Office and Executive Report - January 2010 - May 2011
This report has been prepared by the staff and the Executive Committee, covering the period January 2010 to May 2011. Items for discussion at the Council meeting will be especially highlighted.
deaths mark the introduction to this report. The first - the
brutal assassination of Chidi Nwosu, president of the Human Rights,
Justice and Peace Foundation WRI's Nigerian affiliate - as a
message calculated to intimidate all those who struggle against
corruption. At times like this, international solidarity can be
vital - as a source of support for those who carry on, and as a
pressure on those responsible for investigating such crimes.
Unfortunately, we have had no further news of the Human Rights,
Justice and Peace Foundation since this crime.
second death was expected. Devi Prasad, whose health prevented him
attending last year's WRI conference in Ahmedabad, died on 1 June
2011, aged 89. Devi's historic contribution - to deepening WRI's
discussions on nonviolence, to widening the organisation's
geographical horizons - began in the Triennial conference in
Gandhi, continued through his ten years as Joint Secretary/General
Secretary, and carried on subsequently, especially in promoting the
1985-86 Triennial in Vedchhi and in his history of WRI from 1921 to
1974 - War is a crime against humanity: the story of the War
(published in 2005). If in some ways it seems a weakness that one
person can have been so central and had such an influence on the
organisation, in other ways it is a strength that WRI was, is and
remains open to the participation of people with very different
talents who have a commitment to nonviolence and anti-militarism.
year has seen predominantly nonviolent challenges to longstanding
regimes and a further expansion of military intervention. It has
seen youth-led movements arising to challenge governments who say
the "global economic crisis" forces them to cut
spending on human needs, while continuing to give priority to
military spending. WRI and its network has much to offer in these
circumstance, not least a perspective that goes beyond short-term
and superficial transitions to promote deeper social protests based
on participation and on deeply held nonviolent values.
report concentrates largely on solid work that WRI has done.
Beneath the surface, however, remains the vision - that WRI is a
network of mutual support, for those who resist war and promote
nonviolent action, for those who recognise that the structures and
attitudes of political, social and economic power do not need just
reform but a fundamental nonviolent transformation.
2. Staffed programme
2.1 Right to Refuse to Kill (RRTK) programme
2.1.1. RRTK core work
programme receives core funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable
Trust (JRCT), which has now been extended until 30 April 2014. This
RRtK staff salary
annually for travel in relation to the RRtK programme
annually for an RRtK internship of three months
overhead for the central office plus, with this grant, money for
the RRtK programme committee to meet
money for work on counter-recruitment
for the web publication of an updated report on how COs can use the
international human rights system (see 2. below)
e-newsletter CO-Update continues to be published as needed - 12
issues since January 2010 - and to be translated into Spanish. It
is a valuable point of reference as it includes regular updates on
changes in CO or recruitment laws.
co-alert system (http://wri-irg.org/programmes/co_alerts)
continues to support conscientious objectors at risk of arrest, or
already arrested. In addition, the WRI office contacts the
authorities of the country concerned and relevant UN bodies. In June
2010, Andreas went to Colombia to participate in two conferences on
the right to conscientious objection in Bogota and Barrancabermeja
(see his presentation at http://wri-irg.org/node/10569).
The conference followed up on a decision of the Constitutional Court
of Colombia from October 2009, recognising the right to
the important case of Bayatyan
before the European Court of Human Rights, WRI, together with Rachel
and Derek Brett, submitted a joint third party intervention in July
2010 (see http://wri-irg.org/node/10689).
The Court held a public hearing in the case on 24 November 2010. We
expect the judgement of the Grand Chamber some time in summer 2011.
judgement will have huge implications - at best, in effect
recognising the right to conscientious objection under the European
Convention on Human Rights (and by extension pressuring the
Inter-American human rights system would to reconsider its latest
ruling (the bad decision in the case of CristiÃ¡n
Daniel Sahli Vera et al. Chile
- see http://wri-irg.org/node/10698).
At worst, however, the UN Human Rights Committee would become
isolated among international human rights tribunals dealing with CO.
WRI has had initial discussions with the Quaker United Nations
Office Geneva, Conscience and Peace Tax International, Amnesty
International, the International Commission of Jurists and the
European Bureau on Conscientious Objection (EBCO)to prepare a quick
and coordinated response if there is a negative ruling. There is no
indication which way the judgement may go.
