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Denis Halliday

The following report, from early October, contains some interesting
comments from Denis Halliday (resigned UN director for humanitarian aid
in Iraq) amoungst others. It also gives an idea of some of the high-level
campaigning going on in the US.

After the report I've included a few press releases from the same period
which contain some more quotes from Denis Halliday if anyone's
particularly interested. We're hoping to have Mr Halliday speak in
Cambridge next term -- I'll keep you posted!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 18:14:05 -0400
From: Khaled Elgindy <>
                           A A I   U p d a t e

Dear Friends:

Today's ad hoc "hearing" on the humanitarian effects of the sanctions on
the people of Iraq was a major success and tuirning point in the
struggle to end the sanctions on the Iraqi people [see summary below].
In addition, after five months of grassroots organizing and Washington
lobbying, the Conyers-Kilpatrick-Bonior letter was finally sent to the
President today with 44 signatures (that's 10% of the House of Rep's!)

Today's hearings, held at 10:00 AM in 1310 Longworth HOB was chaired by
Congressman John Conyers and featured expert testimony by Denis
Halliday, out-going UN Assistant Secretary General and Coordinator for
the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, Dr. Peter Pellett, Professor of
Nutrition at U. Mass-Amherst
and author of several nutritional surveys of conditions in Iraqi for the
UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and Phyllis Bennis, UN and
Middle East Fellow
at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Immediately following the hearing, Congressman Conyers was joined by
Reps. McKinney (D-GA), Hastings (D-FL) and Lewis ( D-GA) who led Messrs.
Halliday and Pellett to meetings with Republican and Democratic leaders
of the House and Senate Foreign Relations to request official hearings
to investigate the humanitarian impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi
people.  If they are unable to secure official hearings in the Senate
and House Foreign Affairs Committees, Congressman Conyers has promised
to approach Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to hold a special hearing of the
Congressional Black Caucus.

-------------Summary of Hearing------------------------------

JC: Conyers began by expressing concern about an anti-Saddam resolution.
The legislation approved last night gives our government license to
bring Saddam Hussein to an international court of justice using any
possible means. Moreover, the CIA would be given carte blanche for this
operation. Conyers sarcastically commented that it was “very charitable”
because normally the CIA doesn’t consult with anybody. Conyers pointed
out that this resolution shows that Saddam Hussein has achieved a
considerable level of significance and the overwhelming Congressional
support for the resolution testifies to this fact. In fact, all bust
thirty eight members voted for this resolution. The vote also signifies
that it is now official policy in Congress that Saddam must be brought
down and punished.

 Conyers was distressed by the vote but has certain actions in mind.
First, Conyers is going to appeal to the leading members of the House
and Senate foreign affairs committee to allow the present panel to
appear before them and put on record the position of tens of millions of
Americans. Conyers hopes this would put the policy prespective in a
better light.

 Conyers concluded by stating that the President is a good friend of his
and he hope that Clinton takes this information to heart. Conyers said
that he is even prepared to go to the First Lady to portray the plight
of Iraqi civilians. Finally, Conyers remarked that a president seeking
forgiveness should be willing to forgive (Iraq).

PB: Bennis began by stating that it crucial to understand as citizens
that our government calls the shots in regards to Iraq.

 In light of recent events, Bennis was dismayed about the recent reports
that the U.S. is downsizing its operation and scaling back inspections
in Iraq. Instead of delinking the military sanctions from economic
sanctions, the U.S. is actually doing the reverse. Bennis advocated that
the sanctions regime be broadened to specifically identify arms
suppliers and sources of prohibited precursors for weapons of mass

 Bennis also pointed out that Cease-fire resolution 687 calls for a
region wide effort for a region-wide effort for a zone in the Middle
East free from weapons of mass destruction.

 Bennis concluded by recommending that the U.S. must increase efforts to
find a more workable solution to the problem. The CIA should not been
turned loose and the administration should not continue to make
unilateral military threats against Iraq.

PP: Pellett began by stating that he came to this hearing solely as a
nutritional scientist.

Pellett’s main case of contention was derived from a number of surveys
which all tell the same story. According to Pellett, the accuracy of
these surveys rests on the standard program used. Some of the measures
included a random selection of adults and children, a comparison with
World Health Organization standards and a pre-determined body/mass
index. Other surveys from UNICEF, FAO and other UN groups all show
evidence of severe malnutrition in hospitals, increased mortality and a
general breakdown of the social fabric.

Pellett was quite candid in his criticism of the embargo. According to
Pellett, we should not be surprised that embargoes are intended to hurt
and produce deprivation. The sanctions on Iraq represent a policy that
can easily be forgotten. In reality, the sanctions have actually
strengthened Saddam Huseein and has reinforced the hard-liners within
his government.

Pellett concluded by stating that the “ultimate irony is that all these
policies are being conducted in the name of the United Nations.”

DH: Halliday’s focus was to underscore the real impact of the sanctions.
Halliday did not want to repeat what had been previously said about
malnutrition but only to add that there will be consequences for today
and tomorrow.

