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fyi friends, AI USA passed the following recommendation at their Annual General Meeting last week: SPECIAL RESOLUTION A.1 RESOLUTION REGARDING APPLICATION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW TO AI’S WORK ON IRAQ SANCTIONS WHEREAS: Amnesty International’s mandate calls on it to promote awareness of and adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized human rights instruments; and WHEREAS: Amnesty International takes no position on the use of force to resole international disputes. However, acknowledging the ongoing armed interventions in Iraq, it has called upon the governments of the United States and its allies to ensure the maximum protection of civilian lives under international humanitarian law. AI specifically cited the Fourth Geneva Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions, stating that the fundamental principle of the protection of civilians is part of customary international law and therefore binding on all states; and WHEREAS: The effects of two wars and continued bombings by the United States and the United Kingdom have inflicted serious damage on the infrastructure of Iraq, including water purification, oil production, and communication facilities, thus amplifying the impact of the economic embargo and diminishing the effectiveness of the humanitarian aid that does reach Iraq. While exact numbers and proportionate assignment of blame vary, research by several international organizations and UN agencies indicates that these economic measures effectively have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians particularlychildren. Three top UN officials responsible for administering the food and aid programs have resigned in protest that the limitations on the importation of food, medicine and other items indispensable to the survival of the civilian population have led to these deaths; and WHEREAS: While Article 41 of the United Nations Charter authorizes the Security Council to decide on “measures not involving the use of force…” including economic measures, these measures were created to be used in lieu of armed intervention. These measures cannot be applied during armed interventions without conforming to international humanitarian law; and WHEREAS: Article 54 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions, states: Starvationof civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited. It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food-stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive; and WHEREAS: Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” WHEREAS: A 1999 AIUSA Resolution called on AI to take all possible steps within its existing mandate to address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that some economic measures including the embargo on the importation of foodstuffs, medicines, and spare parts to repair water purification and electrical generating equipment, and other items essential for civilian life, in the context of armed interventions, are a violation of International Humanitarian Law, and therefore fall within Amnesty International’s mandate; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the AIUSA Board ask the International Executive Committee to write a letter to the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General calling on the UN to de-link the economic measures from the military sanctions by lifting restrictions on the importation of basic foodstuffs, medicines and parts to repair water purification and electrical generating equipment, and other items essential for civilian life, and that this letter be made public. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi