The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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For newcomers to the Announcements List of Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI), we are presently running a monthly letter-writing campaign. This month's letter (courtesy of Voices in the Wilderness UK) is at the bottom of this message (together with a summary). You can either print it out or base your own letter on it. After you have sent a letter, please send me a brief e-mail to let me know, so that we can assess the effectiveness of this campaign. Last month's letter ------------------- Many thanks to those who sent off last month's letter. The response was reasonable but not overwhelming. Please remember that YOUR LETTER DOESN'T HAVE TO BE LENGTHY. It doesn't even have to be particularly good. Busy M.P.s probably don't pay much attention to the content of such letters but rather to the fact that you were bothered enough to put pen to paper. The main thing is to register your concern about the humanitarian situation and let your voice be heard. Who to write to --------------- If you are British or a foreign citizen living/ studying in the UK, write to YOUR LOCAL M.P (students could write to their university and/or home M.P.) Additionally you could write to the Foreign Office (your M.P. may or may not pass your letter on to them automatically.) Below are also the addresses of other people you might want to write to. Otherwise, write to your representative in your own country. If they are already sympathetic, write to support them in this stance. Addresses --------- British MPs: House of Commons, London SW1 1AA Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP, Foreign Secretary: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles St., London SW1A 2AH Derek Fatchett MP, Minister of State: House of Commons, London SW1 1AA Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister: 10 Downing St., London SW1 Menzies Campbell MP, Lib Dem Speaker on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Defence: House of Commons, London SW1 1AA/ firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Howard MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary: House of Commons, London SW1 1AA Summary of the Letter --------------------- 1. You are concerned at the continuing humanitarian crisis; the effect of the sanctions, particularly on children. 2. The Oil-for-Food agreement is inadequate and the proposed lifting of the cap on oil sales will do next to nothing because of low oil-prices and the delapidated state of the oil industry. 3. The three panels convened by the UN to consider the issue of Iraq are unnecessary, their recommendations not binding and only serve to cause further delays in dealing with the humanitarian crisis. 4. You urge your M.P. to raise these points with the government and to ask it to press for the immediate lifting of ECONOMIC sanctions. The letter ---------- Dear [name] MP I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and wish you to seek changes in government policy. As you will be aware, eight and half years of economic sanctions, coupled with the massive infrastructural damage done to Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, have had a devastating effect on the Iraqi people. Thousands of children are dying every month and hundreds of thousands are facing the possibility of permanent physical and mental stunting as a result of chronic malnutrition. I realise that the UN is operating an ‘oil-for-food’ programme to mitigate the crisis in Iraq, but this has clearly been inadequate, as indicated by the resignation of Denis Halliday, former head of the programme in Iraq. The US has now proposed lifting the cap (of $5.2 billion) on oil sales permitted Iraq under ‘oil-for-food’. However, as the Economist notes, "with Iraq’s dilapidated wells able to pump only $3 billion-worth [of oil] in the most recent six-month period, and their capacity declining by about 6% a year, the gesture is meaningless" (Economist, 6th February, emphasis added). (The Economist also notes that, were sanctions to be comprehensively lifted, "multinational companies would be free to move in and do a proper repair job on the pipes and pumps", increasing the flow of oil and therefore of essential civilian goods. US national security adviser Sandy Berger has remarked that lifting the cap "is not the same as lifting international sanctions on Iraq, but exactly the opposite.") At the same time, the UN has decided to convene three ‘expert panels’ to review Iraq’s relations with the UN (on disarmament, the humanitarian crisis, and Kuwaiti claims). This can only lead to further delays in fixing a new policy. The panels will not report until mid-April, and their recommendations will not be binding. That delay is US policy was confirmed by the statement of an anonymous "US official with responsibility for Iraq" who was quoted in the Washington Post as saying "The longer we can fool around in the council and keep things static, the better" (28th January). I am very concerned that on both these issues the Government is following a morally bankrupt policy emanating from Washington, delaying while thousands of children are dying every month. There is simply no need for a panel review of the humanitarian crisis - there is ample evidence of suffering from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, and other impartial bodies. The lifting of the nominal cap on oil-for-food does nothing to relieve this suffering, and seems merely to be a cynical public relations move. Neither initiative shows real concern for the 22 million ordinary people of Iraq. I ask you to raise these points with the Government, to put my concerns to relevant ministers, and to ask the Government to press for the immediate lifting of the economic sanctions. Yours sincerely,