The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear discussion list members, Below is a proposal regarding the future of the Campaign against Sanctions On Iraq, we'd be delighted if you could read it and let us know what you think. Many thanks, Sam Royston, CASI 23/09/03 PROPOSAL TO TRANSFORM THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST SANCTIONS ON IRAQ On May 22, the United Nations Security Council voted to lift the sanctions imposed upon Iraq since 1991. The Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) was mandated to disband upon the lifting of sanctions. Much discussion has ensued about the future of CASI. The impact of UK policy on the humanitarian condition of the people of Iraq has always formed the core of CASI's mandate. The need for information and advocacy regarding Iraq's humanitarian situation clearly continues. What is lacking is a framework and a well-defined focus for post-sanctions advocacy. This is a proposal to disband CASI in its current form, in order to clear the path for a range of possible Iraq-centred initiatives, drawing upon the infrastructure, expertise and enthusiasm that CASI assembled. It sets out: - reasons for ending CASI in its current form - future roles for its website and email lists - how CASI's funds should be disposed of - possible initiatives for the future, some of which are already underway Ownership of CASI has never resided simply with its active committee members in Cambridge, and we now ask CASI's friends and supporters to respond to this proposal with their comments and opinions. We hope that this proposal will elicit debate on CASI's discussion list, and from others. Contact details can be found on the CASI website. We would also welcome any assistance with the specific tasks and projects proposed. The CASI committee intends to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting in Cambridge from 3 to 7pm on 18th October 2003, at the Erasmus Room, Queens' College. This meeting will discuss the proposal, vote on the disbanding of CASI's current form, and examine proposals for some of the new projects set out below. While we realise that CASI's members are dispersed throughout the UK and beyond, we hope that as many as possible will be able to attend. For travel directions to the college, please see http://www.quns.cam.ac.uk/Queens/Contact/Main.html#loc This is a troubling but exciting time for the CASI community. With your help, we hope to move forward, and continue to contribute to an understanding of the situation in Iraq, and ways in which it can be improved. (i) Reasons for ending CASI in its current form 1. CASI's work, and that of the wider anti-sanctions movement, has been based substantially upon its narrow remit. By deliberately limiting its focus to sanctions, and refraining from taking a position on broader political or military issues, the anti-sanctions movement aimed to build broad consensus around a narrow problem. While the range of advocacy issues surrounding post-war Iraq has been substantially widened, the organisation would benefit from a well-defined new mandate. 2. The broadening of advocacy issues around post-war Iraq is also, of course, an opportunity to widen support. Indeed, we have felt in the past that CASI's single-issue campaigning may have alienated a substantial population of concerned Iraqis and others. Collaboration with them around the humanitarian effort may now be possible. A new organisation would also allow for exciting new forms of collaboration: with Iraqis, much more extensively under the new political situation than has previously been possible; and between experts, researchers, activists, students and other organisations. 3. Many of CASI's sanctions-related resources are becoming out-of-date, although valuable as a foundation for future advocacy. In addition, retaining the old CASI committee and structure is, we feel, an inhibition to new initiatives. In order to make way for new projects, the sanctions focus of CASI needs to be cleared away, including its now obsolete name. New aims, a new name, and hopefully an expanded set of people at its centre, essentially constitute a new organisation. We have tried to strike a balance in the following proposal between continuing CASI's contribution to providing information about Iraq through the website and discussion list; building on CASI's experience, contacts and infrastructure; and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by what is effectively a fresh start. (ii) The discussion list and website 4. CASI has, since its inception as a student group in 1997, provided a forum for discussion on Iraq between academics, NGOs, campaigners and officials. The CASI website has also become one of the leading sources of information on Iraq. 5. The current sanctions-focussed website should be archived. It can thus: - continue to be a resource for those concerned with the history and legacy of sanctions - ensuring that the legitimacy of sanctions as a policy tool continues to be scrutinised, and lessons learnt from twelve years of sanctions on Iraq. - continue to solicit and respond to emails to the info@ address from interested parties concerned with sanctions or the history of Iraq/CASI. - point users to a new site (see below para. 8) 6. Since we believe that there remains a need for an internet portal collating both current humanitarian information and analysis on Iraq, a new website, focussing on the post-sanctions situation, will hopefully be established in the next few months. 