22.214.171.124.3 International Day on Conscientious Objection (15 May)
May 2010, International CO Day was organised jointly with the Comuna
de Chana, Emma, y todas las demas in
AsunciÃ³n, Paraguay. The main theme chosen for of the meeting was
gender and militarism, and a seminar linked to this took place at
the beginning of the events. This was followed by a training in
nonviolent direct action, which included gender issues, but was not
entirely focused on these.
published a special issue of The
on gender and militarism prior to the events (see
126.96.36.199.4 Prisoners for Peace
time has been taken up with updating the permanent Prisoners
for Peace list in November, in time for
Prisoners for Peace Day
on 1 December. A printed version of the list was sent out with the
November appeal letter.
Prisoners for Peace Day is no longer a major event in the WRI
calendar (last year, not even the appeal letter focused on Prisoners
for Peace), the list was mainly an update from publicly available
sources, such as NukeResister in the USA, the Jehovah's Witnesses
website (Armenian COs), and some activist email lists. Rather than
being a listing, this was more a reminder that people still go to
prison for peace action and conscientious objection, and it is clear
that it is far from being a complete list.
problem is that the list is heavily dominated by Jehovah's Witnesses
(conscientious objectors in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Eritrea,
Turkmenistan), and this is without even trying to include the
hundreds of South Korean JWs who are COs. This helps to reinforce
the wrong perception that CO is basically a religious issue.
October 2010, Andreas Speck participated in the
organised by WRI's German section DFG-VK together with the Werkstatt
fuer Gewaltfreie Aktion Baden (Workshop for
Nonviolent Action Baden - WfGA). Part of this action academy was a
workshop on the (German) military in schools, which allowed Andreas
to link with some German counter-recruitment activists and
activities, and get a better idea what is happening on this issue in
the E-Council discussion in relation to the Right to Refuse to Kill
programme focused on counter-recruitment. This involved Michael
Schulze von Glasser,
a German counter-recruitment activist who recently published a book
der Heimatfront. Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit und Nachwuchswerbung der
(At the home front: Public relations and recruitment of the Germany
He subsequently also contributed an article to The
continues cooperating with the European
Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO)
and attended their October 2010 meeting in Brussels.
9 February 2011, Cynthia Cockburn represented WRI at the trial
against Turkish feminist antimilitarist Pinar Selek, who has been on
trial for more than 10 years on fabricated charges (see
25 May 2011, Andreas participated in a hearing on Conscientious
Objection in Europe in the European Parliament, organised by Greek
MEP Michalis Tremopoulos, himself a CO activist in the 1980s now in
the Greens/European Free Alliance (see
RRTK programme had three internships in the 2009-2011 period:
from South Korea (January-March 2009). Myungjin has been sentenced
to 18 months' imprisonment in April 2011, and started his prison
sentence on 11 April 2011 (see http://wri-irg.org/node/11891)
from Israel (February-May 2010).
Ramos from Colombia (June-October 2010).
contribution of these interns has varied, but having interns can
help improve networking and also spread understanding of how WRI
2.1.2 A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the
International Human Rights System (Emily Miles update)
2009 the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust made an additional Â£10,000
grant for WRI to update and extend Emily Miles's report "A
Conscientious Objectors' Guide to the UN Human Rights System" (see
The project also involves the Quaker UN Office in Geneva (Rachel
Brett), Conscience and Peace Tax International (Derek Brett),
and the CCPR Centre (Peggy Brett and Patrick Mutzenberg).
However, this initial funding was not sufficient for the web
publication of the updated guide, but additional funding is now
included in the 2011-2014 grant from JRCT.
updated web publication should be completed late in 2011 and
launched publicly in Geneva in March 2012.
2.1.3 RRtK 2011-2014
general application to Rowntree's emphasised our need for
flexibility in responding to developments (such as the appearance of
a CO in Egypt). However, certain concrete items need discussion at
188.8.131.52 Counter-recruitment work
Rowntree application emphasised what Europe could learn from US
experience on counter-recruitment, pointed to some activities and
Europe, and suggested some steps to develop the work:
European conference/seminar on military recruitment and
counter-recruitment, to be held in 2012
European speaking tour of US counter-recruitment organisers
publication on military recruitment and counter-recruitment in
questions we might want to discuss are:
and focus of WRI work on counter-recruitment. While it might be
European focus for the time being, how do we avoid too much
Eurocentricity in the work?
for conference: Germany or UK / additional fundraising
what kind of publication? Before or after the conference/seminar?
How should it be linked to the conference/seminar?
will prepare a presentation for the session at Council.
184.108.40.206 Emergency response Egypt
autumn 2010 WRI was contacted by Maikel Nabil Sanad from
Egypt who was about to refuse military service. WRI acted quickly
when he was arrested briefly in November 2010 and again when he was
arrested briefly in February 2011 during the revolution.
Maikel Nabil Sanad was again arrested on 28 March, WRI was among the
first organisations to react, and Andreas went to Cairo to meet with
his supporters, trying (unsuccessfully) to attend the court
hearings. WRI also edited and translated quite a bit of the
material by and about Maikel (see http://wri-irg.org/node/11403),
and is launching a campaign for his release. We also submitted his
case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
May 2011, Andreas Speck and Igor Seke travelled to
Egypt for a workshop on conscientious objection and nonviolence.
This workshop was originally planned with Maikel, but during
Andreas' visit in April it was decided to go ahead with it
has again been secured for a further three years - until April
book Women Conscientious Objectors - an Anthology has
finally been published in English, and is forthcoming in Spanish.
has been able to reach out to some groups/organisations working on
counter-recruitment, and has secured funding to strengthen this
Right to Refuse to Kill programme Committee (RRtKCom) that
has been formed in Ahmedabad is not yet functioning. Initial
attempts using online chat have not been satisfactory, and a
face-to-face meeting of the committee will take place in Stockholm
just before the Council meeting. The members of this committee are:
Adriana Castano (Red Juvenil, Colombia), Rachel Brett
(Quaker United Nations Office Geneva), Sergeiy Sandler
(WRI Exec/New Profile, Israel), Boro Kitanoski (WRI
Council/Peace Action, Macedonia), Oskar Castro (WRL, USA)
development of counter-recruitment work is still a huge challenge.
2.2 Nonviolence Programme
Staff: Javier GÃ¡rate
Nonviolence Programme has two main areas: Providing nonviolence
resources for nonviolent action and the initiative against war
profiteers. The third area of the programme - Nonviolence for Change
- now falls within various areas of the general work of WRI.
Nonviolence Programme was heavily involved in organising the India
International Conference in January 2010, as most of the themes fell
within the programme scope. The Conference re-established
connections as well as bringing in new contacts for the programme.
2.2.1. Resources for nonviolent action
Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns came
out in English in February 2009, and now a further 1,500 copies have
The handbook has been translated into many languages, mostly the
initiative not coming from the office, which show the positive
reaction to the book. At the time of writing this report, the
handbook has been published in English, Indonesian and Spanish.
There are translations finished or about to be in Arabic, Nepali,
Tigrinya, Turkish, French, Korean, Russian and Serbian. Some of the
translations are already available on the web:
has teamed up with Vredesactie (Belgium), Kristna
Fredsrorelsen/SweFOR (Sweden) and Bewegungsakademie (Germany) to
make a grant application to the Grundtvig Programme of the EU. The
grant is for a 3 years project under the title: "Active
Strengthening of Civil Society through Education and
Democratization" (ASCEND). The project will work analysing
existing and coming up with new resources on nonviolence training in
development of campaign strategies and group dynamics. This will be
done by forming training circles in each country and a series of
international meetings of trainers. The follow up of the project
will be a series of training for trainers. We expect an answer from
Grundtvig by the month of June, but there are already plans to start
looking for alternative funding in case the application is not
successful. If the project goes ahead, this will be the main
priority of this area of work of the Nonviolence Programme.
the last year there have been several training workshops in
nonviolent action given at events of the European Antimilitarist
Network. As we write this report a WRI delegation is about to travel
to Venezuela for two weeks of activities, the main one being a
training workshop with Venezuelan social movements. The programme in
Venezuela is hosted by PROVEA and El Libertario.
the past year staff person Javier Garate, attended the Fletcher
Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict,
invited by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)
organised by the Fletcher School and the ICNC, which took place in
Boston, USA. Several other members of WRI have active collaboration
with ICNC. Javier also attended a weekend retreat on Direct
Education hosted by Turning the Tide in St Albans, UK.
2.2.2 Initiative Against War Profiteers
The main work
of the initiative against war profiteers, is producing the
bi-monthly newsletter War Profiteers' News
(http://wri-irg.org/publications/war_profiteers), which is now in
its 28th issue. The newsletter highlights the work done
by groups against war profiteering, many times commissioning
articles from a range of groups in terms of their focus and also
their origin. One highlight has been the activities by the Weapon
Zero Team in South Korea, which was inspired by participation in a
WRI event. The newsletter is produced in English and Spanish.
attended in 2010 the Annual Meeting of the European Network Against
Arms Trade (ENAAT), hosted by the Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade
in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There is a good collaboration between
WRI and ENAAT, with a number of members of ENAAT contributing to War
Profiteers' News and Wendela de Vries of the Dutch Campaign Against
Arms Trade represented ENAAT at WRI's International Conference in
India. From this collaboration came the plan to organise an
International Seminar under the title: War Profiteering and Peace
Movement Responses to be held in Barcelona, 29 Sep - 2 Oct 2011.
The seminar aims at bringing together campaigners against war
profiteering from all over the world to learn from each others
experiences and explore the potential for forming an international
network against war profiteering.
seminar War Starts Here to take place in Lulea in
July 2011 will have the issue of war profiteering as one of the main
themes of the seminar.
fundraising for the India Conference was a big success helped to
finance the Nonviolence Programme. The existing Grundtvig Project - Europe for Peace - also helps support the work of the programme,
and the pending ASCEND Grundtvig grant application would cover most
of the costs of the Nonviolence Programme. If we are not successful,
we urgently need to come up with alternative funding sources.
In the last
year not much work has been done in getting individual donations, as
they are very time consuming without much reward. Also due to a knee
injury of the Nonviolence Programme staff person, there are no more
Triathletes for Peace - but we will be back!
the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns has exceeded expectations,
mostly manifested in the number of translations.
Profiteers' News has become a reference point for information on
campaigns against war profiteering.
Need to give
more training workshops .
Global Network Against War Profiteers is a huge goal and maybe
follow up projects better, eg training with a particular group.
ASCEND application succeeds, fundraising will be a huge challenge.
Nonviolence Programme lacks a functioning committee.
cuts in social spending by many governments offer an opportunity to
challenge the priority accorded to military spending.
European network of WRI groups does not represent the full range of
activities of WRI's European affiliaties but focuses on nonviolent
direct action against war and military intervention, It is also open
for groups not affiliated to WRI.
3.1.1 Meetings and seminars
2009, a funding application to the European Union's Grundtvig
Lifelong Learning Programme succeeded in gaining a total of £105,000
over two years. The money is mainly for meetings/seminars, and also
contributes to the seminar in Lulea.
first major activity was the participation of about 80 activists
from abroad in the blockade of the British nuclear weapon factory
AWE Aldermaston on 15 February 2011. In the days prior to the
blockade, activists from the network met for a seminar and training
in Milton Keynes (see http://wri-irg.org/node/9683).
This was followed by a days of action against nuclear weapons on 2-4
April (see http://wri-irg.org/node/9863
for an overview).
July, the network again met in Jarandilla in Spain, for an
evaluation and future planning, especially in relation to the NATO
summit in November 2010 in Lisboa, Portugal. The meeting also
started a process to define what the network is, but so far there is
no statement of principles.
November 2010, a seminar was held in Brussels, which continued the
process which began in Jarandilla, and also looked into future
activities. It came up with the slogan "War starts here", to
highlight that wars are not just fought far away, in Afghanistan,
Iraq, or now Libya, but depend on the military infrastructure in our
own countries. It was decided to set up a website
which is presently under development.
groups of the network then participated in the anti-NATO actions in
Lisbon (see below).
latest meeting of the network took place in Ghent in Belgium in
January 2011. This meeting again looked at the future of the
network, and a new funding application. However, in the end no
funding application was submitted, which will leave the network
without funding of its own after July 2011.
meeting in Ghent could not decide about a clear focus for the
European networking in the upcoming years.
3.1.2 Work against NATO
work against NATO has mostly been part of the European network in
the past few years, but goes beyond Europe. Andreas Speck represents
WRI on the International Co-ordinating Committee No to War - No
to NATO (ICC), a broad international umbrella network against
NATO. In this capacity, he was involved in the preparation of the
anti-NATO protests in Lisbon in November 2010 (and in Strasbourg in
the broader anti-NATO work, WRI's focus is on nonviolent direct
action against NATO, which links it closely to the European network,
mostly because up until now anti-NATO actions have mainly been
organised in Europe. In November 2010, WRI passed a pledge/call for
nonviolent action against NATO (see http://wri-irg.org/node/11629),
but unfortunately this came too late to have an impact on the
mobilisation for the NATO summit in Lisbon, and later the momentum
activities in Lisbon showed the symbolic power of nonviolent action,
and a good co-operation among the network (see
decided at its Lisbon summit that the next summit will be held in
the US in 2012, and indications are that it will be in April 2012 in
Washington DC. WRI is part of a contact group between the broader
ICC and the US organisers (which include WRI's section War Resisters
League), and is in discussion with WRL about a nonviolent action in
the US in 2012. This would broaden WRI's anti-NATO work to also
include the USA. However, it poses a significant challenge to the
European side of the network.
cooperation between European WRI affiliates (and some
non-affiliated organisations) in nonviolent direct action,
contributing to an exchange of experience and building trust among
organisations and individuals.
could be obtained for 2 years
actions in several countries.
is a visible force within the anti-NATO movement
renewed funding for the network
communication and decision making within the network, and sharing
summit in the USA in 2012
serious problems facing operations of military intervention
involving NATO countries, and there is no still substantial
movement against such interventonism, let alone against the
structures underpinning it.
3.2 Latin America
Latin America is a conflictive and vibrant region, where militarism manifests itself in full strength: military service is still compulsory in several countries, military expenditure has increased more than in any other region, national polices are heavily militarised, military bases or barracks are found almost in every town, patriarchy is taken as normal, caudillos or populist leaders with a strong militarist discourse rule many of the countries and faced internal problems repeatedly invoke nationalist hostility to neighbours to unite the population. In short militarism is part of the daily life of Latin Americans. This is why groups in Latin America sometimes are criticised of being too self-centred, unaware of what happens outside their local realities, in some way this is because the local realities are full of conflicts which means they take most of your time and energy.
As a response to this for the last years a number of groups in Latin America with links to WRI have been working on how to support each other more, and create the space for thinking and acting beyond each local realities. Since the last report, the irg-al network, has continued to exchange a lot of information through its email list (email@example.com), which helps for groups to know what others are doing. The list has been most useful in times of crisis, like during the so-called frustrated coup d'etat in Ecuador on 30 September 2010
(http://wri-irg.org/node/11779). This way the network could know immediately what was happening directly from the people in Ecuador. The list is very useful for this kind of situations and also for sharing information, but at the same time needs better moderation and to become a place of dialogue and ont only information sharing.
Since the last report, the network had a few opportunities for getting together. It is important to acknowledge the high number of people from Latin America who attended the Triennial in India 2010, helping to bridge the gap between groups in Latin America and WRI groups elsewhere. In May 2010 and using the opportunity that the activities around 15 May, International CO Day were held in Asuncion, Paraguay, a special effort was made to bring together representatives from groups from most of the countries active in the network. This meetings was very important to get to know us better and many plans came out of this meeting, including a revival of the plan for a regional map linking corporate presence and militarisation. The big problem so far has been that after each meeting there has been little follow up, and none of the ideas that came out in Paraguay have actually materialised, though the Venezuelan group managed to put together their own map (http://bit.ly/iiEYGn) and we are still hopeful that other groups will do the same.
As a joint project, the network put together the December 2010 issue of WRI's newsletter The Broken Rifle (http://wri-irg.org/pubs/br87-en.htm), which focused on militarism in the region. The network also helped getting the WRI Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns out in Spanish, with Pelao Carvallo writing a special introduction to the Spanish version and El Libertario Collective doing the layout. The handbook was printed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it has already been distributed to several countries in Latin America, with groups even organising book presentations in their countries.
Within the network there are many ideas of what to do in the region but not much follow up of them. Clearly there is the potential to make much more things happen. As with every loose network things take time, but there is a base to work from, so yes, there is hope.