 According to Halliday, ten days ago in Baghdad WHO reported that it
estimated five to six thousand children die monthly. Halliday added that
in rural areas, where there are many unregistered deaths, this figure is
likely to be much higher. Halliday stated that “the human cost and human
rights violations continue to bring anxiety to many of us.” This
phenomenon underscores the tragic incompatibility of sanctions and the
UN charter and threatens to further undermine the credibility of
international organizations.

 The first significant response to tragedy in Iraq came in February 1998
report by the Secretary General. This was a proposal to increase the oil
for food program and to enhance the food basket in Iraq. Moreover, this
was to take on a multi-sectoral approach and investing in the totality
of needs. This program was to put real money into health care and other
basic infrastructure projects like water sanitation. Halliday stated
that this dream has entirely died because of the collapse in the price
of oil.

 Halliday further outlined the profound social consequences of the
economic sanctions. Halliday said that it is not generally reported the
impact on the family is tremendous. The rise in single-parent families,
the number of orphans, the divorce rate, homeless rate and growth in
prostitution have all ensued. The effect on children has resulted in a
twenty to thirty percent drop out rate, rise in street crime, begging
and illiteracy. The effect on young adults has caused employment and has
fostered anger and impatience. It also been a detriment for young
couples who wish to settle down. The effect on professionals has
resulted in a serious brain drain and loss to the intellectual endeavor.
The effect on women has been that advances they had made in the civil
and professional sectors have now been set back. According to Halliday,
women must now go back to menial occupations.

 Halliday stated that the sanctions desired effect on Iraqi governance
has been entirely misplaced. People is Iraq have no inclination or time
to focus on governance. Rather, sheer survival has become the issue
instead of a positive change on the governmental system.

 Psychologically speaking, the effect of sanction has put the Iraqi
people “out of touch”. Halliday believes this isolation will hurt most
in the long term. Halliday indicated that the Iraqi citizen’s lack of
access to western thinking, understanding and travel. Furthermore, the
medical profession has been set back six to eight years. Halliday noted
that the  net result of sanctions has resulted in a generation of more
introverted Iraqis. Their political orientation will be a concern with
more anger, impatience and radical movements coming to the forefront.

 The long term impact on democracy in Iraq will be realized only when
economic recovery is achieved.

CL: Levan briefly noted that the letter with forty four signatures is a
product of extensive consultations with leaders across a broad spectrum
of society.


Press Release
For Immediate Release from Peace Action                         
October 6, 1998                                                 

44 Reps., 2 Senators Send Clinton letters Calling for Easing Iraq 
Former UN Official Denounces Iraq Sanctions at Congressional Hearing

Washington DC - A bipartisan ad-hoc congressional hearing on Tuesday,
October 6 on the effects of sanctions on Iraqi civilians coincided with
the official delivery to President Clinton of a congressional letter
calling upon the U.S. government to delink economic sanctions from
military sanctions, improve and expand the "oil-for-food" program, and
stop impeding the flow of humanitarian goods into Iraq.  The letter has
gathered the signatures of 44 U.S. members of Congress.  Senators Paul
Wellstone (D-MN) and Spencer Abraham (R-MI) also sent the President a
letter calling for the easing of sanctions on Iraq

"UNICEF confirms that five to six thousand Iraqi children are dying
unnecessarily every month due to the impact of the sanctions, and that
figure is probably modest," Denis Halliday told a bipartisan ad-hoc
congressional hearing on the effects of sanctions on Iraqi civilians. ..

Mr. Halliday, who resigned last Wednesday from his posts as UN Assistant
Secretary-General and head of the UN humanitarian mission in Iraq, spoke
of the "tragic incompatibility of sanctions with the UN charter and the
Convention on Human Rights."  The hearing was chaired by Rep. John Conyers
(D-MI), who said that he would insist on full committee hearings on this
issue.  The hearing was organized with the aid of the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Arab-American Institute (AAI),
and a national network of religious and peace organizations.

"The death of one Iraqi child attributable to economic sanctions is one
death too many, unfortunately we are faced with thousands," Mr. Halliday
testified.  "It is unnecessary and unacceptable to allow this human
tragedy to continue," he told the hearing.

"The economic embargo was designed to induce depravation and poverty,"
testified nutrition expert Dr. Peter Pellett, who has conducted several
studies of conditions in Iraq for the UN Food and Agricultural
organization (FAO).  Dr. Pellett said that "The sanctions policy has
already caused more devastation in Iraq than a civilized world should be
willing to accept, and it is the ultimate irony that this is being done in
the name of the United Nations."

Both witnesses said that they believed that the UN sanctions on Iraq were
not undermining the Iraqi government, only hurting innocent civilians.  
Mr. Halliday said that, as a result, "they could breed fanaticism and
deep-seated resentment in future generations."

