1 August 2023 PN

PN wishes a fond farewell to its current admin worker

What a shock! It is hard for us to believe – and hard to forgive! – but our very own Claire Poyner is stepping down from her position as admin worker staffing the PN office, from the end of August. We will miss her very much. (For the next few months, from 1 September, Claire’s work will be covered by other staff members.)

Here is Claire’s statement on her departure:

‘It’s been 16 years since I started as PN admin worker. I think even if I wasn’t eligible for…

1 August 2023 PN

Call for Global Week of Action for peace in Ukraine

An international peace conference held in Austria on 10 – 11 June issued a call for a Global Week of Action for peace in Ukraine – protests, street vigils and political lobbying – from 30 September to 8 October.

The union-owned venue for the International Summit for Peace in Ukraine was cancelled 48 hours before the gathering was due to begin; Vienna’s press club also cancelled a press conference scheduled for the end of the event.

The Austrian trade union federation ÖGB…

1 August 2023 PN

Legal challenges, trials and 2,350 arrests

Three successes for climate activists occurred in June. On 16 June, the group Feedback was granted the right to a judicial review.

They had challenged the UK national food strategy for not have a plan to cut meat and dairy consumption, arguing that the strategy failed to take into account ministers’ duties to cut carbon emissions as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.

The high court had refused Feedback a judicial review; the court of appeal has now decided they can…

1 August 2023 PN

High court judge rejects whistleblower's appeal

Julian Assange’s legal battle in the UK hit a roadblock on 6 June after high court judge Jonathan Swift rejected an appeal against his extradition to the US.

That left just one option in the UK legal system: Assange put in another request to the high court, appealing to a panel of two judges .

The International Federation of Journalists said: ‘The US government must drop all charges against him and close the case. If Assange goes to jail, no journalist on earth will be safe.’…

1 August 2023 David Swanson

US military prevented from destroying mountains

The US military had threatened to use the mountains of Sinjajevina as a training ground between 22 May and 2 June, together with other troops under the banner of NATO. Instead, the troops went to other locations in Montenegro but never to the mountains of Sinjajevina.

Milan Sekulovic of Save Sinjajevina credited local and international pressure – including from International Land Coalition – for this latest success in the ongoing campaign to protect Sinjajavina from being turned into…

1 August 2023 David Polden

Campaigners block sewage pipes at arms factory

The direct action group Palestine Action (PA) has seven prisoners to support (there was a day of action for them on 22 July) and at least eight trials going on, but PA is still keeping up its campaign of disruption against British weapons factories owned by the Israeli arms company, Elbit Systems.

PA’s ‘siege’ of the UAV Tactical Systems factory in Leicester which began on 1 May was still continuing at the time of writing. UAV is owned by Elbit.

On 9 July, in a new tactic, PA…

1 August 2023 PN

Tories making 'law by the back door’

Damaging public order measures, which had earlier been rejected by the House of Lords, have been turned into law anyway (in England and Wales), using ‘statutory instruments’ which get less parliamentary time and which cannot be amended by the lords.

The human rights group Liberty is raising funds to mount a legal challenge against home secretary Suella Braverman’s ‘undemocratic decision to ignore Parliament and make law by the back door’.

The new regulations define ‘serious…

1 August 2023 David Polden

Labour abstains on bill targeting campaign against Israeli apartheid

On 3 July, the government’s anti-boycott bill began its journey through parliament with a vote (286 to 70). The Labour party abstained, despite damning legal advice it had commissioned from barrister Richard Hermer KC.

Promised in the 2019 Tory manifesto, the bill says that public authorities, including local councils, universities and cultural institutions, cannot allow their financial or purchasing decisions to be influenced by their disapproval of the actions of a foreign state –…

1 August 2023 David Polden

Spying on campaigners 'unjustified' says official inquiry

Undercover police operations to infiltrate British protest groups in the ’70s and ’80s were ‘unjustified’ and the operations should have been rapidly closed down. That was one conclusion of the first report of the Undercover Policing inquiry, covering the years 1968 – 1982, published on 29 June.

The inquiry also found that, between 1968 – 1982, six undercover officers had sexual relationships with at least 14 women.

The women who were spied on are now demanding that the…

1 August 2023 PN

British-backed war continues as aid programmes forced to close for lack of funding

The British-backed Saudi war in Yemen continues, with a humanitarian crisis threatening tens of millions of people with hunger and disease, and aid programmes being shut down due to underfunding by international donors. Backroom negotiations on ending the war are reported to be taking place between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels, with Iraq now offering to be a mediator, while the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen faces internal tensions and protests against poor living conditions. At least the…

1 August 2023 David Polden

Activists aquitted as "illegal migration" bill becomes law

Three activists who lay on the road outside Brook House immigration centre in November 2021, preventing people being put on a deportation flight, were found not guilty of causing a public nuisance by a jury at Lewes crown court on 13 June.

