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11 February 2000
Re: Britain's trade bans can kill, say MPs - 11.2.2000
Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain's defence of the government's use of sanctions against Iraq ignores the devastating impact of sanctions on Iraqi children's rights, (Guardian, Feb 11th). For the Foreign Office it is no doubt a significant political and military achievement that "Iraq's threat to the wider world has been contained for over 10 years". Children in Iraq, however, are growing up isolated, angry, with inadequate educational opportunities, and new health problems like cholera, diphtheria and malnutrition which the country’s doctors have not been trained to handle.
Both Iraq and the UK have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Both targeted states and those imposing sanctions have a responsibility to ensure that children enjoy their rights to a safe and secure future. Sanctions have not reduced the Iraqi regime's human rights' abuses but have succeeded in constraining the Iraqi state's capacity to exercise its responsibilities for social welfare.
Save the Children hopes that the new cross-party report on the Future of Sanctions will not be dismissed by the UK Government. We hope it will mark the beginning of a process of full engagement by the UK Government with non governmental bodies, to minimise the negative impact of sanctions and to start building a future for the children of Iraq.
Director of programmes - Save the Children