7. The discussion list, casi-discuss, has formed an important information source, and a productive and lively community over the years. It should continue. Ideally we hope that current active members of the list will come forward to take responsibility for its moderation and maintenance. We hope that many of the academics, NGO personnel and other important information sources who have recently left the list might be persuaded to return to it, as well as new discussants from beyond the anti-sanctions movement. (iii) Successor projects 8. Website: Information provision remains perhaps the most useful and practical function to which a small group like CASI could contribute. A new website will be established in the next few months. This would ideally replace the breadth of topics covered by the old CASI website, and also take into account new topics generated by Iraq's new situation. The amount of work required for this is daunting. One solution would be a new form of website, to which a wide range of people ('editors') could submit links and documents, with pages generated semi-automatically. For instance, there might be one editor for "UN reports and activities", one for "political reconstruction", one for "CPA and national governments' policy", "NGO activity", and so on. This would decentralise effort, and would involve a number of people outside Cambridge. 9. Twinning project: Two important aspects of Iraq's reconstruction will be to reduce the human and cultural barriers fostered by a decade of sanctions and hostility; and to build human capital in Iraq itself. As a contribution towards these goals, we would like to establish academic twinning and exchange programmes between Cambridge and Iraqi further education institutions. Activities might include sending out surplus books from college and faculty libraries; setting up relationships between departments; and funding bursaries for visiting academics and/or students. Ultimately the hope would be to set up a twinning link between Cambridge and an Iraqi university, recognized and supported at an official university level. Ideally this project, in collaboration with similar plans elsewhere, including Columbia University, might encourage similar initiatives at other institutions. Some CASI committee members are already planning this project; for more information please contact Abi Cox (email@example.com) or Andrew Zurcher (firstname.lastname@example.org). 10. Cambridge Iraq Seminars towards a new campaign for rebuilding in Iraq: The focus of a future Iraq-centred advocacy or information group remains unclear. The situation in Iraq is currently so fluid, and our knowledge of it so limited, that to define the mandate of a new campaign without substantial consultation would be foolish. We therefore propose to hold a series of seminars in Cambridge in the coming months, inviting Iraqis, NGO representatives, officials, journalists, activists and others to discuss the current situation in Iraq, and useful ways to help - through practical projects, advocacy, and information provision. Not only will this serve to promote information and debate about Iraq, but it will also hopefully lead to the definition of a new mandate for a successor organisation. We would welcome offers to contribute to these seminars. (iv) Establishing successor projects 11. To formally disband CASI requires an Extraordinary General Meeting, which we propose should be held in Cambridge from 3-7pm on Saturday 18th October, at the Erasmus Room, Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge. This will ratify the disbanding of the organisation, and the destination of its funds. More importantly, it will also serve as a launch meeting to introduce new initiatives developing out of CASI. 12. We hope that archiving of the website will occur within a few weeks after the EGM. 13. More important than these practical steps will be people coming forward to contribute to successor projects, to propose useful future efforts, and to help to shape the focus of future Iraq advocacy amongst the CASI community. (v) CASI funds 14. Constitutionally, the funds donated to CASI to campaign against sanctions have to be donated to Iraq-based charities upon the lifting of sanctions. We have compiled a list of possible recipients, and a recommendation from the CASI committee. We welcome other suggestions, particularly of new domestic Iraqi NGOs and grass-roots humanitarian projects of which we aren't currently aware. 15. There is also the possibility that some of the existing CASI funds might be used to support successor initiatives, although the constitutional position of this is unclear. This will presumably be discussed at the EGM. 16. Important criteria for recipients: - effectiveness - flexibility in responding to changing needs - Prior experience in Iraq - Using local human resources and expertise - Making efforts to act independently of political or military pressure from occupying powers 17. All of the following list of possible beneficiaries fulfil these to some degree, prioritising those which have extensive Iraq experience (often not the larger USAID partners), local human resources, or which have shown a critical attitude towards the dangers of politicisation. The list is by no means exhaustive. A complete list of NGOs currently operating in Iraq is at www.agoodplacetostart.org/wdww.php UNICEF http://www.unicef.org/noteworthy/iraq/ - currently delivering supplies (high protein food, medical, water and water purification) for women and children UNESCO http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php@URL_ID=11178&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html - under OFF, were lead education NGO in Iraq (working both North and South) - now