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(Thanks to Dave Muller for the UNICEF URL)
Results of the 1999 UNICEF Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys
The purpose of the 1999 Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys are to measure the levels and trends of child mortality over the past 20 years, at the country level, by region, and by other key population characteristics; and to establish a baseline for assessing future trends in Maternal Mortality.
Information on these surveys and on estimates of child mortality are available as follows:
CHILDREN PAY PRICE FOR IRAQ BLOCKADE
CHILD MORTALITY in most of Iraq has more than doubled in the nine years since United Nations sanctions were imposed, a leading UN agency said yesterday. Citing "an ongoing humanitarian emergency," a report by the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said that in the south and centre of the country, the area controlled by Saddam Hussein, the death rate for children under five rose from 56 per 1,000 live births in the period 1984-89 to 131 per 1,000 in the past five years.
The survey, prepared with the Iraqi government and the World Health Organisation, did not specifically blame trade sanctions for the crisis which has seen some 500,000 Iraqi children die since the Gulf War. But Unicef's director Carol Bellamy, insisted sanctions be applied in ways that avoided harming children. "We are not calling for a lifting of sanctions as such, because we cannot. That is not in our jurisdiction," she said, adding: "but when they are used they need to be implemented in a way to avoid serious human impact."
Iraqis would not be experiencing such deprivation "in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the UN Security Council," the report said. Its findings seem bound to intensify criticism that sanctions are not working - merely increasing the suffering of the ordinary civilian population, while doing nothing to hasten the downfall of President Saddam. But Britain, a prime advocate of sanctions and partner with the US in the low level continuing air war against Iraq, rejected the idea that sanctions were aimed at children.
The Foreign Office minister Geoff Hoon, pointed to the more stable child mortality rate in largely autonomous northern Iraq, home to 15 per cent of the country's population. The mortality rate of children under five in the north declined by more than 20 per cent - from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1989 and 1994 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1994 and 1999.
Mr Hoon said "sanctions could be lifted tomorrow" if Saddam complied with his international obligations. He claimed a new Security Council resolution drawn up by Britain would release an extra $770m (pounds 478m) of aid to Iraq if passed. But Britain argues that Iraq's existing oil-for- aid programme allows Saddam to buy all the food and medicine the country needs.
Unicef urged the UN committee overseeing sanctions and the Iraqi government to give priority to contracts that will have a direct impact on the well- being of children. The Iraqi government should implement nutrition programmes, adopt a national policy promoting breast feeding, and replace the baby formula in the current food rations with additional food for nursing mothers, Unicef said.
The United States, which opposes lifting sanctions until Iraq is disarmed, blamed the Iraqi leader for the malnutrition and deaths of Iraqi children in government-controlled areas. James Rubin, a spokesman for the US State Department, said: "The bottom line is that if Saddam Hussein would not continue to hoard medicines and capabilities to assist the children of Iraq, they wouldn't have this problem. Clearly the blame for the suffering of the Iraqi people falls squarely on the shoulders of its tyrannical leader. "In places where Saddam Hussein isn't manipulating the medicines and the supplies, this [the programme] works. We can't solve a problem that is the result of tyrannical behaviour by the regime in Baghdad."
Children's Death Rates Rising in Iraqi Lands, Unicef Reports
New York Times, August 13 1999, by BARBARA CROSSETTE
UNITED NATIONS -- The first major survey of child mortality in Iraq since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 has found that in areas of the country controlled by President Saddam Hussein, children under 5 years of age are dying at twice the rate they were before the conflict, UNICEF reported Thursday. But in Kurdish areas in the north of the country, where U.N. officials and not the Iraqi government administer food and medical programs, the health of children appears to have improved to some degree, and mortality rates have fallen.
