To: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Poor People's Campaign Calls on United Nations to Hold Trump/U.S. Accountable for War Crimes

The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is gravely disturbed, indeed outraged, by the death that is occurring because of our President’s rogue actions in the Middle East. We join with faith leaders and moral advocates across the country in requesting that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights hold our government accountable for violating the UN Charter and escalating us toward war with Iran.

The lives of people in the Middle East and around the globe hang in the balance. The lives of those we represent — among the 140 million poor and low wealth in the United States, 43% of the U.S. population — also hang in the balance as the world teeters on the precipice of a devastating war. We are calling on the public to add your name below, calling on U.N. High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to work with the U.N. to take immediate action.

Why is this important?

Dear Commissioner Bachelet,

We write gravely disturbed, indeed outraged, by the death that is occurring because of our President’s rogue actions in the Middle East. His willingness to bypass congressional approval, violate international law, pardon convicted war criminals, implement harsher sanctions and abandon existing peace deals, sets a dangerous precedent that can have continued lethal and destabilizing results.

The U.S. President's order to carry out a lethal drone strike violated the UN Charter's prohibition on the use of force. The assassination of General Qassim Suleimani represented an act of war against a country with whom the United States was not at war. Trump’s claim of imminent danger from Suleimani is unfounded and must be investigated.

The threat to add new sanctions to Iran, and to involve the NATO military alliance, all indicate that the threat of war remains very real. Furthermore, we know that the majority of impact from these sanctions will be on the poor.

We will not be silent as our president publicly announces willingness to commit a minimum of 52 violations of international law and war crimes — attacking civilian and cultural centers, including churches, museums, mosques and libraries in Iran. Further, Trump has said he would do it once again without authorization from Congress. Indeed, these are disturbing, world-altering actions which, if allowed, will bring war that could escalate to world-wide proportions.

As U.S. moral advocates and faith leaders who understand our collective accountability to human rights for all around the world, we are requesting your immediate intervention in the present moral crisis. The United States, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, threatens international peace and security. The United Nations, beginning with its human rights system, must respond to its violations of human rights, its violations of international law and the UN Charter, and its violations of the laws of war.

The lives of people in the Middle East and around the globe hang in the balance. The lives of those we represent — among the 140 million poor and low wealth in the United States, 43% of the U.S. population — also hang in the balance as the world teeters on the precipice of a devastating war.

Dr. Martin Luther King taught us that “war is the enemy of the poor.” War is a crime against the poor civilians of Iran, Iraq, and the whole Middle East region, who pay for U.S. wars with the destruction of their lives, their health, their homes and their country’s environment. It’s a crime against the poor of the U.S. as well who pay with their tax dollars going to the Pentagon instead of to jobs, health care and a green new deal. And who pay with their lives and health through disproportionate service in the military.

As a nation, we cannot seek goodness and peace while at the same time pursuing the evils of war. We cannot uproot systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the false moral narrative while embracing militarism and the war economy.

We believe that the international community, through the United Nations, alongside mobilized social movements of poor and marginalized and committed people, must respond to these violations of human rights, the violations of international law, the threats of more war crimes to come.

It is with profound humility and careful moral discernment that we are urging you to help hold our government accountable for making war on the Middle East and on its own people.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
President, Repairers of the Breach
Co-Chair Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Executive Director, Kairos Center
Co-Chair Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

[Following in alphabetical order]

Joyce Ajlouny
General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee

Sr. Dottie Almoney
ELCA Deaconess Community

Rev. Traci D. Blackmon
Associate General Minister
Justice & Local Church Ministries
The United Church of Christ

Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies

Bishop Yvette Flunder
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

Imam Khalid Griggs
Vice President
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)

Roshi Joan Jiko Halifax
Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

Rev. Jimmie R. Hawkins
Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Reverend Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson
Executive Director
Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington

Valarie Kaur
Sikh activist
Founder of the Revolutionary Love Project

The Rev. Cindy Kohlmann
Co-Moderator, 223rd General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. Dr. John Mendez
Pastor Emeritus of Emmanuel Baptist Church
Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rev. Mary Katherine Morn
President/CEO Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson
Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Wendsler Nosie Sr.
Former Chairman and Former Councilman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe

Vanessa Nosie
San Carlos Apache Tribal Member

Sister Noreen Stevens
ELCA Deaconess Community

Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner
National Director for Religious Affairs, Repairers of the Breach
Minister, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, New Jersey

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, PhD
The Shalom Center

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Min. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
School for Conversion

Category


Reasons for signing

  • these are serious.
  • Even good governments are constrained by Realpolitik; People Power offers our best hope of an effective UN and an end to impunity and
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