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Recent news & articles

17/03/2014 Telegraph Philip Hammond says he is prepared to introduce new powers to exempt armed forces from human rights laws which are hampering military operations
13/03/2014 Channel 4 news Channel 4 report on how the MoD deal with bullying and assault in the armed forces and new indications that they recognise that the chain of command is part of the problem. Can it be tackled if the new Ombudsman that the MoD has announced will not be independent?
12/03/2014 The Guardian Letter signed by over 100, including ForcesWatch
06/03/2014 Child Soldiers International press release The Defence Select Committee has increased the pressure on the MoD to stop enlisting minors, in a report published today.
03/03/2014 Open Democracy The country’s military institutions must not be seen as deserving of special consideration. Once the ethos of public service has been smashed and discredited by neoliberal restructuring, the danger is that it will take more than an army to bring it back.
03/03/2014 The Guardian Informal and unaccountable 'in-house' procedures mean hundreds of allegations go unquestioned

latest resources

February 2014

By William and Noah

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2014

Total war demands total commitment

A BBC Multimedia education resource

World War One was Britain's first total war - meaning that the whole of the British population was needed for the war effort. Millions of young men were asked to head to the battlefield. Hundreds of thousands of workers were recruited to power an industrial war machine. The public had to accept years of hardship and civilian casualties as a price worth paying for victory.

 

The government’s first challenge was to make sure they had enough men to fight. The first two years of war saw a massive recruitment drive, with over a million men volunteering. By 1917, this was no longer a problem; conscription had been introduced. Instead, the government faced a much more difficult problem; to persuade the people of Britain to continue supporting a war that was costing more – in money, resources and lives – than anyone could have foreseen.

This saw the birth of something new in British politics. Prime Minister Lloyd George needed to talk directly to the people and influence their attitudes and their behaviour. World War One was perhaps the moment that modern spin was born.

This series includes 8 chapters on WW1 propaganda

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November 2013

A ForcesWatch poster showing policy, cultural and other recent developments affecting the extent of military influence in young people's lives.

 

 


 

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November 2013

We call on the UK Government to stop its policy of allowing 15 year olds to apply and 16 and 17 year olds to be recruited into the Armed Forces. The recruitment and targeting of young people and vulnerable groups has been criticised by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. 2014 is the year to end this policy.

Sign the petition


Why is this important?

What better way to commit our country to peace during the commemoration of World War One and remember the hundreds of thousands who died from the UK alone, including boy soldiers like Rifleman V J Strudwick who was killed at 15? Why is it that in 2014 the UK is the only country in Europe - and the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council - to recruit 16 year olds into its armed forces?

Initiated by Pax Christi and supported by:
Baptist Peace Fellowship, Child Soldiers International, Christian CND, Columban Justice Peace & Integrity of Creation, Conscience, Fellowship of Reconciliation, ForcesWatch, Movement for the Abolition of War, National Justice & Peace Network, National Union of Teachers, Network for Peace, Northern Friends Peace Board, Peace Education Network, Peace Pledge Union, Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Student Christian Movement, War Resisters International, Woodcraft Folk, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.


How it will be delivered

The petition will be handed to the Ministry of Defence in April 2014.

Sign the petition

Download paper version to return by 11 April 2014

Visit the petition's Facebook page

November 2013

The Militarisation in Everyday Life in the UK conference was held in London in October 2013 and was organised by ForcesWatch. It brought together academics, writers, activists and campaigners who are researching, writing, campaigning on, or just concerned about the implications of the militarisation of everyday life in the UK.

The following 12 presentations were made at the conference. Not every presentation was filmed. For details about the conference, the programme, background reading and discussions on the day, see here.

Diana Francis, Looking at everyday militarisation

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28 October 2013

This report from ForcesWatch, shows that young soldiers recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds are substantially more likely than other troops to return from war experiencing problems with their mental health. It calls for the policy of recruiting from age 16 to be reviewed so that the greatest burden of risk is not left to the youngest, most vulnerable recruits to shoulder.

Download the full report (PDF 1294kb)

Download the Executive Summary (PDF 268kb)

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August 2013

This paper, published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, indicates that the risk of fatality in Afghanistan for British Army recruits aged 16 and completed training has been twice as high as it has for those enlisting at 18 or above. This increased risk reflects the disproportionately high number of 16 year olds who join front-line Infantry roles. This is mainly the result of recruitment policies which drive the youngest recruits into the Army’s most dangerous roles.

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