The figures for infant, child and maternal mortality rates place Iraq in the company of Third World nations in Asia and Africa, a significant drop from the oil-boom years when Baghdad was a city reaching the living standards of some rapidly industrializing countries. The toll that international sanctions have taken on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait has been apparent in recent years in the harsher lives and increased deaths of children, as families struggle to provide adequate food and medicine. But the UNICEF survey also indicates that Baghdad could have done more to alleviate suffering in large regions of the country and in its major cities.
The survey was published jointly with the Iraqi government but not widely distributed. The Iraqis, however, have dissociated themselves from the findings about the northern part of the country.
In a news release Thursday, UNICEF recommended that Baghdad "should urgently expedite implementation of targeted nutrition programs." It also called on the world to provide more money for relief in Iraq and asked that the Security Council sanctions committee, which governs imports to Iraq, put a priority on supplies that could benefit children.
From the beginning of sanctions, Saddam has been permitted to import food and medicines free of restrictions, but with oil sales blocked, he chose to spend what money was available on lavish palaces and construction projects. As early as the fall of 1991, the Iraqis were also offered a program allowing them to sell some oil to buy supplies for civilians, but the government refused to accept what became the "oil for food" program until 1995, and it was not put into effect for more than a year. Since then, U.N. officials directing the program have told the Security Council that Iraq appears to be warehousing medicines and has not acted on recommendations that more nutritional goods be purchased for children under 5 and lactating mothers. Thursday, UNICEF also urged Iraq to stop spending money on infant formula and promote breast feeding instead.
Iraq has consistently used the suffering of children to argue its case against sanctions, a policy the Clinton administration has clung to in the face of international criticism. When important foreign visitors go to Baghdad, funerals of children are staged in the streets. The administration is involved, however, in developing a Security Council plan to offer Iraq new ways to cooperate in clearing itself of charges that it is still harboring or attempting to make biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. That could lead to a suspension of sanctions, but no decision is expected until the fall.
Thursday the State Department spokesman, James Rubin, said, "The United States is very concerned about the death of children in Iraq." He added that "the bottom line" was that Iraq was blocking aid available through the oil-for-food program and that there was nothing outsiders could do. "It is our view that the fact that in northern Iraq the mortality rate is improving, with the same sanctions regime as the rest of Iraq, shows that in places where Saddam Hussein isn't manipulating the medicines and the supplies, this works," he said. "We can't solve a problem that is the result of tyrannical behavior by the regime in Baghdad."
According to UNICEF, deaths of children under 5 in the south and central parts of Iraq, where 85 percent of the people live, more than doubled, from 56 deaths for each 1,000 live births in 1984-1989, to 131 deaths in 1994-1999. That matches the under-5 mortality rates of Pakistan, Haiti or Uganda. In the northern Kurdish areas, deaths of children under 5 declined from 80 for every 1,000 births in 1984-1989, to 72 in 1994-1999, about the level of Egypt or Morocco. In the south and central areas of Iraq, infant mortality -- that is, death in the first year of life -- rose from 47 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1984-1989, to 108 in 1994-1999, similar to rates for Cambodia, Mongolia or Equatorial Guinea. By contrast, in northern Iraq, infant mortality dropped from 64 deaths for every 1,000 live births, to 59, the same as the rate in Guyana or Namibia.
The survey in southern and central Iraq was carried out entirely by Iraqi interviewers, all women who are recent graduates of medical schools. The fieldwork was done in February and March, and Iraqi officials compiled and entered the data, which were then copied daily for study by UNICEF. In the autonomous regions of the Kurdish north, U.N. officials and local authorities were directly involved in gathering data.
With Little Notice, U.S. Planes Have Been Striking Iraq All Year
New York Times, 13 August 1999, by Steven Lee Myers
WASHINGTON -- It is the year's other war. While the nation's attention has focused on Kosovo, American warplanes have quietly, methodically and with virtually no public discussion been attacking Iraq. Over the past eight months, American and British pilots have fired more than 1,100 missiles against 359 targets. That is more than triple the targets attacked in four furious days of strikes in December that followed Iraq's expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors, an assault that provoked an international outrage. By another measure, the pilots have flown some two-thirds as many missions as NATO pilots flew over Yugoslavia in 78 days of around-the-clock war there.
