Stop Unjust Imprisonment of Dissidents and Detainees

Target: Joan E. Donoghue, President of UN International Court of Justice

Goal: Support cases brought by political dissidents and individuals who are reportedly unfairly detained.

Paul Whelan, Trevor Reed, and Brittney Griner: the names of these three Americans have been in the spotlight as they are detained in Russia. Their families worry that the charges against them (in two of the cases resulting in multi-year prison sentences) are manufactured and that the Americans are in reality political pawns and hostages. The family of dual Iranian and Austrian citizen Kamran Ghaderi has been living in the same torturous limbo since 2016: the last time they saw their loved one before he was detained by Iranian authorities. He joins many other individuals from various countries imprisoned in Iran. Accusations of sham trials and torture often accompany these detentions. At the same time, brutal crackdowns against protesters have exponentially increased, as evidenced once again in Russia, when an employee of a state-run news network sent a clear anti-war and anti-propaganda message to millions of watchers. Her fate is now unknown.

Around the world, seemingly innocent people are being caught in the crossfire of political power games. They are often subjected to horrific torture, grueling tenures in labor camps, extreme isolation, a complete deprivation of due process, and prison sentences that far exceed the alleged crimes for which they are accused. In the most tragic cases, such as the American Otto Warmbier (detained in North Korea), they only return to their families and their countries in a body bag. The United Nations (UN) International Court of Justice could be a crucial instrument in helping these at-risk people, but the court will not even hear cases brought by individuals.

Sign the petition below to urge an amendment that could save lives.


Dear Ms. Donoghue,

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners: the United Nations  holds these doctrines, and many more, at the center of its mission and philosophy. Unfortunately, the UN is too often absent in enforcing and standing behind these basic tenets of human rights. One of the more troubling lapses exists within the International Court of Justice. This chamber will hear “contentious cases” between nations but coldly closes its door to the plights of individuals.

People are being imprisoned while traveling abroad and used as leverage by countries in dispute at unprecedented rates. More troubling still, individuals are reportedly facing torture, grueling labor, deprivation of medical care, and the harshest prison sentences for peaceful protests within their own countries. Russia’s recent punishing crackdowns are a prime example. In the absence of due process within the nations where they are being detained, these individuals should have an avenue for securing their rights.

Please open the court to individual cases and give thousands of prisoners and families a pathway to freedom.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ron Lach

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