Tue
31
Jul

Protests across Germany and the UK in response to public military days

Activists protesting at a military site in Mannheim, Germany, on the Bundeswehr Day

Activists in Germany and the UK organised actions during public military days in their countries.

In many Western countries, militaries recruit on a voluntary basis. This requires those militaries to pay more attention than ever to their 'public relations' (PR), to reach out to as many young people as possible and convince them to join their ranks. 'National days', or similar public days linked with the military, have been an effective component of this strategy. Last month, two examples of this occurred in two European countries: Germany and the UK.

Wed
25
Jul

Lockout Lockheed: Melbourne students take direct action against university contract with Lockheed

Student activists blockade a door at the University of Melbourne

Andrew Metheven, War Resisters' International 

On 11th July students at the University of Melbourne took direct action to protest the universities collaboration with Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest arms company. The University has recently partnered with Lockheed on the STELaR laboratory.

In protest at the collaboration, students from the DisarmUnis and Lockout Lockheed groups locked-on to concrete barrels surrounding the universities administrative building. When staff attempted to make use of another building, students blockaded that one too. The campaign is demanding the university ends all ties with Lockheed Martin, and to reveal all of it's agreements with the company. Following the action, representatives from the university agreed to meet with the students to discuss their concerns.

Thu
05
Jul

South Korea: Constitutional Court recognises conscientious objection

Last Thursday, in a landmark decision, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ordered the government to introduce alternative service of a civilian nature for conscientious objectors.

The court ruled that Article 5 of the Military Service Act (MSA), which fails to provide alternative forms of national service, is unconstitutional and obligated lawmakers to change the law by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, regrettably, the Court also ruled that Article 88 of the MSA , which provides up to 3 years of imprisonment for anyone who fails to enlist without justifiable grounds, does not violate the Constitution.

Mon
02
Jul

Patriotic Youth Army Takes Russian Kids Back to the Future

KUBINKA, Russia — Often in Russia these days, what is old is new again or, to be more specific, what is Soviet is new again.

The Youth Army, open to both boys and girls, is a militarized throwback to the Young Pioneers of the Soviet era. Meant to instill a sense of Communist zeal, the Pioneers are mostly remembered for their summer camps.

The Youth Army jettisoned the Communist bits, emerging as a kind of hybrid version of the scouts and a reserve officers training program, with an emphasis on patriotism and national service.

The trademark red endured.

If the Pioneers knotted red scarves around their necks, members of the Youth Army sport red berets bearing a pin of the organization’s logo — the red star of the Russian Army superimposed on an eagle’s head.

Mon
25
Jun

WRI Training on countering youth militarisation held in Cyprus

On 26-28 May, activists from Greece, Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Cyprus (both south and north) gathered in Nicosia (Cyprus) for a 3-day training, Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation, organised by War Resisters' International. During the training, participants explored gendered dimensions of youth militarisation within their societies as well as discussing how to work internationally to counter these processes. We're grateful to Turning the Tide(UK), Nonviolent Education and Research Association (Turkey) and Queer Cyprus Association (Cyprus) for supporting our event.

Thu
24
May

First-person Shooter Games, the US Military, and Serial Killers

Nik Cruz, the Parkland shooter, and Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe shooter, uploaded these photos on to their Instagram account of their favorite pastime – First-person shooter games.

Pat Elder - May 23, 2018 - 

Both Nik Cruz, the Parkland shooter, and Dimitri Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe shooter, were emotionally distraught because of girls who rejected their advances. They were both outcasts in their respective high schools. They both played video games that simulated war.  In his Facebook bio, Dimitri showed interest in joining the US Marine Corps “starting in 2019.” Nik Cruz felt more at home with the Army.

This is not a cheap shot. The military recruits gamers from the virtual world.

Mon
07
May

5th International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth to take place between 12-18 November

On 12-18 November this year, activists from across the world are taking action against the militarisation of young people in their countries, cities and towns.

Join us this November in this global action with your own nonviolent actions and events!

The International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth is a concerted effort of antimilitarist actions across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarised, and to give voice to alternatives. The week is coordinated by War Resisters' International.

Sat
05
May

Take action to #freeKoreanCOs

CO day in Seoul, 2017

Every year on 15th May we celebrate International Conscientious Objection Day.

This year War Resisters' International is focusing on South Korea, the country that imprisons more conscientious objectors than the rest of the world put together. Right now there's over 250 young people in jail, with 18 months sentences. But there's good news. Currently, there's no substitute service in South Korea, so if you don't want to go to the army, you go to jail. But the current President pledged to change this in his election manifesto, and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea has voted repeatedly to recommend that the South Korean government institute an alternative service system. See a recent news story here: wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/south-korea-growing-hopes-conscientious-objectors

Thu
26
Apr

South Sudan: More than 200 child soliders released

Two hundred and seven child soldiers have been released by armed groups in South Sudan, part of a series of planned discharges that should see nearly 1,000 children return home over the coming months. 

The move, facilitated by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), follows the release of 300 children by armed groups in early February.

The discharge took place in Bakiwiri, a rural community in Western Equatoria state.

The children will now undergo medical screenings and receive counselling and psychosocial support as part of the reintegration programme, said UNICEF. Once home, they will also have access to vocational training as well as age-specific education services in schools and accelerated learning centres.

Sun
15
Apr

UK: Defence contractors hand universities £40m

Britain’s universities are taking tens of millions of pounds from some of the world’s biggest defence contractors to help develop the next generation of military hardware. The close relationship between academia and the defence sector is credited with helping sustain tens of thousands of jobs in the UK but it is causing unease among some scientists, even as other sources of funding for universities dry up.

In the past three years alone, 15 universities with renowned engineering departments have received almost £40m in grants from the contractors, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the companies distributing the grants are involved in both civilian and military aerospace sectors and their work has led to spin-offs that benefit the wider public.

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