TO THE EDITOR: UN's Iraq policy must change
Financial Times; 22-Feb-2000

From Ms Carolyn Miller.

Sir, Hans von Sponeck is right to stress the need for longer-term development principles in Iraq ("Former aid chief attacks UN Iraq policy", February 17). Dependency on hand-outs and the continued isolation and alienation of young Iraqis is not only undermining their rights, but perpetuating the next generation's hostility towards the international community. and yet the strong reaction to recent resignations of UN staff highlights a continued refusal to address the core problems in the design of the sanctions regime.

The UN secretary general has signalled that the humanitarian programme will not be changed fundamentally. But unless this happens the UN agencies and non-governmental organisations will continue to be trapped between the Security Council and the government of Iraq, unable to provide effective humanitarian support to Iraq's people.

For example, the new UN resolution does in principle authorise the use of cash in Iraq to purchase goods locally, and allow effective transportation and local training. But the stalemate between the UN and the government of Iraq about the delivery of this cash is stifling the humanitarian response.

Unless the voices of those who question the current humanitarian programme begin to be listened to, sanctions in Iraq will continue to hit the most vulnerable while failing to touch the elite.

Carolyn Miller, Director of Programmes, Save the Children UK, 17 Grove Lane, London SE5 8RD, UK

HTML conversion and hyperlinks by CASI, 17 March 2000.