All items from ForcesWatch

In the run up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June we provide background information on how this and other public events are part of a concerted effort to increase general support for the military amongst the public, stifle criticism and recruit young people. We list events that challenge the militarism of Armed Forces Day with messages of peace and resistance.

22/05/2018 ForcesWatch comment

We interviewed poet and campaigner Ambrose Musiyiwa for Peace News on militarisation in Leicester and how local people are acting to resist militarism.

A soldier gives a machine gun demonstration to a child in Leicester city centre.

12/05/2018 recent article

 

A public meeting to launch a report by Paul Dixon, 'Warrior Nation: War, militarisation and British democracy'.

With

Professor Paul Dixon (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck College, University of London) and author of Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play Invade Our Lives.

Chaired by Marigold Bentley, Director of Quaker Peace and Social Witness. 

Monday 25 June, 7-9pm (doors open 6.30) at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

All welcome. Organised by ForcesWatch

 

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

  

25/04/2018 ForcesWatch comment

Former education minister Robert Goodwill has been tasked with drawing up a report for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the benefits of ‘military ethos’ in schools. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has suggested this could include ‘military academies’ in disadvantaged areas.

We consider the ethics of imposing an ethos from outside of education, especially when it serves interests at odds with the best interests of young people.

Watch The Unseen March for a critique of 'military ethos'

This submission made by ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament's human rights inquiry details our concerns around the need for regulation and transparent accountability of military activities in schools, the lack of education about peace and human rights, and the continued recruitment of children into the UK armed forces.

We refer to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child for change in the UK's policy and practice, and support for our concerns by child rights organisations. We make a number of recommendations regarding how the Scottich Parliament can more vigorously support childrens rights in Scotland.

20/03/2018 recent article

On the day that the Harrogate abuse court martials were dropped and the press was allowed to comment after reporting restrictions were lifted, there was coverage in almost all the major news outlets. Our comments, and those of partner organisations, were also reported.

20/03/2018 ForcesWatch comment

Members of the Scottish Parliament have agreed to produce a report into military visits in Scotland’s schools in a response to our petition on the issue.

19/03/2018 ForcesWatch comment

Three cases involving over 40 claimants and 16 Army instructors have collapsed, raising a number of serious concerns about failings within the military justice system. As a result, serious allegations of abuse against very young recruits have not been tested. We call for changes to the system and question whether a military environment where aggression is fostered will ever be condusive to the wellbeing of young recruits.

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Defence Committee's Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health Inquiry.

We conclude that:

More independent research, in anonymised conditions, needs to be carried out in a number of areas, including:

  • The relationship between early enlistment (especially junior entry), prior vulnerabilities such as socio-economic disadvantage, and short and long-term health impacts.
  • The connection between military training and mental ill-health.
  • Developmental issues that affect adolescents in particular, for example in assessing and appreciating long-term risk and making an informed decision to enlist.
  • Moral injury and how issues of conscience impact mental health.

Steps should be taken to improve legal procedures by which claims of harassment and bullying are investigated and incidents are reported within the military.

In order to avoid mental health risks to young soldiers, junior entry recruitment of those under 18 should end. There needs to be greater understanding about pre-enlistment risk factors for psychological ill-health such as socio-economic disadvantage and childhood adversity, and a consequent shift away from recruitment marketing that targets vulnerable groups.

Our security image

ForcesWatch are working with the Rethinking Security network and Quakers in Britain to develop educational materials in schools on the theme of 'our security'.

12/02/2018 ForcesWatch comment

Today is the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. Today also sees the start of a court martial of 16 instructors at Army Foundation College Harrogate which trains young recruits aged under 18. They are charged with numerous counts of bullying and abuse.

06/02/2018 ForcesWatch comment

We report on a recent meeting in Parliament with a range of speakers on the urgent need to raise the age of recruitment to the armed forces in the UK.

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Education Committee's Alternative Provision Inquiry

This submission briefly outlines 'alternative provision with a military ethos' and details a number of concerns - relative effectiveness, targeting disadvantage, lack of consultation and lack of scrutiny.

10/01/2018 ForcesWatch comment

ForcesWatch comment on the 2018 British Army recruitment advertising campaign: We welcome any commitments and improvements the military makes to the welfare of soldiers but caution that the reality of military life is not accurately represented in this new campaign, and that the welfare of recruits into the Army should not be overlooked.