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[casi] Amnesty seeks rights pledge from Blair

Amnesty seeks rights pledge from Blair

Amnesty wants assurances civilians are not being targeted
Human rights leaders from around the world are to urge Tony Blair to abide
by international law during the war with Iraq.
Amnesty International chiefs from Chile, Israel, Tunisia, Japan, the USA and
the UK will deliver an unprecedented joint statement representing 1.6
million members to Downing Street.

The petition calls for an immediate investigation into allegations of
unlawful killing and calls on the prime minister to use his influence over
US President George W Bush in ensuring coalition troops respect the 1949
Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war.

It will be delivered ahead of a vigil outside Number 10 by Mothers Against
the War who are calling for mothers to bring flowers, balloons and Mothering
Sunday cards.

Anti-war group Act Up for Peace are also planning a series of demonstrations
at government and military establishments around Norfolk.

On Saturday thousands of protesters around the UK demonstrated against the
war while service families in Devon held a rally in support of the troops.

Amnesty International spokesman Neil Durkin said the fears and concerns
raised by many before the conflict were now becoming reality.

Cluster bombs

"We are seeing civilians being killed or injured and we have worries about
the nature of the strikes and the bombs," he said.

"Have they been properly targeted, were they discriminate or

Mr Durkin said he did not expect a bloodless war or any warring party to
admit that they deliberately targeted civilians or were careless.

 You simply cannot target civilian resources and buildings. It's a breach of
the Geneva Convention

Neil Durkin
Amnesty International
But the petition, delivered by members including Secretary General Irene
Khan and UK chief Kate Allen, demands an explanation of the steps taken to
limit civilian casualties.

It also wants an assurance that indiscriminate weapons, such as cluster
bombs and land mines, will not be used.

Amnesty also asks the US-UK coalition to account for war crimes including
the targeting of the Iraqi national TV building in Baghdad.

Mr Durkin added: "You simply cannot target civilian resources and buildings.
It's a breach of the Geneva Convention. It has to be justified.

"If White City and the BBC was attacked or CNN on the grounds that it was
part of official state propaganda there would be outrage."

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has expressed his eagerness to see
Iraqi television taken off the air, especially after American prisoners were
paraded in front of the cameras.


But UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has denied that there had been a
deliberate attempt to take Iraqi TV off the air.

Mr Durkin said the organisation's figures suggested that around 500 had been
people killed since 20 March and more than 4,000 civilians had been injured.

The treatment of prisoners by both sides is a concern to Amnesty
The Amnesty leaders also ask for assurances that humanitarian aid of
essential supplies would get to those in need and that prisoners of war be
treated humanely.

Amnesty's Secretary General Irene Khan said: "The rights and needs of the
Iraqi people must be put first in this conflict and its aftermath.

"The UK Government and its coalition partners will be judged by the extent
to which they do this.

"Together we represent over 1.6 million Amnesty International members who
are watching the conflict in Iraq and are gravely concerned that human
rights are not being respected.

"We ask for an immediate assurance that UK forces will abide by
international law.

"Mr Blair must do everything in his power to get a similar assurance from
his coalition partners."

sign the pledge of resistance to the "war on terrorism"

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