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]

Amnesty Petition - UK members PLEASE READ

Hello. Glenn here.

Sorry, I 've been meaning to write about this petition for a while but never
got round to it.

The petition does not make any specific judgment about the effects of
sanctions on Iraq, nor does it recommend the Security Council to do anything
in particular. Beth-Ann did a great job getting the petition through, but
they watered it down a hell of a lot so that they could still claim to take
'no position' on the use of sanctions.

What AI does do is express its 'concern' about reports from other
organisations, and ask that these reports be looked at by the SC. AI reminds
the UNSC of its duties under humanitarian law, but then allows it to make
its own judgment as to whether such duties have been ignored.

*****UK MEMBERS: Please support AGM motions printed below.*****

The UK section decided NOT TO DISSEMINATE the petition to groups. They say
this is because they could only legitimately send it to those local groups
already deal with Iraq in other ways, which is very few, and that therefore
there may not be
many signatures - which can sometimes be worse than no signatures at all.

The answer to this, I feel, is that the petition is about the SECURITY
COUNCIL and its policies and attitudes towards human rights law and issues,
and that therefore it should be of interest to all groups.

They also say they are unsure who the petition should be sent to, but
Beth-Ann assures me this was made perfectly clear to all sections who
received it - ie the Foreign ministers of the member states of the security

Paul Abbey has sent in a motion to the UK AGM (14-16 April) regarding the
petition, asking that it be disseminated to all UK groups. Enfield & Barnet
and Kingston & District groups have also put forward a joint motion
requesting an
emergency International Council Meeting asking Amnesty to take a position on
sanctions (rather like HRW did).

PLEASE LEND YOUR SUPPORT TO THESE MOTIONS by either contacting myself with
your details, or contacting Jo Morris at Amnesty UK - 0171 814 6200, and
asking that your name be added as a joint supporter of the motions. Even
better if you can get your local group to support them - it will lend the
motions much more weight at the AGM.

Last year a similar motion, with the board voting AGAINST, was defeated only
by 54 to 46%. This year we can do better and get AI to finally take a

Printed below: first the petition motion, then the emergency ICM motion...

This meeting:

NOTING  that it is the policy of Amnesty International to strongly support
the position of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
that human rights “must be taken into account when designing an appropriate
sanctions regime”, that “effective monitoring should be undertaken
throughout the period that sanctions are in force”, and that those imposing
sanctions must take measures “to respond to any disproportionate suffering
experienced by vulnerable groups within the targeted country”;

NOTING  that Amnesty’s International Secretariat has approved the production
and dissemination of a petition to the UN Security Council expressing
concern “about the humanitarian situation in Iraq since the imposition of UN
economic sanctions in 1990”, in particular “the reported deaths of thousands
of children under the age of five”, and that the petition urges the Council
to “give urgent attention to the recommendations of its own Humanitarian
Panel and other UN agencies and take all necessary measures to protect the
rights of the civilian population”;

NOTING  Amnesty’s acknowledgement and public statements of concern about the
evidence of the large scale human suffering in Iraq provided by
organisations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, and the
urgent need for this to be addressed;

DECIDES  That a copy of the petition to the UN Security Council regarding
the effects of sanctions on Iraq should be sent to all local groups for
action as they see fit;

And that the petition should be publicised to all UK members via the AIUK
newsletter/ magazine.


This meeting:

NOTING   That AI recognises that international humanitarian organisations
have provided evidence that the physical integrity of Iraqi civilians is
being threatened at least partially as a result of the UN sanctions imposed
on that country, with the continuing effect of causing thousands of excess
deaths every month, totalling hundreds of thousands since 1990 (AI index:
MDE 14/010/1999);

NOTING   That AI’s statements on this matter, whilst expressing concern and
mentioning the recommendations of other organisations, have fallen short of
making specific judgments or issuing its own recommendations for action in
any given case; that is, AI still officially takes “no position” whether or
not civil rights are violated by sanctions;

NOTING   That to deliberately deny someone the means to survive, or to
compromise a person’s health by ignoring specific legal obligations is to
threaten that person’s physical integrity, and therefore their civil rights;

NOTING   That in many cases where AI believes that the civil rights of a
single person have been breached or are under serious imminent threat it
issues “Urgent Actions”;

NOTING   That the question of whether AI can permit itself to make judgments
about abuses arising from sanctions has been discussed within the
organisation for at least 2 years, and that the results of the current study
of the matter will not result in any action until the end of 2001 at the

DECIDES   That AI should campaign urgently on the issue of human rights
abuses arising from particular sanctions regimes where there is sufficient
evidence from internationally recognised organisations;

And that the UK section will therefore press the International Secretariat
to convene an emergency International Council Meeting to make an urgent
decision on the matter.

All the best,

Glenn Bassett

Tel: 0181 351 6736

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]