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National Petition Against Sanctions

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

5) Among the groups indicating definite interest are: United Nations
Association (UK), CASI, Voices in the Wilderness UK, and Socialist

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




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

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.


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
( ‘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.


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