4. WRI Publications
continues to publish a range of electronic and print publications.
WRI website is WRI's main publication, and has grown in content
since the India conference. Visits seem to have stabilised at about
2,600-2,700 unique visits daily, or 75,000-85,000 visits monthly.
The website needs further improvement, but this would require
raising further funds.
E-mail and Web-Based Publications
All our e-mail-based publications can be viewed and subscribed to on
The Broken Rifle
Broken Rifle continues to be WRI's quarterly newsletter, with most
issues published in all four official WRI languages. Since January
2010, the following issues have been published: Gender and
militarism (April 2010, see http://wri-irg.org/pubs/br85-en.htm),
European Network Against Militarism - Against NATO and War
(September 2010, see http://wri-irg.org/pubs/br86-en.htm),
Latin American Antimilitarist Network (December 2010, see
Military out of schools (March 2011, see
In the last year, it has been increasingly difficult to get the
issues of The Broken Rifle translated into German and French,
and some issues have not been published in these languages.
email-newsletter wri-info is published as needed, and was used in
April 2011 to distribute information on the imprisonment of Maikel
Nabil Sanad. There is no clear policy on what qualifies as
CO-Update / Informe OC / Objo-Infos
is the monthly e-newsletter of the Right to Refuse to Kill
programme. It is available in English and Spanish.
launched its email based co-alert system in July 2001. Although
there has been a system for urgent actions before, this was the
first time the email list co-alert has been used.
then, hundreds of co-alerts have been emailed out. With the launch
of the new website, the co-alert system has been integrated into
WRI's conscientious objection database, and is now managed entirely
through the WRI website.
is an English only email list, although some alerts are also
available in other languages on the WRI website.
email newsletter warprofiteers-news is the newsletter of the
Nonviolence Programme's work on war profiteers. Warprofiteers-news
is published bimonthly in English and Spanish.
email-newsletter has been an important tool to provide information
on matters related to war profiteering to a wide range of groups and
activists, and facilitates networking of groups working on war
Facebook cause now has more than 2,800 members and is mainly used to
to raise funds using Facebook have so far seen only moderate
is also a Facebook page for WRI at
can find WRI at http://twitter.com/#!/warresistersint.
Books and other print publications
Prasad's War is a Crime Against Humanity (2005)
is now online as a pdf.
Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns (2009)
has now been reprinted in English. See the Nonviolence Programme
Elster and Majken Soerensen, eds, Women Conscientious Objectors -
An Anthology was published in
April 2010 is also available
online at http://wri-irg.org/pubs/WomenCOs).
Michelle Renye has painstakingly translated this into Spanish and
it could be online before the Council meeting in Lulea.
WRI Yearbook - this
proposal discussed by Council in September 2008 and again in
Ahmedabad - is presently stuck.
supported the Eritrean Antimilitary Initiate (EAI) in
publishing and distributing a Tirgrinya version of Gene Sharp's From
dictatorship to democracy.
has been a variety of publications by WRI staff, Executive and
Council members in magazines, journals, books and encyclopaedias.
the web redesign in 2008, WRI has increased its presence on the
email-newsletters of the two main WRI programmes
have increased WRI's credibility in these areas.
publication of the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns
has clearly answered an existing need, as can also be
seen by the number of translations being worked on.
The new WRI
website was designed to facilitate contributions from the WRI
network. However, this has so far rarely happened.
distribution network and strategy for publishing more books is so
of the e-newsletters and of the Broken Rifle has become
increasingly difficult, especially into German and French, but WRI
is also short of translators into Spanish, and from any of these
languages into English.
Yearbook needs new impetus.
5. WRI - the organisation
matters of organisational development, including representation and
cooperation with other organisations and networks, are included
throughout the report. They are not repeated in this section. The
important work of mutual solidarity (beyond the programme work) is
rarely featured but was highlighted shortly after Ahmedabad by the
Zimbabwean government offensive against WRI affiliate, Gays and
Lesbians of Zimbabwe.
WRI Council members - whether they represent affiliates or were
elected in Ahmedabad. They are an underused resource, as people with
their own networks, ideas and activities. Within WRI, a number feel
guilty that they have not found ways of contributing more.