Institute for Public Accuracy
(202) 347-0020  *
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
Thursday, October 8, 1998
     Denis Halliday, who resigned last week as the UN's Humanitarian
Coordinator of the "oil-for-food" program in Iraq and testified at a
Congressional hearing Tuesday, is available for interviews.
     Explaining his resignation in protest of the UN policy on Iraq,
Halliday said: "UNICEF (UN Children's Fund) confirms that 5,000 to 6,000
Iraqi children are dying unnecessarily every month due to the impact of
the sanctions, and that figure is probably modest."
     Halliday, who also served as Assistant Secretary General at the UN,
commented: "I think nobody anticipated the duration of these sanctions and
therefore the human cost that they represent in terms of child mortality,
infant mortality, chronic and acute malnutrition, and the collapse of many
of the most positive aspects of Iraq's society." Sanctions against Iraq
have been in place since 1990.
     While conceding that there had been some easing of suffering because
of the "oil-for-food" program, Halliday said that some 7,000 people still
die every month in Iraq as a result of the sanctions. He spoke of the
"tragic incompatibility of sanctions with the UN Charter and the
Convention on Human Rights."
     Halliday said he believed that the sanctions were not undermining the
Iraqi government and were only hurting innocent civilians. He added that
the sanctions "could breed fanaticism and deep-seated resentment in future
     Forty-four members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.),
began a campaign Tuesday calling for a halt to the economic sanctions
against Iraq. They have signed a letter to President Clinton asking him to
strengthen military sanctions and to eliminate non-military sanctions
against Iraq.
     In another letter, Senators Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and Spencer
Abraham (R-Mich.) called for approval of contracts for spare parts for
Iraq's oil industry as part of a program for Iraq to sell oil to gain
revenue for humanitarian assistance.
DENIS HALLIDAY is available for interviews:
Also, see
For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167


BBC News Online
Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK 
World: Middle East



The outgoing co-ordinator of the UN oil-for-food deal in Iraq, Denis
Halliday, has launched a scathing attack on the policy of sanctions,
branding them '' a totally bankrupt concept''. 

In his surprise remarks, Denis Halliday, said his 13-month stint had
taught him the "damage and futility" of sanctions. 

''It doesn't impact on governance effectively and instead it damages
the innocent people of the country,'' he told Reuters news agency. 

"It probably strengthens the leadership and further weakens the
people of the country.'' 

Mr Halliday, who has resigned after more than 30 years with the United
Nations, leaves his post in Baghdad on Wednesday. 

He was co-ordinator of the programme that allows Iraq to sell
limited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and other supplies. 

He said maintaining the crippling trade embargo imposed on Iraq for
its 1990 invasion of Kuwait was incompatible with the UN charter as
well as UN conventions on human rights and the rights of the child. 

But Mr Halliday believed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan favoured
a fresh look at sanctions as a means of influencing states to change
their policies - in Iraq's case making it scrap its weapons of mass
destruction, and long-range missiles. 

"I'm beginning to see a change in the thinking of the United Nations,
the secretary-general, many of the member states, who have realised
through Iraq in particular that sanctions are a failure and the price
you extract for sanctions is unacceptably high.'' 

His comments follow criticism recently by a top UN weapons
inspector, Scott Ritter, of the US and UK for failing to take a tougher
line over the inspections. 


Mr Halliday said disarmament was a legitimate aim, but took issue
with the "open-ended" and politicised nature of weapons searches in

"There is an awful incompatibility here, which I can't quite deal with
myself. I just note that I feel extremely uncomfortable flying the UN
flag, being part of the UN system here," he added. 

Mr Halliday said it was correct to draw attention to the "4,000 to
5,000 children dying unnecessarily every month due to the impact of
sanctions because of the breakdown of water and sanitation,
inadequate diet and the bad internal health situation". 

But he said sanctions were biting into the fabric of Iraqi society in
other, less visible ways. 

He cited the disruption of family life caused by the departure overseas of
two to three million Iraqi professionals. 

He said sanctions had increased divorces and reduced the number
of marriages because young couples could not afford to wed. 

"It has also produced a new level of crime, street children, possibly even
an increase in prostitution," he said.

"This is a town where people used to leave the key in the front door,
leave their cars unlocked, where crime was almost unknown. We
have, through the sanctions, really disrupted this quality of life, the
standard of behaviour that was common in Iraq before." 


Mr Halliday argued that the "alienation and isolation of the younger
Iraqi generation of leadership" did not bode well for the future. 

He said many senior government figures had been trained in the West
and exposed to the outside world. 

Their children had stayed at home through the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war,
the 1991 Gulf War and now

"They don't have a great deal of exposure to travel, even to reading
materials, television, never mind technological change," he said. 

"I think these people are going to have a real problem in terms of how
to deal with the world in the near future." 

Likening their introverted development to that of Afghanistan's
Taleban movement, Mr Halliday said younger Iraqis were intolerant
of what they considered their leaders' excessive moderation. 

Mr Halliday noted mosque attendance had soared during the
sanctions era as people sought solace in religion - a change from
Iraq's hitherto largely secular colouring.. 

"What should be of concern is the possibility at least of more
fundamentalist Islamic thinking developing," he said. 

"It is not well understood as a possible spin-off of the sanctions regime.
We are pushing people to take extreme positions." 

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