Griff Ferris, Callum Lynch and Rivka Micklethwaite had argued that they were concerned about the possible fates of the detainees if forced to fly back to Jamaica.

On 18 July, both anti-racist and anti-migrant protests met the Bibby…

1 August 2023 Milan Rai

Ex-Zelenskyy advisor suggests trading 20 percent of land for peace

Unlikely as it seems as the war rages on, some attention has been shone recently on negotiated solutions to the Ukraine War, including trading land for peace.

That suggestion was made in mid-July by Oleksiy Arestovych, who was until January an advisor to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak.

On YouTube, Arestovych set out four ways the war could end (Daily Telegraph, 17 July).

One was Ukraine making a ‘compromise’ with Russia – though without…

1 June 2023 Milan Rai

Real friends of Ukraine can help the president by demanding he enters peace talks

A senior advisor to Volodymyr Zelenskyy has indicated that the Ukrainian president wants to open the door to territorial compromise of some kind over Crimea – but Zelenskyy himself cannot even say these words because of the diehard political culture that he has done more than anyone else to create.

The government may not have a way off its self-imposed path of never-ending escalation, leading ultimately to national disaster – unless there is huge and unrelenting pressure for peace…

1 June 2023 David Polden

Just Stop Oil continue daily 'slow marches' as pair jailed for multiple years

The longest sentences yet imposed on climate activists were handed down on 21 April, at Southend crown court, when a jury found two Just Stop Oil activists guilty of causing a public nuisance. Judge Shane Collery KC sentenced Morgan Trowland, 40, to three years in prison and Marcus Decker, 36, to two years seven months, to ‘deter’ copycat actions.

The two were arrested last October after they had climbed 200 feet up onto the QEII Bridge over the Dartford Crossing in East London,…

1 June 2023 Netpol

How to resist the new Public Order Act that is stripping away our right to dissent

The Metropolitan police took ‘swift’ action on 6 May to shut down protests at the coronation of king Charles, in a series of arrests that showed how little the idea of ‘policing by consent’ now means in practice.

In a classic example of why negotiating with police is fraught with risk, weeks of ‘dialogue’ in advance of the coronation by the campaign group Republic failed to prevent the immediate arrests of several of its members who were accused of having equipment used to lock-on. [‘…

1 June 2023 PN staff

Call for mass bike rides on 18 June

Sadly, our dear friend Roy St Pierre, a cornerstone of Peace News Summer Camp, died on 5 April while cycling through Spain on his way to the UK. There will be a tribute to Roy in our next issue. Roy’s family are calling for mass bike rides in his memory on Sunday 18 June. Please carry peace flags! In Hastings, the ride starts at 2pm at the pier. Please send us your photos:

1 June 2023 PN staff

'I can't kill a person' says Christian jailed for year

In Ukraine, Mykhailo Yavorsky, a 40-year-old Christian from the southwestern city of Ivano- Frankivsk, is out on bail, preparing to appeal against a one-year jail term handed down on 6 April for refusing military service on grounds of conscience, reports Forum 18.

Ukraine has suspended the right to conscientious objection (including the right to alternative service) – something that has been denounced by the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO).

‘I adhere to the…

1 June 2023 PN staff

Opponents met with fines, jail and beatings

Some recent news from the Russian human rights monitoring group OVD-Info.

19 May

The Miass city court in the Chelyabinsk region sentenced local resident Sergei Korneev to two years in a penal colony after he allegedly posted an anti- mobilisation message on a social media network. After allegedly suggesting that Russian soldiers break military equipment and weapons, Sergei was arrested back in February. He was found guilty of making a public call

to carry out…

1 June 2023 Peace Pledge Union

Call for UK to welcome COs

Rather than pouring fuel on the flames by sending more and more weapons, the government should be supporting those resisting war and welcoming conscientious objectors in the UK.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak and the home secretary Suella Braverman should offer asylum to Russians who refuse to be part of the war in Ukraine.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, calls to offer asylum to Russian objectors have been backed by MPs including Labour’s Lloyd Russell Moyle and the…

1 June 2023 PN staff

Belarusian peace activist sends message to London ceremony

Raised Voices sing songs by Sue Gilmurray and Holly Near in front of the Conscientious Objectors commemorative stone at the National Conscientious Objectors Day event in Tavistock Square, Central London, on 15 May 2023. A message from Belarusian peace activist Olga Karach was played at the ceremony.