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AIUK's Annual General Meeting is in Cardiff in April. Proposals for motions at this meeting must be with AIUK by the very latest 5pm on the 10TH FEBRUARY. I am assuming similar timetables for other countries. AMNESTY UK INTEND TO PUT FORWARD A MOTION ASKING AI's INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL TO 'LOOK AGAIN' AT THE ISSUE OF SANCTIONS ON STATES. This sounds like good news, but for the Iraqi people is not nearly good enough. AIUK are saying that this 8 year ongoing humanitarian disaster, which contravenes almost all known human rights legislation and which is documented thoroughly by dozens of independent aid agencies and other bodies, "needs further study" before they are going to speak out about it. The International Council Meeting (ICM) will most likely be 'looking again' at the sanctions issue for a year or more, and even then their conclusions are uncertain. They may yet conclude that it is a matter for the mandate review, which means no effective change wil take place until about August of 2001, if at all. With 250 Iraqi people dying needlessly every day, this delay is a disaster for the ordinary population of Iraqi, and shames any group purporting to be a reputable human rights organisation. We will be proposing a motion which calls for the ICM to treat this situation as an emergency and to formulate policy on it NOW. This takes only a re-interpretaion of the mandate, which can easily cover the abuses in Iraq (and other countries for that matter, eg Cuba) - for details on the mandate see my past postings re Amnesty's Silence or contact me directly. Motion proposals for the AGM can be from individuals or groups. Proposal forms are available from Sarah Last at AIUK, tel. 0171 417 6352. I also have a copy saved as a Word document if any member/ group wants one. It would be best if proposals are not country-specific, ie that they call for action on Sanctions in general, not just those on Iraq. The example of Iraq can be used in 'background notes' which may accompany the proposal, and is obviously required to justify the 'emergency' nature of the motion. A member of AI who I spoke to about these procedures (who shall remain nameless) said that such motions are probably unlikely to succeed, though it is worth trying. He said the motion may fail because it is clearly "not an emergency". I bit my tongue, but what he meant was that in terms of Amnesty going through their procedures it was not an emergency. In humanitarian terms it certainly is. After a motion at last year's AGM (how many Iraqis have died since then?) AIUK has met, dicussed the situation and come to the conclusion that they will only ask the ICM to 'look again'. Hence no emergency. It's an 8 year problem, it hasn't just appeared out of the blue, like one might say of the Rwanda emergency. I THINK WE HAVE TO ARGUE THAT THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. An emergency situation should be defined by the cost it is having in human lives and misery, not by how slowly it has taken AI to *react* to it. We should move that AIUK's current position is grossly inadequate in relation to the scale of ongoing human rights abuses and that the mandate needs to be reinterpreted NOW. Other countries may well be proposing such motions to the ICM, and they may act on these. But we cannot rely on the chance that others may be acting as we would wish. I believe we have to do all we can to push the ICM on this one. I WOULD URGE ALL MEMBERS AND GROUPS TO PROPOSE SUCH MOTIONS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (a number of UK groupds are proposing such motions) AND TO TURN UP AT THE AGM IN NUMBERS TO SUPPORT AND ARGUE THAT SUCH A MOTION BE PASSED. I believe the greatest enemy we face in the fight to lift sanctions is public ignorance. From personal experience, if people hear the facts they are easily persuaded to take the humanitarian view. IF AMNESTY REPRESENTATIVES WERE TO BE APPEARING ON TV AND RADIO PROGRAMMES INFORMING THE PUBLIC OF THE FACTS DAY AFTER DAY, (AS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING SO WELL DURING THE PINOCHET CASE), PEOPLE WOULD KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THEIR NAMES, AND I BELIEVE THEY WOULD STAND AGAINST THIS INHUMAN TREATMENT OF INNOCENT PEOPLE. Once again, I urge all concerned members and groups to act now and get Amnesty working on this as it should have been since 1990 - for the sake of the 250 who will die needlessly today, tomorrow, and the next day and the next until people, and organisations of people, expose this crime and rail against it. Power to yer elbows! Glenn Bassett firstname.lastname@example.org -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html