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Felicity in Dublin

 Call for end to UN sanctions
 The Irish Times, July 31
                 The Government is being urged to take a leading role in
                seeking an end to UN sanctions against Iraq which are
                 said to
                 be responsible for the deaths of up to 6,000 children a
                 Ms Felicity Arbuthnot, a British-based journalist and
                 rights activist, said Ireland should "get out from un
                der the
                 American flag" and lobby its European Union partners for
                 lifting of the trade embargo.

                 Ireland was well placed to address the issue, given its
                 status and traditional economic ties with Iraq, she
                said. "It
                 would be great if it took the lead by becoming the first
                 country to open its embassy again in Baghdad."
                She was speaking in advance of a protest rally at 6 p.m.
                 at the US embassy in Dublin to mark the 10th anniversary
                week of the imposition of sanctions.
                 Ms Arbuthnot recently returned from her 22nd visit to
                 since the end of the Gulf War. On each visit, she said,
                 was always a new horror story". Hospitals were short of
                 most basic medical supplies and equipment. UNICEF
                estimated that more than 500,000 underfives had died
                 1991 and 1998 because of the sanctions. Others put the
                toll even higher and said conditions were getting worse.
                Mr Denis Halliday, who resigned two years ago as
                 of the UN oil-forfood programme after con demning the
                 scheme as "futile and bankrupt", estimated that since
                then the
                 death rate had increased by up to a third to one every
                 minutes. His successor, Mr Hans von Sponeck, also
                 in protest this year.
                Ms Arbuthnot said the sanctions were inhumane and
                 counter-productive and had helped to strengthen Saddam
                 Hussein's hold on power. Despite growing disquiet
                 internationally, the United States and the UN Security
                 have refused to countenance a change in policy.
                 The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, has
                 concern about the sanctions but said Ireland was
                 by UN resolutions from acting unilaterally. Ms Arbuthnot
                 the Government was also bound by UN charters on human
                 rights and the rights of the child "and as a signatory
                 to those it is
                 obliged to act".
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