All items from ForcesWatch

30/11/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Members of the Scottish Parliament have agreed to seek further evidence on our joint petition – with Quakers in Scotland – calling for greater scrutiny and guidance around military visits to schools.

23/11/2016 press release

MSPs will consider what further action to take on a petition from ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland calling for increased transparency and scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools this Thursday (24 November).

12/11/2016 ForcesWatch comment

The Royal British Legion is asking the public to 'Rethink Remembrance'. Can we remember without obscuring the realities of war and overlaying this important act with militarism?

02/11/2016

This paper, published by ForcesWatch in 2016, explores ways in which teaching remembrance in schools can be used as a way of encouraging critical thinking about what and how we remember, and how this can be used to foster a culture of peace.

It discusses the importance of encouraging emotional engagement in the consequences of war and of avoiding euphemistic language that overly sanitises and simplifies its causes and consequences. The paper looks at educational opportunities in exploring the meaning of the white poppy as an alternative to the red poppy and alternatives to violent responses to conflict.

The paper includes some ideas for how to teach remembrance and provides links to education resources and background reading for use around remembrance and wider education for and about peace.

18/10/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This article was first published in the Morning Star.

The Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, recently announced that 25 out of 150 proposed new school cadet units would soon be opening. Despite the presentation of this development as new policy, the Cadet Expansion Programme promoting cadet forces in state schools, was first announced in 2012. While the Government heralds the cadets as a silver bullet in terms of improving pupil attainment and development, the sight of ranks of pupils as young as 12 in military gear and handling weapons will ring alarm bells for many. That this is happening within education raises additional concerns.

21/09/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Back in March we asked Holyrood to ensure ‘guidance is provided to schools', ‘information is collected to provide public monitoring’ and ‘parents/guardians are consulted’ when it comes to visits by the military. Last week we gave evidence to the Public Petitions Committee.

13/09/2016 press release

A petition calling for increased transparency and scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools in Scotland comes before Holyrood this Thursday 15 September.

13/07/2016 press release

ForcesWatch is raising ‘serious concerns’ about aspects of the Farnborough International Air Show designed to engage children and young people in careers and ‘exciting’ activities. The‘air show’ is taking place this coming weekend. Associated events this week include a major arms fair, civil aerospace exhibition and hosting of military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

23/06/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This letter from ForcesWatch staff member Douglas Beattie was first published in the Camden New Journal on 23 June 2016 in response to Camden Council's support of Armed Forces Day.

02/06/2016 press release

With the new inquest verdict into the death of Cheryl James at Deepcut, ForcesWatch is calling on Ministers to implement important recommendations for young recruits made in 2005.

25/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Are 16 and 17 year olds developmentally mature enough to make rational decisions about enlisting and once they have joined? The Chair of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania says: 16 years olds "may be more prone to being stressed, to maybe malfunctioning under stress and also not using more rational a decision making approach when they are in that split second."

24/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This week the long-awaited consideration of the UK's implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child takes place. There are numerous issues being discussed, including many ways in which the rights of children are compromised or not adequately recognised by UK authorities.

Also under scrutiny is the recruitment of 16 and 17 year olds, who are still legally children, into the UK armed forces, and UK's lack of education provision on peace and human rights. As an open letter to the MoD points out, the youngest recruits are 'actively sought' for frontline roles.

12/05/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Lauren Bryden & Poppy Kohner explore the implications of Rosie Kay’s production of 5 Soldiers: The Body Is The Frontline, a dance piece exploring the ‘physicality’ of war and its effect on soldiers' bodies.  While captivating and enlightening, does placing the body at the centre of the narrative of war obscure political comment on what these bodies do and, crucially, why they do it? The support of the production by the British Army and their presence at the event raises important questions about the role of the military in public arts spaces.

24/03/2016 ForcesWatch comment

Before the closing date of our petition to the Scottish Parliament on military visits to state schools in Scotland, the ForcesWatch team went on the road to spread the word and raise awareness of the issue.

16/03/2016 ForcesWatch comment

This article, summarising our work, was first published on the White Feather Diaries website"Publishing the diaries of conscientious objectors of WWI. To refuse to kill is a cause worth dying for."