USA: Detention of conscientious objector Kimberly Rivera


Kimberly Rivera, who served with the US Army in Iraq before developing a conscientious objection, has been taken into military custody on her return to the USA yesterday.

Kimberly went absent without leave between deployments in 2007, travelling to Canada with her husband and children, where they claimed refugee status. In January 2009 this was rejected, and she was ordered to leave the country or face deportation. She appealed this decision, but on Monday 16 September a Canadian Federal Court judge denied her request for a stay of removal, finding the possibility of her arrest and detention in the U.S. to be only "speculative".

Kimberley presented herself at the border between Gananoque in Ontario and Fort Drum in New York, according to the War Resisters Support Campaign (…).

She is likely to be court-martialled for desertion and jailed for between two to five years.

Amnesty International have stated that if she is imprisoned she will be a prisoner of conscience (…).

The right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is part of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as recognised in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States of America is a state party.

This includes those who have joined the armed forces voluntarily, since the freedom to change one's religion or belief is recognised in Article 18 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was also specified in the Human Rights Committee General Comment 22, paragraph 5.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the United States' authorities. Protest emails to President Obama can be sent here:, please also contact the American Embassy in your own country. Contact details can be found here:

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Kimberly Rivera.

Hannah Brock
War Resisters' International