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Letter to UK High Commissioner to A/NZ


Dear Martin Williams,

Thank you for your (undated) letter addressed to Michael 
and Merilyn Payne, Quaker Yearly Meeting Clerks, in reply 
to a Quaker statement regarding the Feb.16 bombing of 
Iraq. Your letter,was passed on to Quaker Peace and 
Service for reply. We noted a number of inaccuracies. 

First, the "no-fly zones". Although there are differing opinions 
as to their legality, Kofi Annan and other UN officials (as well 
as a number of governments) agree that there is no UN 
Authority  sanctioning them and that they are illegal. Illegal 
also in that they are, contrary to the UN Charter, unilateral 
attacks against a sovereign state. 

Under these circumstances, there is no way in which UK and 
US aircraft can be any other than aggressors, and as such, 
the Iraqi air defences are perfectly entitled to act in their own 

Neither, when missions are aborted to allow Turkish aircraft 
space to attack those same people, can it be convincingly 
argued that they are for the protection of the Kurdish people 
of northern Iraq .

They do not deter the type of destruction visited upon the 
Kurdish uprising in the fall of 1995, which the Iraqi Republican 
Guard conducted in under a week without the assistance of 

By halting or decreasing their flights the Allies will not be 
lessening their pressure on the Iraqi regime or its military, 
because they were never a threat to it in the first place.

With regard to your comments on SCR 1284 and UNMOVIC, 
we suggest you study the excellent report made by the 
Cambridge University group CASI, "Analysis of Security 
Council Resolution 1284 (17 December, 1999)." In our 
opinion, SCR 1284 is understandably unacceptable to Iraq,
so much so, that the suspicion arises that it was designed to 
be so. But please study the above report.

With regard to your comments on the differences between 
the situations in the north and south of Iraq:-

A fair comparison would mention that i) the Kurdish 
population received 19.4% of the oil revenue, i.e. a 
disproportionately higher amount than the population in 
central/southern Iraq; ii) sanctions are regularly broken in
northern Iraq; iii) there is extensive cross-border trade with 
Turkey and therefore good income earning opportunities; iv) 
the UN security council does not block many contracts 
benefiting the Kurdish areas; v) the climatic conditions in the 
hilly areas of the north are more favourable. vi) the 
incidences of leukaemia and other DU-related cancers, and 
the dire shortages of medication for them, are having 
devastating effects in the south where DU munitions were 
used by the Coalition forces; vii) there are vast differences in 
availability of cash between the North and South.

The same Secretary General's report that you quote in your 
letter also tells us that:-

- Five applications worth $14.2 million, for the procurement of 
railway telecommunications and signalling equipment, are still 
on hold. Without the release of the holds placed on the 
applications for locomotives and signalling equipmnt, the 
system cannot operate safely and effectively: 

- the warehouses and health facilities lacked computers of 
the appropriate capacity for the effective management of the 
increasing number of programme inputs:

- there are continuing shortages of some injectable 
antibiotics, anti-epileptics and drugs used in the treatment of 
diabetes and heart diseases. Injectable antibiotics included in 
tracked samples had been out of stock for over three 
months, while cough preparations, simple analgesics and 
antipyretics had been out of stock for more than six months. 
The number of health items that were short -supplied 
(partially delivered by the suppliers) and those that did not 
comply with the specifications of the contract increased 
during the period under review:

- that vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, pneumonia, 
tetanus and hepatitis are also in short supply; anti-
tuberculosis (BCG) vaccines are not available countrywide at 
all levels of health facilities.

These shortages are exposing the Iraqi population to 
normally preventable infections. The lack of vaccines would 
mean that the 4.7 million children under the age of five 
countrywide are at risk. The shortages are due in 
part to delays in placing orders for replenishment of health 
items, irregular deliveries of orders, holds placed on 
applications and failure of some of the ordered items to pass 
quality-control tests. These obstacles are affecting adversely 
health-care delivery in the country. Equipment needed
for the rehabilitation of the plants has been contracted but 
has not yet arrived.

