News in brief

Prisoners for Peace

On 1 December every year, War Resisters’ International (WRI) provides the names and addresses of people imprisoned for their nonviolent work for peace and justice. Most of the prisoners on the list in 2021 are Jehovah’s Witnesses (who refuse military service).

In 2019, WRI started featuring the details of campaigners from Ambazonia, the English-speaking territory within Cameroon.

The French-speaking authorities in Cameroon have been trying to take away the autonomy of Ambazonia and, among other things, impose French law and the French language. This sparked a general strike and many other forms of struggle.

The Cameroonian state has convicted and imprisoned nonviolent Ambazonian activists on charges including terrorism, secession, rebellion and the propagation of false news.

The following (English-speaking) Ambazonian prisoners for peace are listed on the WRI website. All can be written to at the same maximum security prison address:

Prison Principale Kondengui
BP 100,

Ambazonian prisoners:

  • Awah Thomas,
  • Aselech Martin,
  • Barrister Eyambe Elias,
  • Barrister Shufai Berinyuy,
  • Dr Cornelius Njikimpi Kwanga,
  • Dr Egbe Ogork,
  • Dr Fidelis Ndeh-Che,
  • Dr Henry Kimeng,
  • Dr Nfor Ngalla Nfor,
  • Guingah Valentine,
  • Mancho Bibixy,
  • Mr Julius AyukTabe,
  • Mr Wilfred Tassang
  • Penn Terence Khan,
  • Professor Augustine Awasum,
  • Tamngwa Martin,
  • Tha Emile Angwe,
  • Tsi Conrad.

Before writing:

WRI have some suggestions and guidelines. In general, in writing your card, think about what you would like to receive if you were in prison.

  • Remember to send your card in an envelope
  • Include a return name and address on the envelope
  • Be chatty and creative: send photos from your life or drawings
  • Let the prisoners know what you are doing to stop war and war preparations
  • Avoid writing anything that might get the prisoner into trouble
  • Try not to begin your correspondence with: ‘You are so brave, I could never do what you have done’
  • Remember that the prisoner may not be able to reply

Peace prizes

The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to two investigative journalists, Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia, for exposing corruption and misrule in their countries.

While Ressa and Muratov’s work is courageous and important, critics such as the Nobel Peace Prize Watch argue that Alfred Nobel actually intended the award to be a ‘prize for the champions of peace’, in terms of liberating nations from weapons, warriors and wars.

On 6 October, World BEYOND Wars, the ‘global movement to end all wars’, handed out its ‘War Abolisher’ awards. The Lifetime Organisational War Abolisher of 2021 is: Peace Boat, a Japan-based international NGO working to promote peace, human rights, and sustainability – on cruise ships!

The David Hartsough Lifetime Individual War Abolisher of 2021 is: Mel Duncan, founding director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, which provides unarmed civilian protection in conflict areas.

The War Abolisher of 2021 is: Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina. a local movement in Montenegro that has blocked the creation of a NATO military training ground on Sinjajevina Mountain, the second largest mountain pasture in Europe.

In a twist, World BEYOND War itself was given the 2021 US Peace Prize on 4 November by the US Peace Memorial Foundation.

Yemen ‘award’

Prime minister Boris Johnson has been given an award as a ‘Spoiler of Peace’ in the war in Yemen. He topped the category ‘Arming the parties to the conflict’.

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies held the awards ceremony on 2 November. The judges included: Baraa Shiban (Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee) and Huda Al-Sarari (Yemeni lawyer and human rights activist). 

Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia won ‘Top Spoiler for Atrocities and Severe Rights Violations’ and ‘Top Spoiler for Violations Against Children’.

TPNW news

In October, a new Labour government committed Norway to attending the first meeting of the signatories (‘states parties’) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), 22 – 24 March in Vienna.

Norway, not a signatory, will be attending as an observer, the first NATO country to do so.

On 22 January, one year after the 2017 TPNW came ‘into force’, CND will be launching a campaign to press the UK government to also attend the Vienna meeting as an observer.

Leeds CND is raising funds for a plaque to put on a tree planted in Park Square last January (by Leeds city council) in support of the TPNW.

Need a home?

Practical and resourceful people who enjoy children’s company are needed to live in Berrington Hall Housing Co-op, often host to Peace News Summer Camp.

They say: ‘We are a longstanding community, aiming to live sustainably in our large Georgian house and 20 acres of land, while also supporting groups working for progressive social change.’

More info:


UK tractor manufacturer JCB breached international human rights guidelines. It failed to carry out human rights checks over the potential use of its equipment in war crimes, the demolition of homes in occupied Palestine.

That was the finding of a government-funded watchdog, the OECD National Contact Point, in November.

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights found JCB products had been used by Israeli forces in at least 60 out of 266 demolitions in one year:

Bread & Roses

The winner of the 10th Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing is Ellen Clifford, for her book The War on Disabled People: Capitalism, Welfare and the Making of a Human Catastrophe (Zed/Bloomsbury, £12.99).

The judges described The War on Disabled People as ‘a hugely revelatory account of the one-quarter of UK society whose struggle for justice is literally a matter of life and death’.

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers also gives out the Little Rebels Award for children’s fiction.

The 2021 winner was Boy, Everywhere by AM Dassu (Old Barn Books, £7.99), which describes the journey that 13-year-old Sami and his family take from Syria to the UK, exposing the unyielding, sometimes cruel and often dehumanising obstacles refugees face in their flight to sanctuary.

Peace Cranes

The Peace & Justice (Scotland) ‘Peace Cranes’ project will come to a climax in April – May with an exhibition and a series of events in Edinburgh including a screening of a documentary about Setsuko Thurlow: The Vow from Hiroshima.

The exhibition will feature photography and film by art activists including Dawn Cole, Su Grierson, Madelon Hooykaas, Keiko Sato, Pam Skelton, Edward Thompson, Mare Trall and Miranda Whall.Their work will explore the humanitarian and environmental consequences of the atomic explosions in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Bikini Atoll, as well as the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima.