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Reuters reported on 24 January: “International health experts urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday to consider the horrific humanitarian consequences of war on Iraq and to prevent the escalation of violence. In an open letter published in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, more than 550 staff, students and alumni at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine warned that hundreds of thousands of people will be killed and injured in a war and most of them will be civilians. It is the first time staff and alumni of the prestigious school have come together to intervene in this way.” Key Quote: “[Tony Blair] doesn’t seem to realize that every time he talks about a war on Saddam Hussein what he really means is a war on civilians in Iraq”. Below find links to the open letter, the signatories, the full Reuters story and Oxfam International’s Iraq page on why the risk to civilians is too great to justify a war. The letter and story partially draw from UN, “Likely Humanitarian Scenarios”, 10 December 2002, http://www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210.html Oxfam International page on Iraq: “Oxfam believes that a military strike on Iraq cannot be justified. Millions of Iraqis are highly vulnerable to any military action that could increase civilian suffering and fuel regional instability. Up to 16 million people already rely on a fragile system of food aid for their survival.” Source: “Open Letter to Tony Blair: Call to Prevent Escalating Violence”, British Medical Journal, Vol. 326, Iss. 7382, 25 January 2003, http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7382/220 and http://bmj.com/cgi/reprint/326/7382/220.pdf * List of signatories http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7382/220/DC1 Main Oxfam Iraq page: http://www.oxfam.org/eng/iraq.htm Includes: * Oxfam International, “Oxfam International Policy on Potential Military Action in Iraq”, December 2002, http://www.oxfam.org/eng/iraq_policy.htm * Oxfam International, “Letter to the United Nations Security Council”, 16 December 2002, http://www.oxfam.org/eng/pdfs/doc_Iraq_UN_letter.pdf Source: Patricia Reaney, “Health Experts Warn of Iraq War Consequences”, Reuters, 24 January 2003, http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=2102803 [begin] International health experts urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday to consider the horrific humanitarian consequences of war on Iraq and to prevent the escalation of violence. In an open letter published in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, more than 550 staff, students and alumni at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine warned that hundreds of thousands of people will be killed and injured in a war and most of them will be civilians. It is the first time staff and alumni of the prestigious school have come together to intervene in this way. “Health professionals worldwide care for the casualties of war. We accept this responsibility. However, it is also our responsibility to argue for the prevention of violence and peaceful resolution of conflict,” wrote Dr Carolyn Stephens, who was nominated to compose the letter, sent to Blair last week. The school is considering sending a similar letter to President Bush. Stephens said the signatories normally do not step out of being scientists and academics but they felt compelled to write to Blair because a war will increase international violence. “He doesn’t seem to realize that every time he talks about a war on Saddam Hussein what he really means is a war on civilians in Iraq,” Stephens told Reuters. “He doesn’t seem to realize that the troops are going to be more or less massacring civilians rather than holding a war with a military leader.” The letter, to which Blair has not yet responded, cites evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations and Medact, a British charity of health professionals, which have warned of the far-reaching impact of a war. Apart from deaths and casualties the aftermath of a conventional war would include civil war, famine, epidemics, refugees and displaced people, and catastrophic effects on children’s health and development, according to Medact. The United Nations estimates a war will result in 500,000 direct and indirect casualties. The WHO argues the conflict can be averted through other means. Stephens said it is not just the staff in London who oppose the use of military intervention in Iraq but workers and alumni in Asia, Africa and Latin America, many of whom work for the WHO and in ministries of health throughout the world. “We all felt we should argue for peace and, as public health people, put the view that we are going to have to clean up all the casualties of any war and that we also have a strong responsibility to argue for peaceful resolution of conflict,” Stephens said. [end] Nathaniel Hurd Consultant on United Nations Iraq policy Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389 Fax: 718-504-4224 Residential Address: 90 7th Ave. Apt. #6 Brooklyn, NY 11217 _________________________________________________________________ Add photos to your messages with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*. http://join.msn.com/?page=features/featuredemail _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk