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[casi] more letters sent to the Observer

For what it's worth here are the letters that voices and myself sent to the

Since their imposition in August 1990 economic sanctions 'have contributed
in a major way to persistent life-threatening conditions in [Iraq]' (Save
the Children Fund UK). John Sweeney seeks to obscure this basic fact (How
Saddam 'staged' fake baby funerals, 23 June). He would do well to take the
advice of the leading human rights NGO Human Rights Watch and 'stop
pretending that the sanctions have nothing to do with the dire public health
crisis confronting millions of Iraqis.'

Andrea Needham
voices in the wilderness uk

16b Cherwell Street

tel. 0845 458 2564.

John Sweeney writes that UNICEF's August 1999 child mortality estimates for
Iraq are 'open to question' because the surveys upon which they were based
were conducted jointly with the Iraqi Government (How Saddam 'staged' fake
baby funerals, 23 June).

He omits to mention that UNICEF had direct input into the design of these
surveys, were involved in the training of all survey supervisors, conducted
field visits to every governorate while the survey was being conducted,
oversaw the process of data entry, and had full access to the hard copies of
the interview records and the complete data sets for both surveys at all

If the Iraqi Government had attempted to manipulate the data by influencing
the survey interviewers to over-record the number of deaths or by directly
manipulating the survey data on the computer, this would have been detected
when UNICEF analysed the spread of births and deaths. The panel of experts
who reviewed the survey methodology and results for UNICEF looked for
evidence of such manipulation, they found none.

In reality it is only apologists for the sanctions, such as Mr Sweeney, who
'question' the reliability of these surveys.

Gabriel Carlyle
46 Rymers Lane

tel. 01865 - 714 036

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