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Letters to editors! HRW critical of sanctions

Human Rights Watch has just made a statement critical of sanctions.
Seems to me this would be good stuff to quote in letters to newspapers, if
only because it has their name attached to it.

Look out for it buried in the broadsheets somewhere!


The following is from BBC on-line World news

Thursday, 6 January, 2000, 10:17 GMT
Iraq trade sanctions plea

The UN recently lifted Iraqi oil export restrictions
A leading, international human rights group has called on the United Nations
Security Council to lift most of its trade and investment sanctions against
Iraq to ease the humanitarian crisis there.
The New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, said the UN should, at the
same time, tighten controls on Iraqi weapons imports.

Instead of putting all the blame on Baghdad ... the Council has to face up
to its own share of the responsibility

The group also called for an international criminal tribunal to try Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein and other top leaders for war crimes and crimes
against humanity.

The recommendations, outlined in a letter to the Security Council President,
Richard Holbrooke, follow widespread concern over the impact of the
9-year-long UN embargo on the Iraqi population.

Embargo suspension

Human Rights Watch says the UN has not adequately addressed the public
health emergency that has resulted from sanctions and the destruction of
Iraq's civilian infrastructure.

The Security Council last month adopted a resolution offering Iraq the
chance of getting the UN embargo suspended if it co-operates with a new arms
control body.

Sanctions have left many Iraqis reliant on food handouts

The UN also removed petroleum export restrictions on its oil-for-food
programme. Human Rights Watch acknowledged this would enable Iraq to buy
more medicine for its people, but said the measure did not go far enough in
tackling the problems facing the country.

Economy 'choked'

"The scale of the crisis and the extent of the impoverishment require more
than food and medicine and some spare parts," said Hanny Megally, executive
director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa division.

"Instead of being content to put all the blame on Baghdad, as the US
government continues to do, the Council has to face up to its own share of
the responsibility," he said.

"Blocking the government's access to foreign exchange is one thing, but
choking the entire economy to do so puts the burden mostly on ordinary

The group said the Security Council should lift economic sanctions based on
its responsibility to minimise harm done to civilians.

But it accepted that military sanctions should stay, as well as the
monitoring of goods which have both military and civilian uses.

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