The strikes, including ones as recently as Tuesday, have done nothing to deter Iraqi gunners from firing on American and British planes patrolling the "no flight" zones over northern and southern Iraq. They, like officials in Baghdad, are acting as defiant as ever. And there appears to be no end in sight to the war -- to the surprise and chagrin of some administration and Pentagon officials.
The cycle of tit-for-tat skirmishes has gone on so long that the administration is debating whether to intensify its attacks, expanding the list of targets to include more significant military targets, from air defenses to things like bases and headquarters, as long as Iraq fires at American and British jets, according to senior Administration officials. President Clinton has not made a decision, but within the administration, some hawkish officials have argued that broader, more punishing strikes would deter the Iraqis and do more to weaken President Saddam Hussein's government, the officials said. On the other hand, a tougher stand could also draw attention to strikes that have generated little opposition at home and abroad. "Our use of force so far has not risen to a threshold to cause international concern," especially among Arab allies in the Persian Gulf, one senior official said. "Disproportionate responses might."
Overshadowed for much of the year by the war in the Balkans, the administration's policy toward Iraq is increasingly facing criticism. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of prominent senators and congressmen sent a letter to Clinton scolding him for what they called "the continued drift" in the administration's efforts. While they expressed support for the strikes, they called on Clinton to give Iraq a new deadline to comply with U.N. inspections and threaten "serious consequences" if Saddam refuses, including more potent air strikes throughout Iraq and an expansion of the "no flight" zones. They also called for increased support, including military aid, to Iraqi opposition groups. The letter was signed by the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott of Mississippi; Sens. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Sam Brownback of Kansas, all Republicans; Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, both Democrats; Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.
Administration and Pentagon officials defend their policy -- including the unending air strikes -- as a firm, but measured effort to isolate Saddam and weaken his armed forces. They concede, however, that the Iraqis have proved more resilient than expected. They have quickly repaired damage done to air-defense weapons, forcing the Americans to bomb some targets over and over. They have even rebuilt some of the factories, barracks and other sites destroyed in December's raids, including buildings at the Al Taji missile complex, one of the critical targets, according to Defense officials.
Of greater concern is Iraq's ability to rebuild its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, programs that Saddam pledged to halt as part of the cease-fire that ended the Persian Gulf war in 1991. In their letter, the lawmakers said there was "considerable evidence" that Iraq continued to pursue those weapons, though neither they nor their aides elaborated. The administration and Pentagon officials maintain there is no evidence of that, but without international inspections, some acknowledged, there is little to stop Saddam's government from doing so. "I've very concerned," Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who served as the chief American representative at the United Nations during last year's confrontation, told reporters on Wednesday. "My experience with the Iraqis is if you give them an inch, they take a mile." That is why the administration is quietly supporting a draft U.N. Security Council resolution by Britain and the Netherlands to renew the international weapons inspections. That resolution, which would create a new inspection agency to replace the United Nations Special Commission, is expected to go before the council in September but still lacks support from France, Russia and China, which have veto power.
Without some inspections, the patrols of the "no flight" zones
remain the core of the administration's effort to contain Saddam. The United
States and its allies created the zones -- north of the 36th parallel and south
of the 33rd -- in the years after the Persian Gulf war to protect ethnic
populations long repressed by Saddam's government. Iraq has never recognized the
zones, but rarely challenged allied patrols of them. After December's raids,
however, Saddam declared the zones a violation of Iraq's sovereignty, and his
troops have made good on threats to challenge them. Iraqi MiG jets dart in and
out of the zones. Missile radars have tracked allied patrols and gunners have
fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles at them. American and
British warplanes respond when challenged, though not every time. Every few
days, in almost numbing routine, they have struck missile sites, radar stations
and radio towers across both the northern and southern zones. Since late July,
there has been a new flurry of strikes in response to newly vigorous Iraqi
challenges. On Tuesday alone, American A-10s and F-16s based in Kuwait or Saudi
Arabia and F-14s and F-18s aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt
attacked three anti-aircraft artillery batteries and two radar sites in southern
Iraq, while F-16s and F-15s based in Turkey went after two communication centers
in the north. Those attacks followed heavy strikes on Monday.
