Resolution of Cambridge University Students' Union

3 March 1999


  1. that article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of all children to education, and obliges all countries to work towards making higher education accessible to all;
  2. that before Sanctions were imposed on Iraq by the UN following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, illiteracy rates in Iraq had been decreasing steadily (female illiteracy was 25.2% in 1987 down from 62.4% in 1977; male illiteracy was 13% in 1987 down from 24.4% in 1977);
  3. with UNICEF (April 1998 report), that the increase in literacy in Iraq has slowed considerably in comparison with other Arab countries and that male literacy had decreased to 1995;
  4. with UNICEF, that "[sc. amongst Iraqis] social esteem for education is the face of economic decline";
  5. with UNICEF, that the number of teachers in Iraq is falling by 10% each year;
  6. with UNICEF, that 1 million (20%) of Iraqi schoolchildren and students did not enroll in 1998;
  7. that economic sanctions on Iraq have prevented the import into Iraq of all of the following at some point since 1991: books, journals, pencils, and school desks;
  8. that the impoverishment of Iraq caused by economic sanctions has resulted in a steady decline in the budget of the Ministry of Education;
  9. with UNESCO, that 1.34 million books are required for 'priority needs' in the Iraqi education system;
  10. with UNICEF, that 4520 schools in Iraq need extensive rehabilitation;
  11. that it is UK policy not only to maintain and enforce the sanctions, but also to tighten them further.


  1. that communication between students in this country and those in different countries, including Iraq, may be of mutual benefit;
  2. that the absence of teachers and the paucity of funds and resources in primary and secondary level education in Iraq will adversely affect the standard of schoolchildren's education in Iraq;
  3. that as a result of (2) admissions and standards in Iraqi universities can only fall;
  4. that a high standard of university education in the present is integral to Iraq's ability, when sanctions end, to - manage the reconstruction and maintainance of its infrastructure - to run a fully functional health service - maintain the number of teachers and academics in its education system.


  1. to support our fellow students in Iraq whose education is being compromised by economic sanctions;
  2. to support Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) in expressing concern about the educational situation in Iraq;
  3. to allocate CASI £40 in photocopying facilities to enable it to spread awareness among Cambridge University students of the educational system in Iraq;
  4. to support CASI in its aim to initiate contact with Iraqi university students;
  5. to support the sending of books to Iraqi schools and universities when CASI has found a legitimate channel to do this.

Proposed by Elinor Wakefield (Queens')
Seconded by Seb Wills (Clare).