Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Washington, DC USA 2000

Minutes of the Fourth General Assembly Washington, DC, USA

July 8 and 9, 2000

Present: More than the required quorum (9/20: more than one-third of the members): BWD/Euro's voor Vrede (B. Horeman), D. Bassett, Conscience Canada (D. Woodside), Conscience-The Peace Tax Campaign- UK (J. Nott), G. Drewett, C. Voigt, NCPTF- USA (M. Franz), P. Otaduy, D. Panhuis. Many other others are present as well.

A) Approval of the minutes of the Third GA in New Delhi (December 31st, 1998).

Approved.

B) Report by the Board to the GA over the period: January 1999 - April 2000.

  1. Board members: Erik Hummels (chair), Marian Franz (vice-chair), Dirk Panhuis (secretary having a shorter e-mail than in the heading above: panhuis.roio@pi.be), Gerald Drewett (treasurer), Pedro Otaduy, Giorgina Momigliano, Christa Voigt. However, Giorgina Momigliano resigned for personal reasons in September 1999. Upon recommendation of the Italian OSM-DPN the board received Cosimo Tomaselli as new board member ad interim
  2. Board meetings:
    1. 5th meeting: January 1st, 1999: Delhi-Bhajanpura (India): 3 board members and 5 others,
    2. 6th meeting: May 13, 1999: The Hague (Netherlands): 2 board members and 4 others,
    3. 7th meeting: November 26. 1999: Leuven (Belgium): 4 board members and 1 other.
  3. Publicity:
    1. CPTI is listed in international yearbooks, diaries. ...
    2. CPTI has a website: http://surf.to/cpti (Our web master is John Randall at: johnrandall@mindspring.com ). The site is still growing: board members are supplying John with more information. Everybody is invited to read this site, make suggestions, and send corrections, particularly about the pictures taken at the international conferences. Send names of persons shown on the pictures to the web master John Randall. He will correct the many captions with ‘unknown’ and ‘?’
    3. The 4-page brochure on WTR-PTCs from CPTI is updated from time to time. The spring edition is available now and will be available at the conference.
    4. The 2-page information sheet on CPTI is updated. The latest version is available now.
  4. Brochure on historic and legal precedents and bibliography: Various proposals/ideas have been presented by Bart Horeman, Erik Hummels, Rosa Packard. Discussion as to the format will go on at the conference and within the board.
  5. Presence at international non-governmental meetings: Some board members were at the Hague Peace Appeal (May 1999), but most of them only for the board meeting. They participated in the march of the Dutch Euro's voor Vrede from the ministry of defense to the peace conference building.
  6. Special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN:
    1. Marian Franz (vice-chair) applied again early 1999. In June 1999 she skillfully answered some questions at a committee of ECOSOC in New York. (Articles about this appeared in some newsletters of national movements.) Upon unanimous recommendation of that committee CPTI was granted “special consultative status” with ECOSOC in July 1999.
    2. CPTI appointed some representatives who are able to attend certain meetings in New York (Marian Franz, John Randall, Rosa Packard) or Geneva (Cosimo Tomaselli).
      • Cosimo Tomaselli (new board member since fall 1999, and living in Venice, Italy) went to an information session for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in Geneva (November 22, 1999).
      • Marian Franz went to some information sessions at the UN (United Nations in New York) in New York.
      • John Randall and Rosa Packard (both active in the NCPTF- USA, and living near New York) almost weekly attend information sessions on various topics together with representatives of other NGOs. They are getting to know how things work at UNONY (United Nations, New York), how NGOs get acquainted with each other, etc.
      • Through their work CPTI gets known to others, learns how to cooperate for certain actions, gets acquainted with the work of certain church and peace caucuses, etc. The secretary receives more and more appeals (mostly e-mails) from other NGOs asking to support their work. During Spring 2000 Erik Hummels and the board have been preparing a request to the Human Rights Committee (HRC), asking that the HRC in a general comment specifically express the view that CO to military taxes can be derived from article 18 of the ICCPR. (More about this at the GA)

The report of the Board is approved by the GA

C) Finances.

Accounts 1999

in Euros

INCOME
TOTAL INCOME: 431.78 (Euros)
EXPENSES
Administration

Subtotal: 165.22

Travel

Subtotal: 116.68

TOTAL EXPENSES: 281.90
SURPLUS IN 1999: 149,88
EVOLUTION
ASSETS 1996-1999
Year 1996 (BEF) 1997 (BEF) 1998 (BEF) 1999 (Euros)
Assets on January 1st 0 280 44.147 733,79
Surplus (+) or deficit (-) +280 +43.867 -14.546 +149,88

Assets on December 31st in account 000-1709814-92

280 44.147 29.601 883.67
Assets in euros = 6,94 €  =1094,37 € =733,79 €  

(1 Euro = 40,3399 Belgian Francs) (1 Euro = 1.09 US Dollars)

OVERVIEW OF
CONTRIBUTIONS BY NATIONAL WTR-PTCs
ORGANISATION 1997 (BEF) 1997 (Euros) 1998 (BEF) 999 (Euros) Total in (Euros) since 1997
Belgium: VRAK 9,000 223,90 0 99,16 323,06
Germany: NWFS 0 0 0 100,00 100.00
Netherlands: Vredesfonds 18,295 453,52 0 0 453,52
USA:NCPTF 0 0 0 108,08 108,08
USA: Peace Taxpayers 0 0 0 94,99 94,99
TOTAL 27,295 677,42 0 402,23 1079,65

The books are checked by two members of the GA (David Bassett and Bart Horeman). The accounts for 1999 are approved.

CPTI has some problems of collecting money from all movements, or rather: some movements have some difficulty in paying a contribution to CPTI. The treasurer will ask the major movements individually to pay. Four contributions were paid to Dirk at the conference.

Marian Franz announces that CPTI will receive an anonymous gift of 15,000 USD. The GA is very thankful for this gift and asks Marian to transmit our gratitude to the donor. This gift does not relieve our movements from their moral duty to support the work of CPTI.

A budget for 2000 or 2001 has not yet been made. It is difficult to make one as long as we do not know what our expenses will be. The gift allows and pushes us to plan how the money will be spent.

D) Elections.

No formal elections this year. But Giorgina Momigliano resigned for personal reasons in September 1999. On proposal of the Italian OSM-DPN the board accepted Cosimo Tomaselli as board member ad interim (and as representative to international bodies such as the UN in Geneva). The GA agrees. Cosimo Tomaselli is on the Board of OSM(Military Expenses Objection Campaign, Italy) and will keep the Italians informed of the work of CPTI and the working of the UN.

John Nott proposes to work toward a strengthening of our presence at UNOG (United Nations in Geneva) (and even UNONY). Our representation should be more stable. Also, the British campaign having two staff members could help, if needed.

E) Formal membership.

It would be good if more movements that are legally constituted in their own country, became formal members of CPTI. (This looks better in reports to ECOSOC.) Dirk will talk this over with Békéré / Bokor (Hungary), COMIT (Japan), and the Norwegian movement.

Individuals can become members, particularly if their movement is not legally constituted in their own country. There is no need to increase the number of individuals as such: it would only become more difficult to reach the quorum at every GA (one third of the members). For reasons of geographical balance the number of members per country has been limited by the board to three (for the time being).

F) Future international action.

  1. The result (as expressed in one sentence) obtained at the Millennium Forum at the UN in New York (May 2000) should be used and followed up whenever and wherever possible. The sentence is: In the context of the right not to be complicit in killings, we call for full legal recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors. This sentence can be found in the Millennium Forum Declaration, “Universal Realization of Human Rights ” on page 17, last paragraph of 8. The whole text is on the web: www.milleniumforum.org/htm/papers/mfd26May.htm. Our representatives in New York and Geneva should contact other NGOs in order to form a coalition.
  2. Coordination in New York and Geneva is needed - With the gift of 15,000 USD we can think of sharing an office (and a staff person?) with some other organization. Marian, Dirk, Christa, Rosa, John, and others will be going to the meeting Rosa has set up with several people in New York on Tuesday, July 11 at Quaker House. They will explore the possibilities.
  3. “Commitment 2000” and “The International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non- violence for the children of the World” (Appeal Nobel Prize Laureates) deserve our support. CPTI and some national movements have subscribed to this campaign. Visit the websites: www3.unesco.org/manifesto2000/ and www.nobelweb.org (English, French, or Spanish), or write to one of the following:
    • Africa: Mr. Akadim G. CHIKANDAMINA at aki@utande.co.zw
    • Middle East: Mr. Noah SALAMEH at nsalameh@ibdaa.acrossborders.org or at salamehn@hotmail.com
    • South America: Mrs. Nelsa CURBELO at Nelsa@telconet.net or serpaz@telconet.net
    • North America: Fr. John DEAR at fellowship@forusa.org
    • Indian Subcontinent: Mrs. RAJHESWARI at assefa@md2.vsnl.net.in
    • Asia: Mr. Prasart PASIRI at cpcr@internetksc.th.com
    • Europe: Mrs. Monica BOCAZ at paz@comparte.org
  4. At the moment nobody knows of any major international gathering, conference, meeting, etc. where CPTI should be present or present a text, motion, resolution. Such gatherings (like the ones in Osnabrück and The Hague) are important for spreading the word.
  5. Before elections for the European Parliament… action and lobbying could be useful, even if the European Union does not spend money on military as yet. The intended European army may be financed with national money. It might be good to form a European subset within CPTI to follow this up. Bart Horeman is prepared to start a email serve list for interested people within CPTI and supervise an email group under the informal name CPTE (Conscience and Peace Tax - EUROPE). Other regional networks could originate elsewhere.
  6. Erik Hummels and the Board have been working on a request to the HRC (Human Rights Committee), which receives complaints in the framework of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). We will ask for a ‘general comment’ on article 18 of the ICCPR extending the right to CO to military service to CO to military taxation, because in both cases ‘lethal force’ is involved. Before sending the request to the HRC the secretary will send the text to all movements asking them to submit it to a few legal experts on international law for comments and support. (Letter to national movements will follow.) When the text will be finalized by the Board, support from NGOs should be obtained also. Thereafter CPTI will submit the request to the HRC. In the mean time no publicity should be given to this text.
  7. It is good to focus our action toward the United Nations. But many other areas in the world might be interested in what we are doing. Areas without WTR-PTCs in the sense as we have in ‘the West’ could be interested in the problem of (our and their government) using money for violence. We could support each other in various-ways. Shouldn't our website have some pages in some other languages to explain what our concerns are? Websites and magazines of peace/grass roots movements elsewhere should have links to our website.
  8. The website needs some reordering: CPTI business should be clearly separated from national activities. (Web master John Randall will take care of that.) The preceding item will also be taken into consideration.
  9. Some of the 15,000 USD could be used for fund raising. CPTI money is not to be used for supporting our international WTR-PTC conferences.