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Forward to your local media: U.N. Rights Body Calls for Lifting IraqEmbargo

Dear all,

Please share this important Reuters report with your local media (both
print and radio) and urge them to use it in their news reports.

- Rania Masri

U.N. Rights Body Calls for Lifting Iraq Embargo

Friday August 18 11:07 AM ET
U.N. Rights Body Calls for Lifting Iraq Embargo

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - A U.N. human rights body called on Friday for the
lifting of 10-year-old sanctions on Iraq, saying they had ``condemned an
innocent people to hunger, disease, ignorance and even death.''

The United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights also adopted a separate resolution urging states to
reconsider their support for economic sanctions in general if they failed
to bring about the desired changes in policy.

The sub-commission, composed of 26 human rights experts named by their
respective governments to serve in a personal capacity, adopted the two
resolutions without a vote on the final day of their annual three-week
meeting in Geneva.

It was the fourth year in a row that the body dealt with the
controversial issue of Iraqi sanctions.

This week's debate became heated after Belgian's member called the
sanctions ``unequivocally illegal'' which had caused a humanitarian
disaster ``comparable to the worst catastrophes of the past decades.''

The resolution proposed by Morocco's representative urged all
governments, including that of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein, to
alleviate the Iraqi people's suffering by facilitating the delivery of
food and medical supplies.

Iraq has been under an international economic and trade embargo since its
August 1990 invasion of oil-rich Kuwait.

Oil-For-Food Deal Not Meeting All Needs -- Report

The text said statistics issued by the U.N. oil-for-food program, which
since December 1996 has allowed Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil to
buy food, medicine and other essentials, showed the deal was meeting
``only part of the vital needs of the population.''

It noted with concern that ``the standard of living, nutrition and health
of the population were continuing to deteriorate and that all economic
activities were seriously affected, particularly in the areas of drinking
water supply, electricity and agriculture.''

The Iraq resolution invoked the 1949 Geneva Conventions which it said
``prohibit the starving of civilian populations and the destruction of
what is indispensable to their survival.''

In the second resolution, put forward by Norway's member, the
Sub-Commission urged states to reconsider their support for sanctions
``even when legitimate goals pursued have not yet been achieved, if,
after a reasonable period, the measures have not brought about the
desired changes in policy.''

It urged states to seek ``prompt termination of all aspects of sanctions
regimes that adversely affect human rights.''

On Thursday, the United States hit out angrily at the Belgian's report.
George Moose, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told the
forum that his claim that the sanctions were illegal was ``incorrect,
biased and inflammatory.''

``The United States has worked hard to ensure that the welfare of the
Iraqi people is protected, in stark contrast to the appalling behavior of
an Iraqi regime which has shown itself to be completely insensitive to
the suffering of its own people,'' Moose told the Sub-Commission.

The United States strongly opposes any lifting of the sanctions which have
now entered their 11th year, and maintains that Saddam is responsible for
the suffering of his people.

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