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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 that 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 council. 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 position. 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 earliest; 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 using email@example.com Tel: 0181 351 6736 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi