The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

UNICEF Ireland dir: sanctions devastating Iraq

Let's please publicize this latest voice against the sanctions.
-rania m.

UNICEF woman says sanctions devastating Iraq 

By Judith Crosbie 
Irish Times, Feb 24.

"Fatalism" exists among Iraqi people and they believe conditions in their
country will get worse, the director of UNICEF Ireland, Ms Maura Quinn,
has said after a 12-day visit to Iraq. 
Ms Quinn said Iraq has been devastated by the UN sanctions banning imports
and exports imposed on it after the Gulf War in 1990.  Although the
oil-for-food programme allows some food and medicine into the country in
exchange for oil, supplies are lacking. In one hospital Ms Quinn visited,
she was told by a doctor that half of the 19 babies in the hospital's
incubators would die within two days. 

Ms Quinn's statement comes just over a week after Mr Hans von Sponeck, UN
humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq, resigned in protest at the impact of
sanctions. There has been speculation that the resignation of Ms Jutta
Purghart, head of the UN World Food Programme in Iraq, was also over the
sanctions. Mr von Sponeck's resignation comes two years after his Irish
predecessor, Mr Denis Halliday, also stepped down in protest. 
Ms Quinn said her UNICEF colleagues in Iraq found it hard to deal with the
situation, particularly because of the the attitude of ordinary people. 
"It's awful that people don't feel as if it's ever going to change.  They
feel that the sanctions are going to go on and on.  Instead of having
three hours' electricity in Bagdad they will have one hour in a couple of
years' time. That they'll have dirty water. They will have problems with
sanitation,"  Ms Quinn said. 
The monthly food rations the Iraqis are dependent on from the UN last only
two to three weeks and do not contain any protein, according to Ms Quinn.
A UNICEF report which came out last August showed that 25 per cent of
children under five years in Iraq are malnourished and over 4,500 die
every month as a result. Ms Quinn says she expects this year's UNICEF
report to show an even higher rate of death among children. 

Ms Quinn said hospitals were under-equipped with medicines and facilities
and were overcrowded, with up to three people sharing some beds and people
lying on floors in corridors. The sanitation and water systems were also
showing strain. The pillars supporting the main sewerage plant in Baghdad
were crumbling and there were pools of stagnant water on the litterstrewn

She said she visited schools where there was "no running water, no
windows, no benches, holes in the roof, no clean water, no toilets, no
books, the playground under rubbish with stagnant water". 

Long-term malnourishment, Ms Quinn said, was having an effect on
children's development.  "You could see it in the kids that were small for
their age, in their reactions." All of the UNICEF staff Ms Quinn spoke to
in Iraq wanted the sanctions lifted. 
 UNICEF staff on the ground say that day in day out, you are dealing with
effects of the sanctions. You are dealing with no medicine for kids, you
are dealing with no food.  You are dealing with a country which has been
brought to its knees." 
Jas Kaminski adds: An estimated 100 million children suffering from the
ravages of poverty, war and AIDs are the focus of an 18-month campaign
announced in a report, Growing Up Alone: The Hidden Cost of Poverty,
launched yesterday by Unicef. 
"The trilogy of tragedies which lead to children growing up alone demands
that we act now", UNICEF UK executive director Mr David Bull said
yesterday in London. 

The report looks into the physical and spiritual damage done to children
from being alone, which has not in itself been assessed before, UNICEF

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]