Fifth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Hondarribia, Spain 1994

The International Projects

The previous International Project: Peace Brigades International's Sri Lanka Project

The project we adopted in Brussels was this of the PBI Sri Lanka Project, according to the following Mandate

Peace Brigades International is in Sri Lanka in response to the present conflict.

PBI operates on the following principles:

The work of PBI requires an invitation from a group or an individual who works non-violently.

Our work in Sri Lanka creates a safe space in which the Sri Lankan people can work on solving the conflict non-violently. We put this into practice by:

The Project Committee, in consultation with the Team, will review its activities and priorities every three months in light of the political situation, PBI resources and the requests made for assistance.

Valid to August 1995. Agreed at Bradford, England, August 1993.

The new project: The creation of a Nonviolent Contingency Fund

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased that he Vth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns has chosen to endorse our proposal for the creation of a Nonviolent Contingency Found as its new international project. The financial and ideological support of so many organisations and individuals actively involved in countering the preparations of war all over the world will prove decisive in the establishment of this Fund, which we would like to introduce you in more details.

When an international crisis flares up and there are calls for military intervention, peace groups are always asked : so what would you do in a situation like this? There are plenty of answers: we wouldn't have supplied arms in the first place; we wouldn't have ignored the war signs; it's no use looking for a quick-fix answer, peace is a process that takes time. Nevertheless, there are times when some kind of international nonviolent civilian intervention could be a useful reaction to events.

At the moment, there simply is no way for reacting quickly. The process of finding out about he situation, working out a useful course of action, identifying people with the skills needed, grouping them together, preparing them, and finding funds, this all takes time.

Time could be saved and the quality of action improved if one of the international peace organisations could take the lead: an organisation with members experienced in the region concerned, with activists used to working together and experienced in international actions. This is how the War Resisters' International, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and Peace Brigades International came to discuss the problem of emergency response. Recognising that all the three organisations already tend to operate at full stretch and are therefore often to restricted to small or long-term projects around nonviolent intervention, we proposed the creation on a Nonviolent Contingency Fund.

The idea is to set up a fund large enough to enable one of the peace internationals to second one of their existing staff or to employ an additional short-term worker to explore and develop an emergency proposal for nonviolent action in response to an international crisis. Once a project got going and was raising its own funds, it would replenish the Contingency Fund to allow the process to be repeated in case of another crisis.

The three organisations decided on a set of criteria for releasing funds:

  1. there should be some kind of approach from nonviolent activist within the situation or from outside about the possibility of a nonviolent intervention;
  2. the emergency situations should fall into one of the following categories:
    1. a major international concern (e.g. Gulf, Rwanda);
    2. in a region where our networks already have some logistical base;
    3. Where a small pilot project could be a model for preventive action by larger bodies;
  3. there should be hope for co-operation with a range of bodies beyond the initial three organisations.

It was agreed that WRI should hold the Nonviolent Contingency Fund and raise the funds for it, with the formal organisational backing of the other bodies.

Staff of Conscience - the Peace Tax Campaign UK read about this idea and proposed that it should be taken up by the Vth International Conference. This seemed really appropriate: if war taxes are going to military Rapid Deployment Forces, why shouldn't peace taxes go to set up mechanisms for nonviolent intervention?

We are currently working on securing additional sources of funding for this project, and your endorsement will greatly help us in that task.

Contributions should be made payable to WRI and sent 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, United Kingdom, with a note indicating they are for the Nonviolent Contingency Fund. Forms of payment include cheques drawn on a bank with a UK branch, money orders, Eurocheque in £ sterling, or credit cards (VISA or Mastercard, specifying the name, number, expire date, billing address and signature).

In peace,

Howard Clark and Dominique Saillard for War Resisters' International.

Endorsed by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and Peace Brigades International.

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