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[Fwd: IRAQ: UN Security Council Considers the Humanitarian Panel's Report on Sanctions]

    I'm sure this will get reposted a lot on lists. Sorry in advance for the duplications.

Amnesty International a *crit :

> * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
> International *
> News Service 144/99
> AI INDEX: MDE 14/06/99
> 28 July 1999
> Iraq
> UN Security Council Considers the Humanitarian Panel's Report on
> Sanctions
> A summary of Amnesty International position and concerns
> In January 1999, the Security Council decided to establish three
> separate technical panels on Iraq to review the situation and ongoing UN
> actions. The first panel examined disarmament and verification issues.
> The third panel investigated the issue of prisoners of war and Kuwaiti
> property. The second panel was asked to assess the current humanitarian
> situation in Iraq and make recommendations for improving it. This panel
> submitted its report to the Security Council on 30 March 1999.
> Amnesty International does not take a position on the issue of sanctions
> as tools for influencing government behaviour. However, Amnesty
> International believes that the Security Council, as the body that has
> imposed sanctions on Iraq, has a responsibility to carry out periodic
> reviews of the impact of sanctions on the human rights of the Iraqi
> population. Now that a review has been carried out, Amnesty
> International believes the Security Council must take appropriate action
> on the recommendations of the panel it has commissioned on the
> humanitarian situation in Iraq with a view to ensuring that human rights
> considerations are fully taken into account.
> The humanitarian panel's report concluded that "the gravity of the
> humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people is indisputable and cannot be
> overstated. Irrespective of alleged attempts by the Iraq authorities to
> exaggerate the significance of certain facts for political propaganda
> purposes, the data from different sources as well as qualitative
> assessments of bona fide observers and sheer common sense analysis of
> economic variables converge and corroborate this evaluation."
> According to the report, infant mortality rates in Iraq are now among
> the highest in the world and only 41 percent of the population have
> regular access to clean water. The report also noted that population's
> dependence on humanitarian supplies has "increased government control
> over individual lives."
> The report does not exempt the government of Iraq from responsibility
> for the ongoing humanitarian crisis. But it notes that, "Even if not all
> suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially
> sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in
> the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council
> and the effects of the war."
> To meet pressing humanitarian needs, the panel concludes that additional
> revenue, more humanitarian assistance and better distribution are
> required. It recommends that the Security Council lift the ceiling of
> allowable oil exports and facilitate the provision of spare parts to the
> enable Iraq to increase its export capacity, and allow private foreign
> investment in the oil industry and agriculture. To the Iraqi government,
> the panel recommends that it facilitate the timely distribution of
> humanitarian goods, address the needs of vulnerable groups, especially
> street children, the disabled, the elderly and the mentally ill, and
> ensure that those involuntarily displaced receive adequate humanitarian
> assistance.
> Research by several international organizations, including UN agencies,
> indicates that the impact of sanctions on Iraq (whether directly or
> resulting from the manner in which the Iraqi Government has responded to
> the sanctions, or both) has resulted in violations of the right to life,
> among other rights, of civilians -- in particular children.
> Amnesty International strongly supports the position of the UN Committee
> on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, elaborated in General Comment
> No. 8 (E/C.12/1997/8), adopted on 8 December 1997, that "inhabitants of
> a given country do not forfeit their basic economic, social and cultural
> rights by virtue of any determination that their leaders have violated
> norms relating to international peace and security." For this reason,
> the Committee stated, "In considering sanctions, it is essential to
> distinguish between the basic objective of applying political and
> economic pressure upon the governing elite of the country to persuade
> them to conform to international law, and the collateral infliction of
> suffering upon the most vulnerable groups within the targeted country."
> The Committee identified three obligations for the parties imposing
> sanctions. First, human rights "must be taken fully into account when
> designing an appropriate sanctions regime." Second, "effective
> monitoring...should be undertaken throughout the period that sanctions
> are in force." And finally, those imposing sanctions must take measures
> "to respond to any disproportionate suffering experienced by vulnerable
> groups within the targeted country."
> In light of the findings and recommendations of the Security Council's
> humanitarian panel, Amnesty International believes the Security Council
> should give urgent attention to the humanitarian situation in Iraq and
> take all necessary measures to protect the rights of the civilian
> population.
> ENDS.../
> Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,
> WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
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fn:Marc Azar

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