The Pentagon says the air strikes are merely defensive responses to the provocations, meant to protect the pilots. But the targets American and British pilots strike are often not the ones that directly threaten them, especially since Iraq has placed many of its weapons in places the Pentagon says is meant to put Iraqi civilians at risk. When Iraqi forces fired an anti-aircraft battery on Tuesday, they did so from downtown Mosul. Brig. Gen. David Deptula, who commands the patrols over northern Iraq from the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, said the strikes could stop at any time, as soon as Iraq stopped challenging the zones. "Saddam really is in control over whether or not we drop any weapons over his country," Deptula said in a telephone interview. "We didn't for six years" before December.
With the increase in tempo, the fighting over the zones is costing upwards of $1 billion a year, though Pentagon officials say it is difficult to fix an exact cost. More than 200 aircraft, 19 warships and 22,000 American troops are devoted to the effort. The officials acknowledge that the strikes alone will not topple Saddam, even though the White House has openly called for the overthrow of his government and promised nominal support to opposition figures. That has led to frustration. "He has been kept in check," one Defense official said. "But the question is: Have you met any of your long-term goals? I don't think so."
A senior administration official said that until a change in government occurs, containment was the only viable policy at this time, politically and diplomatically. "Neither this administration, nor this Congress, nor any other country is prepared to take the measures that would be truly necessary to ensure there was a change of regime," the official said. "If you want to go beyond containment, you have to put your money where your mouth is. And that means ground troops."
Iraqi children 'dying because of sanctions'
The Times, August 13 1999
New York: The first survey of child deaths in Iraq since shortly after the 1991 Gulf War shows a sharp increase in child mortality in government-controlled areas and a significant decrease in the autonomous north, Unicef, the UN Children's Fund said yesterday. Carol Bellamy, Unicef Executive Director, said that the findings revealed an humanitarian emergency in Iraq, which Unicef officials said was caused by a host of factors, including sanctions, two wars, a collapsed economy and the response of the Baghdad Government.
The survey is likely to inflame the debate in the United Nations Security Council over whether to ease sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, regardless of whether Iraq has fully complied with UN demands to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. Ms Bellamy said Unicef recognised that sanctions were used by the international community to promote peace and security, "but our concern is that . . . they should be designed and implemented in such a way as to avoid a negative impact on children". The Unicef findings back the findings of another recent UN report: that humanitarian relief operations were more effective in areas outside the control of President Saddam Hussein.
The survey found that in government-controlled central and southern Iraq - home to 85 per cent of the country's population - children under the age of five were dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago. By contrast, in the autonomous northern region, the mortality rate of children under five declined by over 20 per cent - from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births during the years 1989-94 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1994 and 1999.
Ms Bellamy noted that Iraq's child mortality rate was on the decline in the 1980s. If that decline had continued in the 1990s, she said, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under five from 1991 to 1998. Ms Bellamy said that the findings could not easily be dismissed as an effort by Iraq to mobilise opposition to UN sanctions. She called on the UN committee overseeing sanctions and the Iraqi Government to give priority to "food-for-oil" contracts that will have a direct impact on the wellbeing of children. (AP)
Britons defy ban
Two Britons have challenged police to arrest them when they return to Heathrow today after defying UN sanctions against Iraq. Joanne Baker, from Bristol, and Dave Rolstone, from Narberth, Pembrokeshire, from the Voices in the Wilderness group, delivered medical supplies and textbooks without export licenses. Mr Rolstone, 52, a boat builder, said the sanctions amounted to a "policy of mass murder targeting Iraq's children".