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Letter to Brian Wilson

Hello. Glenn from Voices UK here.

As many Casi list-members may be aware, Voices produce some notes each month
(or thereabouts) that people may like to use for writing letters to
officials/ press etc.  This month's helping is included below. (Apologies to
those of you who may get this message more than once).

Hope you find this useful.



This month’s letter is to Peter Hain’s replacement at the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office, Brian Wilson. In a BBC interview on 26th February 2001,
( ) Mr Wilson stated:

“There is no evidence that sanctions are hurting the Iraqi people. What is
hurting the Iraqi people is the fact that Saddam Hussein is using the
existence of sanctions as a propaganda weapon in order to deny to his own
people the medical and food supplies which they need.”

You may like to include this quote and then point out some of the evidence
Mr Wilson is unaware of, and the fact that many members of the British
public know that there is plenty of it. Importantly, I think it is a good
idea to ask a specific question to encourage a reply. For example you may
like to quote the UNICEF report, Kofi Annan or whatever else you care to
use, and then ask whether the Minister is unaware of this evidence, or
whether he dismisses it, and if so, on what grounds?

Some good quotes are listed below, but obviously feel free to use other bits
you may have picked up, perhaps from Voices newsletters or the CASI website
( Whatever, please make sure your quotes constitute
some kind of “evidence” and not just opinion, otherwise Mr Wilson will have
an easy get-out. Quoting reports by official bodies is usually the best

Also keep your eyes peeled for more articles in the press. The reporting of
the bombing runs over Iraq is a little more prominent now after last month’s
attack, and there may be something to hang a letter on.

Best of luck, and thanks once again for your continued efforts.


Send your letters to:

Brian Wilson, Minister of State
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH


Some quotes:

“…the panel reiterates its understanding that the humanitarian situation in
Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of
the Iraqi economy, which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial
humanitarian efforts.”
>From the ‘Report of the second Panel established pursuant to the note by the
President of the Security Council of 30 January 1999 concerning the current
humanitarian situation in Iraq.’

“[Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF] pointed to a March statement
of the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues which states: "Even if
not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially
sanctions, the Iraqi people would
not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures
imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war."
UNICEF press release, 12 August 1999 – “IRAQ SURVEYS SHOW 'HUMANITARIAN

“The potential long-term benefits of sanctions should be weighed against the
immediate and long-term costs to children, including the collapse of health
and educational infrastructures, reduced economic opportunities, increased
child labour in informal sectors and increased infant morbidity and
mortality. The suffering of Iraqi children, as reported by UNICEF, and of
children in the Balkans are troubling cases in point.”
Kofi Annan, “Children and armed conflict” report, 19 July 2001.

“The UN sub-commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights says
economic sanctions on Iraq have ‘condemned an innocent people to hunger,
disease, ignorance and even death.’
Reuters, 18th August 2000

“…the U.S. should stop pretending that the sanctions have nothing to do with
the dire public health crisis confronting millions of Iraqis."
Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa
division of
Human Rights Watch, Press release, March 23, 2000 – ‘U.N. Security Council
Must Ease Iraq Crisis - Humanitarian Emergency Should be Focus of Friday

“…short-term emergency assistance is no longer appropriate to the scale of
this crisis… additional far-reaching steps are desperately needed in order
to comply with human rights and humanitarian principles.
“The deterioration in Iraq’s civilian infrastructure is so far reaching that
it can only be reversed with extensive investment and development efforts.”
Save the Children UK, Human Rights Watch and 4 other NGOs, letter to the UN
Security Council, 4 August, 2000.

“Following a ten-month inquiry into the future of sanctions, the
International Development Committee has concluded that, although sanctions
may well represent a low-cost alternative to war in financial terms, they
are all too often as damaging — in humanitarian and developmental terms — as
armed conflict… There is a clear consensus that the humanitarian and
developmental situation in Iraq has deteriorated seriously since the
imposition of comprehensive economic sanctions…
“Not all this humanitarian distress is the direct result of the sanctions
regime. It appears that Saddam Hussein is quite prepared to manipulate the
sanctions regime and the exemptions scheme to his own ends, even if that
involves hurting ordinary Iraqi people. This does not, however, entirely
excuse the international community from a part in the suffering of Iraqis. A
sanctions regime which relies on the good faith of Saddam Hussein is
fundamentally flawed."
DFID second report on “The future of Sanctions” 27th January 2000.

``We have no evidence there is a conscious withholding of medicines ordered
by the [Iraqi] government,''
Hans Von Sponeck, former Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Reuters July
22nd 1999, - ‘UN sees British concern on Iraq

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