbarities they produce).
WRI is working with FilmPro on their upcoming project - an installation on conscientious objection in Turkey and elsewhere. A four-channel film will follow the stories of four individuals - a doctor, and three subjects under assessment at a military hospital. Their characters and stories emerge through the imposed neighbourliness of the hospital setting.
An Istanbul court has sentenced sociologist Pınar Selek to life imprisonment for her alleged involvement in the 1998 Spice Bazaar explosion. There is no evidence against her - the case is part of continuing persecution of anti-militarists in Turkey. In the past 15 years Pinar has been tortured, and the case reopened three times. The court issued an arrest warrant for Pinar, who is currently living in Strasbourg. WRI have supported Pinar Selek for many years - see our statement from 2011.
In 2011, global military spending surged to US $1.74 trillion. Given the numerous crises facing the planet — economic, environmental, health, diplomatic — it is imperative that we create a global movement to shift this money to human needs. WRI is supporting a Global Day of Action on Military Spending each year in April to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) annual figures on world military expenditures.