At present, two applications, one for tetanus and diphtheria 
anti-toxins and another for hepatitis -B vaccine, are on hold.

As one goes through that report, the sad story unfolds of 
medical shortages, shortages of distribution facilities, severe 
power shortages, water pumping and treatment failure, etc.. 
All of it due to the initial Coalition attacks coupled with the 
effects of sanctions and essential items still on hold.  We do 
realise that Britain is not responsible for the majority 
of holds. The figures in 1998 were US vetoes 80% and the 
UK 20%, though we know that the US is now the main 

But when you quoted from the same report you mentioned 
none of these things. 

The Sanctions Committee in New York has blocked or 
delayed a range of cancer diagnostic equipment and drugs, 
even painkillers. Professor Karol Sikora, as chief of the 
cancer   programme of the World Health Organisation, wrote 
in the British Medical Journal: "Requested radiotherapy 
equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are 
consistently blocked by United States and British advisers to 
the Sanctions  Committee. There seems to be a rather 
ludicrous notion that such agents could be converted into 
chemical or other weapons." 
Professor Sikora has reported, "The saddest thing I saw in 
Iraq was children dying because there was no chemotherapy 
and no pain control. It seemed crazy they couldn't have 
morphine, because for everybody with cancer pain, it is the 
best drug. When I was there, they had a little bottle of aspirin 
pills to go around 200 patients in pain." 

Although there have since been improvements in some areas, 
more than 1,000 life-saving items remain "on hold" in New 
York, with Kofi Annan personally appealing for their release 
"without delay". 

The Secretary General has also said he would like to think 
that the Iraqi Government was doing all it could to cooperate 
in the distribution of goods. Detailed observations were made 
in every sector of the country and food got to every one it 
was supposed to get to in the country. 

What is the way forward? We offer you some suggestions 
based on a report by a Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-
USA)-sponsored delegation of Nobel Peace Laureates to 

- That the US/UN economic sanctions be lifted immediately 
and massive assistance be made available to Iraq to heal the 
children and rebuild the infrastructure;

- that the UN make regional disarmament a key element of its 
efforts in Iraq (as UN Resolution 686 explicitly prescribes);

- that the international community demand that the right of the 
Iraqi people to life and to dignity be fully respected;

- that the United Nations, United States, Great Britain, and 
the European Parliament assist in restoring Iraq to its rightful 
place in the community of nations;

- and that religious leaders, and people of faith and 
conscience in the US, Britain, and elsewhere go to Iraq to 
forge friendship with the Iraqi people.

The Nobel Laureates concluded that the United Nations' 
"Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the 
Children of the World, 2000-2010," should begin with the 
immediate lifting of the economic sanctions against Iraq, 
ending of the US bombings, and beginning a dialogue that 
brings Iraq back into the world community of nations.

We endorse these recommendations and add the following: 

- that as the bombing of  the "no fly" zones is illegal, 
compensation for damage be paid to Iraq by those 
governments responsible;

- that the Depleted Uranium-contaminated battlefields be 
cleaned up at the expense of those governments responsible 
for the use of DU weaponry;

- that the medical equipment for the diagnosis and treatment 
of cancer, and the chemotherapy drugs held up by the 
Sanctions Committee in New York, be made available 
immediately to the Iraqi people.  

Finally, we ask you to remember the resolution of the 
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights; Fifty-second 
session; Agenda item 12 (b) (i) "........ death to be a flagrant 
violation of the economic, social and cultural rights and
the right to life of the people concerned and of international 
law, decided to appeal again to the international community, 
and to the Security Council in particular, for the embargo 
provisions affecting the humanitarian situation of the 
population of Iraq to be lifted ........."
(E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.32 14 August 2000).


Tony Maturin
For Quaker Peace and Service A/NZ

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