USA: CO Kimberly Rivera gives birth in custody
Kim Rivera, a conscientious objector who deserted between deployments in Iraq, has just given birth to a child in prison. Unless she is given clemency now, she will be immediately separated from her son and be returned to Fort Carson to serve the rest of her sentence for desertion.
Write to the President demanding her release here: /node/22733
Kimberly fled to Canada between deployments in 2007 having become convinced of the wrongfulness of the war in Iraq. She was not made aware of the opportunity to apply for conscientious objector status by the army Chaplain she visited in Iraq to discuss the fact that she had decided that she could not take a life.
In an interview conducted on the eve of her court-martial, Rivera said, “When I saw the little girl [in Iraq] shaking in fear, in fear of me, because of my uniform, I couldn’t fathom what she had been through and all I saw was my little girl and I just wanted to hold her and comfort her. But I knew I couldn’t. It broke my heart. I am against hurting anyone… I would harm myself first. I felt this also made me a liability to my unit and I could not let me be a reason for anyone to be harmed—so I left… Even though I did not fill out the official application to obtain conscientious objector status, I consider myself a conscientious objector to all war.”
Ignoring international standards
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 protest letters to the US authorities - you can do that via the email form here - /node/22733.
Please also contact the American Embassy in your own country. Contact details can be found here: www.usembassy.gov.
You can also write to Kim at:
P.O. Box 452136
San Diego, CA 92145-2136
Finally, you can sign the petition to release Kim here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/752/756/678/free-a-pregnant-war-resister…
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objector Kimberly, and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.
War Resisters' International