providing textbooks with USAID - also assisting with archival and cultural recovery projects CARE International http://www.careinternational.org.uk/cares_work/where/iraq/ - only international humanitarian NGO to maintain continuous presence in centre/south since 1991 - involved in restoring water supplies - also providing emergency medical supplies to hospitals - recommended by Emma Sangster of Voices on CASI-discuss Oxfam http://www.oxfam.org/eng/iraq_update.htm - are operating teams in central Iraq (Hilla, Karbala) as well as Baghdad and the south - working with local authorities and engineers, and UNICEF, to provide water, sanitation and public health care Save the Children UK http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/iraq/index.html - extensive prior experience in Northern Iraq - now focussing on health, education, food security and on child protection Christian Aid http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/world/where/meeca/iraqp.htm - has supported local partner organisations in Northern Iraq since 1991 - currently supporting (non-local?) partner organisations: Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health; IRAC (Iraqi Refugee Aid Council), working with Iraqi refugees in Iran, has now begun to work in southern Iraq assessing people's needs, and running water and sanitation programmes; NCA (Norwegian Church Aid) has set up emergency water and sanitation programmes in Basra. Medical Aid for Iraqi Children http://www.maic.org.uk/ Action Contre la Faim http://www.acf-fr.org/ - putting in place water and sanitation systems in North-East Baghdad International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies http://www.ifrc.org/WHAT/disasters/response/iraq.asp http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?03/080308.pdf - Iraqi Red Crescent society has been involved in advocacy and inspections of POWs; evacuation of wounded; reuniting of separated families; operation of border refugee camps - currently making assessments in Baghdad - intends to re-establish primary health care clinics, community-based first aid programme and health education - needs to replenish relief stocks looted in Baghdad Médécins Sans Frontiers http://www.msf.org/content/page.cfm?articleid=1AC93676-285D-4C66-900940BCB297B101 - much advocacy work for independence of relief effort - operates 2 primary health care centres in Baghdad LIFE for Relief and Redevelopment http://www.lifeusa.org/ - Muslim-American organisation established after First Gulf War, but now operating in other countries also - remained operative in Iraq during the conflict - assisting with Red Crescent hospitals in Baghdad (paying salaries) - LIFE clinic in Basra - partnered with "Americares", airlifted in first medical equipment for Baghdad hospitals - donated equipment to hospitals and universities -partnered with UNESCO on assessments of looted schools - does not appear to be using or liasing with local resources much? Medical Emergency Relief International http://www.merlin.org.uk/template4.asp?PageID=6 - provide health professionals in conflict zones - liasing with local health authorities - focussing on equipping hospitals and supplying medicines Human Relief Foundation http://www.hrf.co.uk/pressreleas6.html - member of BOND (British Overseas NGO's for Development) - has been working in Iraq since 1991 - new offices in Basra and Mosul, supporting families, 5 schools and 2 hospitals, and specialist cancer unit in Baghdad - delivers medication and equipment, and establishes longer-term sponsorship programmes for Iraqi institution. Islamic Relief http://www.islamic-relief.com/submenu/Appeal/iraq.htm - mainly operating in Baghdad - street cleanup project - Emergency Health Kits and food kits distributed - plans for: establishing a Leukaemia Centre in Baghdad, serving all of Iraq; rehabilitation of around 20 Primary Schools, 6 -10 Water Treatment Plants and 20 Primary Health Centres Fondacion Suisse de Deminage http://www.mineaction.ch/ - currently training 85 nationals to remove mines, UXO, cluster bombs etc. Mines Advisory Group (MAG) http://www.mag.org.uk/magtest/deadlygame/all.htm - has been operating in Iraqi Kurdistan ever since the first Gulf War Bridge to Iraq ("Un Ponte Per") http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/Rwb.nsf/s/C741889A5A66707FC1256D170030AA3E http://www.unponteper.it/en/index.html - working in Iraq since 1991 - the naughty dates people! - focus on small-scale community projects (e.g. sent small cardio-surgery team to Baghdad to perform operations, give lectures and provide refresher courses for local surgeons) - relies substantially upon local expertise - have reactivated "Sinbad" drug dispensary in Basra (operative since 1996) in cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Contact Ornella Sangiovanni - email@example.com Recommendation: There is a dilemma between funding - small, often locally experienced and creative organisations - larger coordinating NGOs with more strategic overview, infrastructure and perhaps contributing also to their work elsewhere (currently drained by Iraq donations.) A compromise might be to split the money equally between one of each sort. - half to a large group like CARE or UNICEF, with substantial experience in Iraq. - half to a smaller group, such as Un Ponte Per (CASI members have previously bought dates from the latter via Voices UK, included in the November 2002 "11 actions") or MAIC; or to a domestic Iraqi NGO or grass-roots project. <End of proposal> The CASI committee firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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