War Resisters' International was founded in 1921 under the name "Paco". It was and is based on the WRI declaration:
War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war
War Resisters' International exists to promote nonviolent action against the causes of war, and to support and connect people around the world who refuse to take part in war or the preparation of war. On this basis, WRI works for a world without war.
WRI embraces nonviolence. For some, nonviolence is a way of life. For all of us, it is a form of action that affirms life, speaks out against oppression, and acknowledges the value of each person.
Nonviolence can combine active resistance, including civil disobedience, with dialogue; it can combine non-cooperation - withdrawal of support from a system of oppression - with constructive work to build alternatives.
As a way of engaging in conflict, sometimes nonviolences attempts to bring reconciliation with it: strengthening the social fabric, empowering those at the bottom of society, and including people from different sides in seeking a solution.
No to war
WRI will never endorse any kind of war, whether it is waged by a state, by a "liberation army", or under the auspices of the United Nations, even if it is called a "humanitarian military intervention". Wars, however noble the rhetoric, invariably are used to serve some power-political or economic interest. We know where war leads - to suffering and destruction, to rape and organised crime, to betrayal of values and to new structures of domination.
The Nonviolence Programme is one of the two main programme areas for the WRI office and network, and encompasses two projects: the global initiative against war profiteers and the nonviolence resources project. A full description of the project is available on this site in English, German, and Spanish.
WRI's project "The right to refuse to kill" aims to work on three levels:
- Political campaigning and support for conscientious objectors' movements and COs facing repression or imprisonment, including organising and sending delegations, visiting imprisoned COs, solidarity campaigns, lobbying the international human rights system, etc. The international email list <co-alert> is a powerful tool to organise support for conscientious objectors.
- Support for asylum seekers and their lawyers, in cases of draft evasion, desertion, conscientious objection and other cases related to military service.
- Research and documentation of material related to conscientious objection and military recruitment - the CONCODOC project.
Resources for this programme area -- active from 1998-2004 but presently unstaffed -- can be found on the Dealing with the Past homepage.
This new (2006) email newsletter provides information on the new developments on arms trade; the increasing role of private companies in the outsourcing of the military and private financial institutions as they profit from the arms trade.
WRI's own magazine, published in four languages to give in-depth information on WRI's programme and campaigns.
The magazine of the WRI Women's Working Group provides information on women and militarism, and of women's activities all over the world.
WRI's four-language website with up-to-date information on WRI's work and links to most of its affiliates.
WRI's email lists include both internal and external lists, some of which are available, reformatted for the web, on this site.
- wri-info is a general list on WRI events and press releases. It normally shadows information available on the website.
- co-alerts is a mailing list for urgent action on conscientious objection cases (archive page here).
- co-update is a monthly list for the CO-Update newsletter (web index here).
- warprofiteersnews is a bi-monthly list for the Global Initiative against War Profiteers (web index here).
- Private lists exist for some WRI working groups and project groups.
Books and reports
WRI has published several books, including online-only titles, print-only titles, and some in both formats. An index of WRI's online books, longer reports available on the web, and WRI's print and microform archives, is available here.
International seminars are one important part of WRI's networking. Usually attached to WRI's yearly Council meeting, seminars focus on a theme of particular importance to War Resisters' International. Recent seminars include: "The Changing Face of the Military" (Germany, 1999) and "From Kosov@ to Seattle. What role for nonviolent action?" (Britain, 2000). WRI seminars are open for participation by everybody.
International ("Triennial") Conferences are WRI's regular grassroots meetings. They are organised at least once every four years, and bring together 200-300 activists from all parts of the world. The most recent Conferences were:
- To Live is to Resist: undoing the chain of violence (Brazil, in 1994).
- Choosing Peace Together (Croatia, in 1998).
- Stories and Strategies: nonviolent resistance and social change (Ireland, in 2002).
- Globalising Nonviolence (Germany, in 2006).
- Nonviolent Livelihood Struggle and Global Militarism: Links & Strategies (India 2010)
War Resisters' International coordinates two internatonal days of action, both in support of peace activists and conscientious objectors.
- 15 May - International Conscientious Objectors' Day
15 May was first celebrated as a day of action in 1982. The day focusses on the struggle for the right to conscientious objection, and WRI usually highlights one particular struggle each year, while at the same time remembering those who served this cause in the past.
- 1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day
Prisoners for Peace Day is a way to support those imprisoned for their stand against war and war preparations, by sending greeting cards to prisoners, and raising public awareness of prisoners for peace.
Prisoners for Peace Day was introduced in the 1950s, but its roots go back to the 1920s, when WRI called for sending Christmas greetings to prisoners.
War Resisters' International is a network of independent organisations, with member organisations in more than 35 countries. To get involved in WRI, join one of its affiliates in your country or form a new affiliate, if there is none. Check here for a list of member organisations, if you don't know whether there is one in your country.
You can also join WRI as an Individual Member, if there is no affiliate in your country or you don't want to join an existing affiliate for some reason.
Make a donation!
WRI depends on donations to carry out its work. Send a donation to War Resisters' International, to support our work against war and militarism.
In some countries, you can send your donation in your own currency to our local financial agent. Contact the WRI office for information.
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
tel: +44-20-7278 4040