The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Mandela On Sanctions

Dear all,
on Wednesday, August 29, BBC on-line had a special edition of its phone-in programme "Talking Point" featuring Nelson Mandela and wife, Graca Machel.
They had joined BBC's Robin Lustig - in Johannesburg - to talk about ways to make the world a better place for children, ahead of the upcoming special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to children, which is due to open next month (September).
I have enclosed excerpts where they oppose the use of comprehensive sanctions.
Full transcript at:
Webcast (video & audio) is also available on BBC on-line.
Ornella Sangiovanni
Italian Campaign "Break the Sanctions!"/Bridge to Baghdad
Via della Guglia 69/a
00186 Rome
tel. 0039-06-6780808
fax 0039-06-6793968
Robin Lustig:
We have a question that has been sent to us on video. It comes from a girl from Afghanistan. Let's hear her question.

"My name is Barya. I am from Afghanistan. Presently I am living in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Mr Mandela, as you know, the United Nations has imposed economic sanctions on Afghanistan due to which children die of hunger every day. My question is: shouldn't the United Nations lift the sanctions to help the children?"

Nelson Mandela:

I want to repeat what I have said that our duty is to seek methods of addressing problems other than war. Now sanctions are meant for those undemocratic governments that are violating human rights.

The sanctions are intended to change the policy of those governments. We use sanctions in this country and successfully but of course sanctions need not be comprehensive. Sanctions should be directed to those people in government who are violating human rights.

But things like medical supplies must be available to a country and food for children should be available. And therefore while sanctions are important, comprehensive sanctions will have gone too far to hurt the economy of the country.

Robin Lustig:

Mrs Machel it is difficult for governments though to strike that balance isn't it? They want to effect change in a country where they regard the government as not observing basic human rights. They patently don't want children to suffer, yet one very often follows from the other.

Graca Machel

Yes but I think our point actually is that sanctions have to be directed to governments and they shouldn't hurt the basic needs of children and of the civilians as such. I know it is a very difficult balance to build but that is a challenge we have to face. We can't accept that we will sacrifice children and women because we want to strike on governments. So it is something we have to learn to deal with. If you are aware also even in the report we present[ed] to the United Nations - that is the line we still feel is the best to follow.

Robin Lustig:

So for Afghanistan specifically your preference would be - yes sanctions but no - not sanctions that hurt children.

Nelson Mandela:

Absolutely. Comprehensive sanctions I do not approve of. I approve of sanctions which are targeted at the rulers who suppress democratic values and democratic institutions.

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]