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[casi] Amnesty: US/UK 'focused on oilfields'

Coalition 'focused on oilfields'
BBC Online, 16th April 2003

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has accused the US and
British forces in Iraq of working harder to protect the country's oilfields
than the Iraqi people.

Its secretary general, Irene Khan, said more effort was needed to defend the
country's hospitals, water supplies and people.
"Much planning and resources seem to have been devoted to securing Iraqi
oilfields," she said.

"However, there is scarce evidence of similar levels of planning and
allocation of resources for securing public and other institutions essential
for the survival and well-being of the population."

Ms Kahn described the US-UK response to the breakdown of law and order as
"shockingly inadequate".

Looting and violence had caused many Iraqis to be displaced, with
insufficient efforts to restore order, she said.

"The first taste of the coalition's approach to law and order will not have
inspired confidence in the Iraqi people," she said.

"Protecting people should be a primary responsibility of any power that
expects to enter a country and justifies its intervention on the basis of
liberating the people or protecting their rights."

Washington and London reject suggestions that the invasion of Iraq was
motivated by its large oil reserves, and say subsequent oil profits will go
to the Iraqi people.

Objection to Kurdish groups

Ms Khan also said coalition forces must vet potential police officers to
make sure no-one accused of human rights abuses was reinstated in the police

"We're not calling for the end of the occupation, just as we didn't call on
the UK and the US to go into Iraq, but now they're in Iraq, they must carry
out their responsibilities," she said.

Amnesty also objects to leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) taking part in a new government because
of alleged human rights violations during a civil war in the mid-1990s.

Amnesty said the groups, which have shared control of northern Iraq since
the 1991 Gulf War, were responsible for many civilian deaths and widespread

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/04/16 01:57:35


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