Campaigns are sustained calls for individual and community action related to CPT's program work, and may last weeks, months or even years.
A program of CPT Iraq, the Adopt-a-Detainee Letter-Writing Campaign 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, before the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal. The 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.
Changes in administrations during the course of the campaign -- from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, to the Interim Iraqi Government, to the 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.
After the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis in June 2004, CPT 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 continued to monitor the situation of Iraqi detainees and develop new strategies to reduce violence against the Iraqis still in detention.
CPT’s Campaign for Secure Dwellings provided an international response to the Israeli government’s threat to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes located near Israeli settlements and their highways.
Working in coordination with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and the Palestine Land Defense Committee, the campaign matched congregations with Palestinian families in the Hebron area facing home demolition.
The congregations and families exchanged profiles, letters and photographs. The North American families wrote letters to their representatives, the Israeli government and the U.S. State Department describing the threat that their partner family faced. Canadian and U.S. churches also held vigils and witnesses outside Israeli Consulate offices and the local offices of their senators. One congregation parked a bulldozer in front of the Israeli consulate in Toronto and hung a banner on it that read, “Stop the demolitions.”
An entry-point issue: Home demolitions proved to be an effective entry issue into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for both internationals and Israelis, and engaged people who otherwise would not have been concerned with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Regardless of someone’s politics, almost no one thought demolishing Palestinian homes so that Israeli settlements could expand was a good idea.
Increased pressure: Amid
the gloom of continuing demolitions, the pressure on the Israeli and American
governments increased due to letter writing and fax campaigns. A contact in the U.S. State Department said
the Department received more letters on the home demolition issue than it did
for any other issue in the entire Middle East. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began to
issue great, though unpublicized, pressure on the Israeli government to stop
Demolitions decreased: the Israelis destroyed around 350 homes in 1997, 250 in 1998, 175 in 1999, and then demolitions dropped to a handful in 2000, none of which took place in the Hebron district. The downward trend was due to many factors, but we do recognize CPT played a small part in decreasing demolitions.
Creating a network: After its first year, the campaign had matched fifty-eight churches with families who had experienced or were facing home demolition. A surprising number of North Americans participated in CPT delegations to Palestine to specifically visit the families matched with their congregation.