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Rally on Iraq, Manchester

I am writing from Manchester Coalition Against Sanctions and Bombing of
Iraq, known for short as Coalition On Iraq
Coalition on Iraq Press Release

A campaign has been set up in Manchester to highlight the plight of
Iraqi suffering, particularly amongst children, as a result of the use
of depleted uranium and an international military blockade.  Campaigners
are  organising a rally for September 18th to End the Blockade and stop
the Bombings of Iraq and Kurdish areas. The rally, addressed by Kurdish
human rights campaigner Kerim Yildiz of the Kurdish Human Rights
Project, will be in Picadilly Gardens from 12.00 noon until 1.00 p.m.
Saturday the 18th.  A disturbing feature of the bombing of Iraq is the
use of uranium tipped missiles.  The effects of  uranium on children in
Iraq and Gulf War veterans has recently been highlighted by Trevor
McDonald's TONIGHT programme and a series of articles in the Daily
Express.  Campaigners point to a three fold increase in childhood
cancers in Iraq  which now has one of the highest child mortality rates
in the world due to increased cancers and malnutrition, yet, because of
the blockade, much needed anti-cancer drugs cannot get through in
sufficient numbers.  Iraq, under the sanctions, can only have a small
amount of aid in exchange for oil.  As a result 5000-6000 children die
every month in Iraq and over a million have died since 1991- more than
5% of the population.  The former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis
Halliday who was in charge of the oil for food programme resigned over
this issue, saying, "We are in the process of destroying an entire
society.  It is as simple and as terrifying as that.  It is genocide."
Campaigners say they want to see a lifting of international sanctions,
or blockade as they put it.  " 'Sanctions' makes it sound not too
threatening," says campaigner Jason Travis, "but these sanctions are
enforced by naval and air power.  They are an act of war using
starvation of a population for political and economic reasons.  That is
defined as a war crime under the Geneva Convention but that is precisely
what the British and US governments are doing."  Campaigners meet every
Saturday on Market St outside Tesco Metro in Manchester where they are
collecting petition signatures to end the sanctions and money for the
Mariam Appeal to take anti-cancer drugs into Iraq on a bus driven by
George Galloway MP.   A course of leukaemia treatment costs only 20 in
Iraq but many children are dying as their families are too poor to
afford this small amount.  Campaigners are therefore asking for public
generosity in a humanitarian appeal.  The money will be used to take
medical supplies into Iraq. The bus leaves Glasgow on September 7th to
arrive in Baghdad in early November.  The campaign is supported by
several trade unionists, including official backing from OLDHAM National
Union of Teachers who are concerned that the long term effects of
poverty and disease are blighting the life chances of Iraq's future,
their children.  For more information on the campaign and how to get
involved please ring 0161 881 7774 or 0161 834 8301.

J Travis
3 Higson Avenue
M21 9EP

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