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Iraq Patriarch Comments On Report Of Mortality Rates BAGHDAD (CWNews.com/Fides) - "This is a massacre of innocents, a tragedy which concerns the whole world," said Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid of Babylon of the Chaldeans about a report recently issued by the Iraq health ministry. According to the Health Ministry, which compared the mortality rate in December 1989 (before the 1990 UN embargo on Iraq) with that of December 1999, more than 8,000 children were killed by the embargo in the last month of the 20th century; the lack of medicine and food caused by the embargo strikes in particular the weakest, children, and elderly; and there has been a frightening increase in the infant mortality rate. One hundred one children under five who died of dysentery in December 1989, while in 1999 they were 1,576. In the same age group, children who died of malnourishment rose from 81 to 3060 and children who died of pneumonia rose from 117 to 3,372. Although not so numerous, the increase in the number of deaths of people over fifty is still appalling, according to the patriarch. In December 1989, 91 died of illness connected with high blood pressure; in December 1999, 594 died of the same cause. People who died of diabetes increased from 82 to 831, and people who died of cancer also increased from 347 to 1913. "The health ministry figures are substantially confirmed by inquiries made by United Nations commissioners who visit hospitals. These deaths are the strongest proof which should move the world to take action to do something against the embargo," the patriarch said. The patriarch also commented on the proposal to appoint Hans Blix to head the new UN commission to monitor Iraq's disarmament: "I have never met Blix but France's opposition to the appointment of Rolf Ekeus and the support of Paris, Moscow, and Beijing for Blix, would make me think that he is a reliable person." Ekeus' candidacy as head of the UN mission was rejected by France, Russia, and China. Patriarch Bidawid returned to the subject of the canceled papal visit to Ur of Chaldea: "I still keep hoping. The visit has been postponed until who knows when. But I am sure that the prayers of the whole world and the Holy Father's determination will not be disappointed." Chris Cole Southwark justice and Peace Office 0171 928 9743 http://www.swkjp.dircon.co.uk -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi