Introduction: Relationship between the International Conferences and CPTI

(pdf version in A4 format)

By Dominique Boisvert (Canada)

At the conference we discovered how CPTI (Conscientious Peace Tax International) was a totally separate entity from the WTR-PTC Conferences, despite the fact that CPTI grew out of the Conferences, and what type of relationship existed between the two entities:

  • The WTR-PTC Conferences were initiated in 1986 in Germany to gather sympathisers of all kinds of resistance/opposition/alternatives to war taxes (some were real groups or movements, others were more individuals in certain countries). It turned out that they decided to meet again 2 years later, and from then on, every 2 years; but without any formal structures or links in between these biennial Conferences; at the end of each one, a group or individual from another country would invite for the next Conference and take charge of its preparation. Some participants would be more steady but a lot of participants were only one time or two time participants; often, a majority of participants would come from the host country but not always (as this year)
  • At the 1992 Conference in Belgium, there were discussions about the usefulness of creating a sort of international committee that will take the lobby work for CO at the international level (UN Human Rights Commission, Council of Europe, etc.); and in 1994, in Spain, the CPTI was created as this international committee NOT to federate or coordinate the various  WTR-PTCs present at the biennial Conferences, NEITHER to serve as liaison or follow up between the Conferences, BUT ONLY to ensure the WTR-PTCs lobby at the international level (mainly in New York and Geneva for the UN and in Brussels for Europe); a few years later in 1996, CPTI was incorporated under Belgium law and in 1999 got official Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) of the UN.
  • That is why the CPTI Board and General Assembly are legally completely different and separate from the WTR-PTCs biennial Conferences, though practically speaking the CPTI General Assembly always meet at the same time as the Conferences, works out of consensus and considers all Conference participants as de facto CPTI members.
  • The CPTI has its own Board (contrary to the Conferences which, up to now, had no follow-up mechanism) made up of individuals who are not there as delegates from their own country or movements, which meets generally about once a year and works through emails in between. CPTI also has representatives (working mainly on a volunteer basis for CPTI, though their professional work may be also connected to this task, usually through Quakers or Mennonites connections) in both Geneva (Derek Brett) and New York (John Randall and Rosa Packard). In Belgium, Dirk Panhuis, the CPTI secretary, is one of the key contacts for CPTI.