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Re: [casi] Blair's press conference yesterday

On human rights, a clearer statement is the one in the United Nations
Executive Committee for Peace and Security, "Portrait of Iraq" (January 7,
2003). Looking at 5 possible outcomes for iraq (war and regime change, war
without regime change, chaos, regime change without war, and maintenance of
the status quo), it claims:

"The different scenarios presented in this paper have serious consequences
on the situation of human rights, ranging from a negligable change in
conditions to grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law" [para

There is a lot more detail in the document concerning reasons for this
assessment, and the factors that could change it.

Of course, there are plenty of humanitarian arguments for and against war
other than human rights, but I'm sure people are well aware of these.


I'm a little concerned about the claim that over 1 million children would
die following a war. The OCHA report this comes from actually says:
"In the event of a crisis, 30 percent of children under 5 would be at risk
of death from
malnutrition." [, p.5]

There's a difference between saying they will die and saying they are "at
risk of death". i.e. the 1 million (actually 1.26 million) figure is likely
to be reduced by humanitarian work by the UN and otherse.


--On 19 February 2003 11:46 +0000 Glen Rangwala <> wrote:
> Part of Blair's reply is:
> "Indeed I think I am right in saying that the UN Commissioner last week,
> Mr de Melo, who spoke about the fact that if there was regime change in
> Iraq, then the position of the Iraqi people could then improve because of
> the appalling circumstances in which they are living today."
> The individual he's referring to is the United Nations High Commissioner
> for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UNHCHR has issued a
> clarification, claiming that de Mello's remarks were mistranslated:
> de Mello actually said:
> "What is certain is that wars lead to violations of human rights and
> therefore the shorter they are, the better. Therefore, everything depends
> as well on the duration of wars. If the war were short, we could expect
> that the post war period might improve the human rights situation."
> Although the statement is ambiguous, it's a far cry from Blair's claim.
> Blair's other claim in response as part of this question, that:
> "you will also find from what the UN has been saying that there are
> appalling humanitarian consequences happening now in Iraq, and they are
> not happening because of America or Britain, they are happening because of
> Saddam"
> - is pure fantasy. The UN Security Council's own panel on sanctions wrote
> in 1999 that:
> "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors,
> especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such
> deprivations in the absence of prolonged measures imposed by the Security
> Council and the effects of the war"
> - para.45 of
> The other relevant references are as follows:
> Transcript of the Prime Minister's press conference on the 18th February
> 2003
> CASI Press release: Over 1 Million Iraqi Children Might Die in War -
> Secret UN Document (17 February 2003)
> United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,
> "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring
> Countries" [Confidential Draft] (January 7, 2003), via:
> Gary Jones, "Million Iraqi Kids Would Die in Conflict", Daily Mirror
> (London), 19 February 2003:
> ll&siteid=50143
> Glen.
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Daniel O'Huiginn
O9, Queens' College, Cambridge
07789 260207 01223 260207

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