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PRESS RELEASE from LUU CASI SOCIETY/BASI



Press Release!

Local Leeds University Students are declaring a ‘Sanctions on Iraq Awareness week’ to bolster interest for a ‘National Conference and Rally’ they have organised on the Sat 12th May. It is the first event of its kind in the UK and they have managed to bring together high profile speakers like Tony Benn MP, George Galloway MP and even the famous singer Cat Stevens, remember him? The event will be open to all and admission is free!

The event is in response to the motion1 that was passed at this years Annual General Meeting of the Student Union that condemned the economic sanctions on Iraq. The sanctions are killing 5000 children every month and have caused the deaths of nearly 2 million Iraqis their imposition. The Leeds University Union now officially opposes this genocide.

"It's great to see students so committed in organising an event on this important issue. LUU have committed to support this campaign and hope that as many people as possible take this opportunity to understand more about the implications of sanctions on Iraq and what we can do about it"  Ruth Clarke Communications Officer LUU Union

The Conference on Sat 12th May will commence at 12noon. The venue is Leeds University Conference Auditorium. It is expected to last about 2hrs, then immediately afterwards there will be an orchestrated rally to the heart of Leeds City Centre.

Speakers in alphabetical order:

         Felicity Arbuthnot2 - an award-winning journalist. Nominated for a number of prestigious Awards for her coverage of Iraq, including this year's Amnesty International Media Award. She was Senior Researcher for John Pilger's Award Winning documentary: 'Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq’ which will be shown during the awareness week.

         George Galloway MP – controversially brought back a young Iraqi girl ‘Mariam’ to the UK that was suffering from leukaemia for treatment amongst a blaze of publicity. He later founded the Mariam Appeal and has done many high profile things such as flying from the UK to Baghdad breaking the sanctions and defying the British Government.

         Grant Wakefield3 - conceived, directed, edited and narrated the Fire This Time’. An audio CD that utilises narration, samples, and music from some of the world's best contemporary musicians to deconstruct the 'official' history of the Gulf war, and to illustrate the devastating effect that sanctions have had on the civilian population of Iraq. We will be listening to previews of this unique piece of work which is due to be released at the end of May.

         Rt Hon Tony Benn MP – Active in British Politics for over half a century and needs no introduction. He is a prominent opponent of the Sanctions (Still to be confirmed).

         Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens - A legendary singer that gave up his stardom and adopted the Islamic faith (Still to be confirmed).

There will also be Special contributions played from those that could not attend:

Denis Halliday4 & Hans von Sponeck5

         Both former Assistant Secretary Generals of the United Nations and Humanitarian coordinators in Iraq. They resigned in quick succession to protest over the economic sanctions on Iraq. They have dedicated their lives to campaigning on the issue ever since.

John Pilger

         Internationally acclaimed journalist and broadcaster. It was his award winning documentary: 'Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq’ which gave anti-sanctions campaigners the exposure they were looking for when it was shown on ITV. 

The ‘SANCTIONS Awareness Week’ 8-11th May

There will be stalls with people handing out information and collecting signatures for a ‘National Petition Against Economic Sanctions on Iraq’. Experts on the sanctions will be giving talks in the run up to the conference every evening in lecture theatre 22 of the Rogers Stevens building, Leeds University.

All the talks are scheduled to start at 6pm:

Tue 8th May - 'Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq’

John Pilger's Award Winning documentary

Wed 9th May - Apocalypse Now - Frontline Infants - UN Policy on Iraq

Award winning journalist Felicity Arbuthnot argues that the UN's policies are targeting the utterly vulnerable, the under 5's and the newborn - those they are avowed to protect.

Thu 10th May - Five years in prison for delivering medical journals to doctors?

Richard Byrne from Voices in the Wilderness reports on his sanctions breaking visit to Iraq, January 2001. Find out what you can do to bring the suffering to an end.

 

Fri 11th May - The Economic –Political Game

Dr Kamil Mahdi an expert on Iraqi economics from Exeter University explores all the political-economic aspects. What are the real motives are behind the sanctions?

The students behind the organisation are members if the LUU CASI Society (Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq). They aim to raise awareness of the true extent of the humanitarian disaster in Iraq caused by over a decade of economic sanctions. They hope that this increased awareness coupled with the exposure of lies by the UK/US will pressurise the government into bringing an end to this illegal and immoral policy and to abide by the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For More Information visit www.basinet.org or Contact LUU CASI Society:

Tel:0113 282 4810

Mobile: 07713 74 2021

E-mail: leedscasi@hotmail.com

LUU CASI Society, 6 Main Street, Carlton, Wakefield, WF3 3RW

 

 

Notes to Editors:

1.LUU Annual General Meeting Non-Military Sanctions On Iraq - Motion E - 8th Feb 2001 

The AGM of LUU Believes that:

  1. Open and equal access to education, food, safe water and decent medical care regardless of nationality or race is an essential component of a society.
  2. That all non-military sanctions on Iraq are at core a war against the health of ordinary families in Iraq: they are destroying a society.
  3. That all people have a right to a democratically elected leader.
  4. That the sanctions have affected the lives of millions, including some members of the union.
  5. This is an internationalism issue that we must educate people about.

This AGM of LUU Resolves to:

  1. Raise awareness amongst students of the issues surrounding economic sanctions on Iraq.
  2. Have members of executive and council to write to the Lords, local MPs etc urging them to support the lifting of all non-military sanctions and encourage other members of the union to do so also.
  3. Work with NUS and Leeds University in informing students of actions we are taking.
  4. To campaign against the non-military sanctions imposed on Iraq.
  5. Support fund-raising activities in and around the Union in aid of the people of Iraq.

2. Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist specializing in social and environmental issues and has specialist knowledge of the Middle East. Her work has appeared in publications ranging form the Independent to Finland's Helsingin Sannomat. She is a regular contributor to the Middle East International, The Sunday Herald and New Internationalist.

3. 'The Fire This Time' audio CD running time is 77:30, and musical contributions include exclusive tracks by ORBITAL, APHEX TWIN, MICHAEL STEARNS, THE HIGHER INTELLIGENCE AGENCY and NASEER SHAMMA. A non-profit venture and a public service. All profits will be donated to organisations working to improve the humanitarian and human rights situation in Iraq. Scheduled for commercial release at the end of May 2001 on THIRD STONE RECORDS. The album will be released as a double CD, with instrumentals and bonus tracks on disc 2.

4.Denis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. He stepped down in protest in September 1998 stating that, "4000 to 5000 children are dying every month due to the impact of sanctions”. He continued, "We are in the process of destroying an entire society, it is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral" He says "History will slaughter those responsible"

5.Hans von Sponeck resigned the same post 5 months later also in protest. In his resignation statement von Sponeck was very outspoken, “As a UN official I should not be expected to be silent.  How long must the civilian population be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done? ”He was particularly outspoken about the effects of sanctions on children, pointing out that infant mortality had more than doubled under the sanctions. He added, “Can we afford, can anyone afford to associate himself or herself with such a reality? I cannot”.

LUU CASI PRESS RELEASE.doc


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