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Please reply by 9am, 31 July to be listed as a sponsor. Dear All, 1) The National Coordinating Meeting of the British Anti-Sanctions Movement, a loose network of groups, is about to launch a national petition against sanctions on Iraq. The idea is to collect a very large number of signatures and to hand them in on Universal Children's Day in November. We hope that you will support the petition, circulate it, and publicise it. The text is attached below. 2) In the immediate future, if you are a member of a group which agrees with the petition text and would like to be listed as a sponsor on the petition, please let us know as quickly as possible, and certainly by 9am 31 July, so that we can reproduce the petition and get it out to groups by 6 August, the ninth anniversary of the imposition of sanctions, and the launch date for the petition. (It may be possible to register as a sponsor after that date and to be listed in future editions of the petition.) 3) If you would like copies of the petition to reach you by 6 August, please e-mail us with details of how many copies you would like (or whether you just want a top copy to copy from yourself). 4) On behalf of the NCM, I apologise for the shortness of this deadline, created largely by the difficulty of coordinating the drafting of the petition. 5) Among the groups indicating definite interest are: United Nations Association (UK), CASI, Voices in the Wilderness UK, and Socialist Democracy. 6) If you can make a donation towards the cost of putting this together and circulating/publicising it, we would be very grateful. Please send stamps/cheques made out to Voices in the Wilderness UK, marking cheques NATIONAL PETITION on the back, to 12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ. Best wishes, Milan Rai voices in the wilderness uk 12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ phone/fax: 0181 444 1605 internet: firstname.lastname@example.org FINAL TEXT OF NATIONAL PETITION AGAINST SANCTIONS ON IRAQ SIDE ONE NATIONAL PETITION AGAINST SANCTIONS ON IRAQ Prime Minister, We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned at the humanitarian crisis being caused in Iraq by economic sanctions. Sanctions have plunged ordinary people into misery while leaving the leaders of Iraq untouched. As you know, a Humanitarian Panel of experts commissioned by the UN Security Council to assess the situation in Iraq reported in March 1999 that ‘the country has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty’ during sanctions. The Panel found that child mortality had more than tripled and that ‘infant mortality rates in Iraq are among the highest in the world’. UNICEF reports that a quarter of Iraqi children under five are chronically malnourished. The Humanitarian Panel concluded that the ‘oil-for-food’ relief programme alone could never meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Iraq. British policy makes the health and survival of Iraq’s children conditional on a solution of the inspection crisis. This must stop. We call on you to seek the immediate and unconditional lifting of all non-military sanctions on Iraq. [16 lines] 16 Iraqi children die from sanctions every 3 hours (please see overleaf for details). Please return this petition sheet by 6th November 1999 to ‘National Petition Against Sanctions on Iraq’, 12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ. (Please telephone 0181 444 1605 for more copies) The National Petition is supported by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx xxxxx, xxxxxxx xxxxxxx, xxx xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, Socialist Democracy, the United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Voices in the Wilderness UK. SIDE TWO The Human Cost of Economic Sanctions on Iraq ‘We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral.’ Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, October 1998. When were sanctions imposed, and why? The economic sanctions were levied nine years ago, on 6 August 1990, to force Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. After Iraq left Kuwait in February 1991, the sanctions were re-imposed by the UN Security Council in order to disarm Iraq of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and long-range missiles. Are sanctions really hurting ordinary people in Iraq? According the most careful independent study of child deaths in Iraq due to sanctions, Prof. Richard Garfield, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, USA, concludes that the death rate among children under five has increased massively because of the economic sanctions, accounting for ‘between a minimum of 100,000 and a more likely estimate of 227,000 excess deaths among young children from August 1991 through March 1998.’(Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children from 1990 Through 1998, March 1999) 130 children under five die every day. A Humanitarian Panel set up by the Security Council reported in March 1999 (www.un.org/oip/panelrep.htm): ‘The data provided to the panel point to a continuing degradation of the Iraqi economy with an acute deterioration in the living conditions of the Iraqi population and severe strains on its social fabric. As summarized by the UNDP field office, “the country has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty”. In marked contrast to the prevailing situation prior to the events of 1990-91, the infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world, low infant birth weight affects at least 23% of all births, chronic malnutrition affects every fourth child under five years of age, only 41% of the population have regular access to clean water, 83% of all schools need substantial repairs. The [Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies] states that the Iraqi health-care system is today in a decrepit state.’ ‘Chronic malnutrition’ can lead to permanent physical and mental stunting. Over 700,000 children in Iraq are chronically malnourished as a result of the sanctions. Isn’t there a UN relief programme for Iraq? The ‘oil-for-food’ programme allows Iraq to sell $5.2bn worth of oil every six months, of which 66% is available to buy humanitarian supplies. However, malnutrition is caused by poor drinking water as much as by a lack of food and medicines, and the funds needed to repair the civilian infrastructure are unfortu-nately far beyond the scope of oil-for-food. The Humanitarian Panel concluded that oil-for-food could not solve the humani-tarian crisis: ‘Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about in the implemen-tation of [oil-for-food] - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot be met’ by the programme. Isn’t the British government trying to help? The British government is proposing a plan at the UN Security Council which prioritises disarmament over meeting the needs of Iraq’s children. They propose temporarily suspending the embargo on Iraqi exports if Iraq co-operates with a new inspection agency - once inspections have been going for some months. The proposals put forward by the British government are a weak form of the recommendations of the UN Humanitarian Panel - crucially, the Panel did not make their proposals conditional on progress regarding disarmament. The Panel said, of its own recommendations, that they ‘may lead to incremental improvements’ in the humani-tarian situation. Much too little, much too late. What about the disarmament of Iraq? We are calling for the economic sanctions to end because the needs of ordinary Iraqis, and of Iraqi children in particular, cannot be met while those sanctions continue. The basic rights to food, clean drinking water, and health care must be restored, unconditionally. The inspection crisis must be separated from the humanitarian crisis. Seeking disarmament by starving the children of Iraq, as Britain currently does, is deeply immoral. For more copies of the petition, or for details of groups campaigning against sanctions, please contact National Petition Against Sanctions On Iraq, 12 Trinity Road, London, N2 8JJ. Telephone (0181) 444 1605. ENDS -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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