Iraq: Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign
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IRAQ: CPT announces closure of Adopt-a-Detainee campaign
[21 September 2005]
After a year and a half of coordinated advocacy for Iraqis detained by U.S. and other occupying forces, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is ending its Adopt-a-Detainee Letter-Writing Campaign. CPT's Iraq project will, however, continue to monitor the situation of Iraqis captured by the Multinational Force in Iraq (MNF) and by the new Iraqi Forces.
The Adopt-a-Detainee Letter-Writing Campaign, beginning in March 2004, matched individual detainees with congregations, mosques, synagogues, and peace groups in North America and around the world. These groups wrote letters to U.S., Iraqi and other relevant officials on the detainees' behalf. The campaign grew out of CPT's investigation of and reporting on abuses within the U.S.-run detention system in Iraq during the fall of 2003. The Adopt-a-Detainee Letter-Writing Campaign included a total of twenty-seven detainees, nine of whom U.S. officials released during the campaign, ten of whom were still detained at last word, and seven of whom U.S. officials never confirmed as detained (i.e., the "disappeared.")
During the campaign, at least 1,000 people and groups participated from Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. CPT expresses its sincere gratitude to all of those who participated in the campaign in various ways.
Changes in administrations during the past two years--from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, to the Interim Iraqi Government, to the current Transitional Iraqi Government--forced CPT to adapt its approach several times. While supportive of improvements made within the detention system in Iraq since the fall of 2003, CPT condemned the U.S. military's ongoing refusal to uphold basic human rights standards for the thousands of Iraqi detainees still in their custody.
Since the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis in June 2004, CPT has experienced U.S. officials in Iraq becoming increasingly unresponsive to appeals for reform, both from team members on location in Iraq and from letter-writers abroad.
Consequently, CPT members in Baghdad decided they needed to shift their immediate focus in order to continue toward their long-term goals of violence reduction and human rights for Iraqi detainees. While officially closing the Adopt-a-Detainee Letter-Writing Campaign, CPT in Iraq will continue to monitor the situation of Iraqi detainees and develop new strategies to reduce violence against the Iraqis still in detention.