Conscientious objector Cliff Cornell

Not sent after

Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (President Barack Obama). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

Dear President Barack Obama,

I am very concerned about the sentencing of conscientious objector Cliff Cornell, who was sentenced on 28 April 2009 to 12 months, after he returned from Canada in February 2009.

Four years ago, Cliff Cornell fled to Canada rather than fight a war in Iraq he deems immoral and illegal. In February 2009, he returned voluntarily to the US after he had been refused asylum in Canada, and turned himself in to the military authorities.

The United States recognises the human right to conscientious objection in principle, but in practice many conscientious objectors are denied to exercise their right, and are sentenced by military courts instead - just as has happened to Cliff Cornell. This in practice is a violation of their human right to conscientious objection.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

I therefore urge you to immediately release Cliff Cornell, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.