Electronic Council - an
electronic council took place in November, with patchy
participation. It took decisions on affiliation, began discussion
on some important topics, and had a lively forum on the Freedom
more work is now expected of the Executive commitee, although it
also meets less frequently. A large part of the January meeting in
the Basque country was devoted to discussing how the Executive could
be more effective.
Executive has issued three political declarations - one on the
Freedom Flotilla in 2010, one on the murder of Chidi Nwosu, and one
on military intervention in Libya.
5.3. Working groups
Africa Working Group is keen to promote the International Conference
in 2013. Other working groups are more or less in abeyance, but
there is now an initiative for a Queer working group.
5.4.1 - Staff level
the Ahmedabad conference, the post of finance and administrative
worker in the office was abolished and Seth Wheeler was asked to
leave. This work is now shared between the two programme workers.
Having a staff level of two is not satisfactory, especially in view
of the amount of travel they each are required to do, but
maintaining a part-time post of finance and admin has been generally
problematic and an inefficient use of resources.
5.4.2 - Interns and Volunteers
well as the RRTK internships (see RRTK), WRI investigated some other
possibilities for longer term internships - so far without fruit. In
continued his internship, primarily working on RRTK questions, until
August 2010. Jung-Min,
from WRI-Korea who is currently finishing an MA in Peace Studies in
Britain, is hoping to be a volunteer with the Nonviolence Programme
from September for the rest of the year. WRI's volunteer base in
London is now weaker than ever, relying primarily on Martyn
(now retired from employment and able to do regular data entry as
well as his usual help with filing and mailings).
5.4.3 - Translation
number of volunteer translators (not forgetting translation
editors/re-writers) have helped in the period in the period since
January 2009. These include: Carlos
Denise Drake, Ian Macdonald and Benjamin Molineaux.
- Council Medellin in 2012 and
the International Conference in South Africa 2014 will be
significant agenda items in the Lulea
Skype, the office now runs on open source software.
quality of the staff's work is widely recognised.
To find more
effective means to use the resources of Council
the functioning of the Executive
projects get stuck
internships do not seem to be attractive to organisations who
translation capacity urgently needs expansion
finally a word from our Treasurer:
6. Finances - more of a team effort!
is both what we have and what we need: a good degree of team effort
has helped correct a few worrying trends in the last few years.
However we need the continuous involvement of many people and
affiliates to keep rowing upstream.
the positive side: WRI income and expenditure is more balanced,
including funding staff time on preparing the India conference; the
income from affiliation fees has risen slightly (after several years
of decline); the sales of the NV Handbook and the Women CO Anthology
are making a difference in our budget; we have improved the
we have done despite cutting the part-time post of "Finance
and Admin Worker". We need to thank the programme workers -
Andreas and Javier - for accepting this increase in their
workload, as well as for the amount of fundraising work they were
already taking on. As you know, writing funding applications is a
strain on an organisation with such a small structure.
is where the network comes in.
Our successful fundraising would not have occurred without the
involvement of several of our affiliates, who wrote up and presented
grant proposals in their countries on our behalf, or who took on
financing the participation of other network members. Several groups
also placed big orders for WRI publications, guaranteeing that we
could actually make a profit on sales.
we are very worried: in spite of a noticeable improvement, we have
not managed yet to cover the structural deficit we show every year.
In 2011, the Council meeting itself might break even, and the
Rowntree grant covers the full cost of the RRTK programme and some
overhead, but we still do not have enough to cover the rest. The big
EU grant proposal we submitted this year might change that picture,
but we certainly cannot only rely on unpredictable fundraising
results from such institutions or on receiving legacies from
this is where the WRI network comes in: we
need you to guarantee that we can maintain a minimum degree of
financial autonomy and that the basic cost of our much needed
international work can be sustained. If you represent an affiliate,
can it increase its affiliation fee? If it doesn't pay anything,
could it pay at least something? Could it collaborate in grant
applications? Could you place orders to help distribute WRI
publications? Or to try to get the Broken Rifle badges to again be a
source of revenue and a visible image for our network? Can you help
give us access to private donors in your countries? We keep talking
about the same issues, we will deal with them in more details at
Council, but we should be clear there are no miracle solutions,
especially for a radical organisation like ours, which cannot and
does not want to follow a classical NGO model. The
WRI affiliates and our donor base have been and remain the key to