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Dear all, I share this action alert with you as an FYI on the most recent positive efforts in the US Congress regarding Iraq. -Rania ---------- Forwarded message ---------- ADC Action Alert: Support New Congressional Letter Calling for Change in US Policy on Iraq A new “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated in Congress by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) asks for Congressional support for a meeting with Secretary of State to address the urgent need for a revision of US policy towards Iraq. Both the dear colleague letter and the letter to Secretary Albright point out how the sanctions against Iraq have created an unconscionable humanitarian catastrophe. These letters are an important follow-up to the Campbell-Conyers letter which gained 70 Congressional signatures and must be supported in order to maintain the growing pressure for a change in US policy towards Iraq. ACTION REQUESTED: Please ask your representative to sign on to the Kucinich letter to Secretary Albright. Please use the new “Contacting Congress” section of ADC.org to find out who your Member of Congress is and send them email quickly and easily online. Please feel free to use the text of the sample letter below, modify it, or send you own message. SAMPLE LETTER: Dear _____, I write to ask you to sign the letter to Secretary of State Albright being distributed by Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) on the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq. As 70 members of Congress pointed out in a letter to President Clinton on Jan. 31 appealing for the lifting of economic sanctions against Iraq, “Reports from UNICEF (the United Nation's Children's Fund) and other United Nations agencies operating in Iraq estimate that over one million civilians, mostly children, have died from malnutrition and disease as a result of the embargo. UNICEF also reports that, despite the UN's Oil-for-Food program, several thousand children under the age of 5 die every month.” The devastating effects of the sanctions are only getting worse. The Red Cross recently reported that “the situation of the civilian population is increasingly desperate.” Rep. Kucinich is right, it is high time to rethink our sanctions policy on Iraq. I urge you to sign his letter to Secretary of State Albright and join the community of conscience that opposes so much pointless death and suffering Yours, _____ TEXT OF KUCINICH DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER: Time to Rethink Our Sanctions Policy on Iraq Dear Colleague, The humanitarian crisis in Iraq continues to worsen as a result of many contributing factors, including the economic sanctions placed on Iraq since the Gulf War. The UN estimates that more than 1 million Iraqi civilians, mostly children, have died since the Gulf War as direct or indirect result of the sanctions. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate our sanctions policy and develop better ways of providing humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq, while also pressuring Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspections and keep him from building weapons of mass destruction. Many functional day-to-day items, such as pencils for schools, food and medicines have been prohibited from entering Iraq due to sanctions. For example, certain amounts of chlorine for water purification can not be imported into Iraq. This has resulted in poor quality drinking water and the spread of infectious diseases. A recent report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (February, 2000) stated: "Since then [the Gulf War], money and spare parts have not been available to repair sewage works and purification plants, which are often working at reduced capacity, or not at all. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water and the rapid spread of infectious disease, such as cholera." I hope you will join me in sending the letter printed on the back to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to request a meeting to discuss the current sanctions policy in Iraq. For more information or to sign on to the letter, please contact my office @ 55871. Sincerely, Dennis Kucinich Member of Congress TEXT OF KUCINICH LETTER TO ALBRIGHT: The Honorable Madeleine Albright Secretary of State 2201 C St NW Washington, D.C. 20520-0001 Dear Secretary Albright: We are writing to request a meeting with you to express our deep concern about the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraq which has resulted after nine years of economic sanctions. We feel that the gravity of the public health crisis makes it urgent for us to rethink the sanctions policy at all levels, especially in regard to water purification materials. We recognize that many items needed for water and sanitation purposes are considered "dual-use" items. But we believe that such items could be safely introduced with a careful system of monitoring by UN humanitarian officials. In particular, we feel that there is an urgent need to rebuild the public health infrastructure. A major problem that afflicts the Iraqi people is deteriorated water and sanitation systems. A recent report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (February, 2000) stated: "Since then [the Gulf War], money and spare parts have not been available to repair sewage works and purification plants, which are often working at reduced capacity, or not at all. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water and the rapid spread of infectious disease, such as cholera." There are insufficient amounts of chlorine for water purification and insufficient electrical equipment and power to run the water and sewage plants. Chlorine is imported only in limited quantities through the United Nations Resolution 986 Oil-for-Food program. According to an April 1998 UNICEF report: "Water treatment plants lack spare parts, equipment, treatment chemicals, proper maintenance and adequately qualified staff...Plants often act solely as pumping stations without any treatment...The distribution network, on which most of the population relies, has destroyed, blocked or leaky pipes." UN Reports and statistics on the humanitarian situation in Iraq from the past five years speak for themselves. They indicate that the public health infrastructure is worsening, and programs established to provide food and aid are inadequate. The recent protest resignations of Hans von Sponeck, UN Oil-for-Food Program director and Jutta Burghardt, head of the UN World Food Program, attest to the inadequacies of the Oil-for-Food program in meeting the needs of more than 22 million people in Iraq and the urgency for relief. Most recently, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed interest in discussing with Mr. Von Sponeck ways of modifying the sanctions on Iraq to allow more humanitarian relief items enter Iraq. We feel that this is an encouraging step in the right direction. We, too, believe that further review of the sanctions policy is necessary. We would like to meet with you to re-examine this policy and to discuss ways of helping to alleviate the continued public health crisis in Iraq. We thank you in advance for your timely response. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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