This Situation analysis has been prepared by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF programme procedures mandate such an assessment prior to the preparation of a new Country Programme.1 The aim of a Situation Analysis is to:

This introductory chapter sets out the conceptual framework and methodology used in the Situation Analysis. Chapter 2 describes the national context, while Chapters 3, 4 and 5 review issues related to survival and education, as well as to children in need of special protection. Chapter 6 addresses the human rights of women. Chapter 7 recommends priority interventions, and suggests areas for future research as well as advocacy.

a. Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of this report has two main pillars: the principles of human rights, and the causal analysis approach.

Human Rights

Key to the first pillar are the human rights principles contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), in line with the adoption by UNICEF of the human rights framework.

The four core principles of the CRC are: non-discrimination [CRC article 2]; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. They are covered by Articles 2, 3, 6, and 12 in the CRC (these and other relevant articles are excerpted in appropriate sections of this report). [In this electronic version, they are linked from appropriate sections of the text.] Given the context of Iraq which is described in Chapter 2, this Situation Analysis focuses in particular on the right to life and survival (Chapter 3), development (Chapter 4), and protection (Chapter 5).

The analysis will establish the extent to which th rights of children as well as those of women are respected, protected, promoted, and fulfilled by those in a position to do so, within th emeans at their disposal. "Duty bearers" responsible for the progressive realisation of these rights are generally held to include parents and the extended family, the community, and national as well as local government.

In the case of Iraq, it is necessary to add the international community, in the form of the United Nations, to this list of duty bearers, given that United Nations resolutions have placed the country under comprehensive sanctions since August 1990. The Situation Analysis will examine the role played by each set of duty bearers regarding the fulfilment of the rights of children as well as those of women.

Three more aspects of the international human rights framework are important to note with regard to this report's conceptual framework. The first relates to the inclusion fo the rights of women in a Situation Analysis that deals with children, when both parents are equal duty bearers [CRC article 18]. First, women's human rights are a good in themselves. Second, the status of women's nutrition, health, and education has been shown to be directly related to the survival and development of their children, particularly during pregnancy and breast-feeding, that is, at the beginning of the child's life-cycle.3 Women who do not enjoy their human rights - throughout their own life-cycle - are not in a position to effectively provide for the survival and development of their children.

This report addresses the rights of women in two ways. First, where possible, it disaggregates the data presented in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 to examine not just the overall status of children but also the status of girls vis-à-vis that of boys, at different stages of their life-cycle. Second, it includes a chapter dedicated to the human rights of women.

However, the inclusion of the rights of women should not be interpretd to mean that women's roles are restricted to motherhood, or that men's roles as fathers are not critical to their children's survival, well-being and development. Both parents are considered to be equal duty bearers in terms of ensuring, within the resources available to them, a social and economic environment that promotes their children's development.

By the same token, women have rights and responsibilities to themselves and to society that are separate from those of their children. This report does not use the phrase "women and children", in order to avoid the tendency to think of women only in connection with their children, and not to think of men in connection with their children.

The second aspect to note regarding the human rights framework is the importance of the right to development. The right to development is not embodied in a separate convention, but after a decade of debate it was recognised as a right by the consensus of the international community at the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993. Without impinging on the principle of indivisibility of all human rights - civil, political, economic, social, and cultural - the right to development brings economic, social and cultural rights to the fore, and shows how these can be achieved in tandem with civil and political rights. This was a major step forward for human rights, because the content of economic, social and cultural rights had previously been far less fully developed than that of civil and political rights.

The challenges of fulfilling economic, social and cultural rights have long been recognised. Many civil and political rights can be secured by acts of political will, wheras economic and social rights require the availability of resources, as well as the capacity to manage and the commitment to use those resources to good effect. Moreover, it has been difficult to "measure" the fulfilment of economic and social rights. In this respect, the development of targets and indicators during the world conferences of the 1990s has been very helpful in setting standards for the international community, and in developing the content of economic and social rights. The UNICEF End-of-Decade goals provide a way to assess the fulfilment of children's rights within and across countries.

The right to development is particularly important to consider in the case of Iraq, which, it can be argued, constitutes a unique case of "de-development". This will be discussed in Chapter 2 dealing with the national context.

Finally, the third aspect to note regarding the human rights framework, is what could be considered as the "rights of future generations". The question of the needs of future generations was first addressed in the context of environmental sustainability by the international community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development adopted byh consensus on 14 June 1992 proclaims, in Principle 3, "The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations".

In the 1994 Human Development Report, the concept of te "universalism of life claims" is put forward as the "common thread that binds the demands of human development today with the exigencies of development tomorrow. ... The strongest argument for protecting the environment is the ethical need to guarantee to future generations opportunities similar to the ones previous generations have enjoyed".

While the "rights" of future generations have not been captured in a convention, serious thought is clearly being given to the subject. This concept is especially relevant to children, who are the next generation, as well as the parents of generations to come. The importance of such a concept in the case of Iraq cannot be overstated. Whatever is visited on the children of Iraq today will affect the development of many future generations. This issue will be kept in view as the analysis unfolds.

Causal analysis

The second pillar for the conceptual framework of this report is the causal analysis. There are three levels of interlinked causes that can elad to the non-fulfilment of rights:

The causal analysis approach is particularly helpful in the case of Iraq, where it is important to be able to distinguish those basic causes attributable to the sanctions regime from other basic causes, as well as from underlying and immediate causes. Sanctions-related basic causes can only be addressed in the context of an international political resolution of th epresent situation, and, as such, are not under the control of national authorities responsible, for example, for social services. However, other basic cases relted, for instance, to institutional arrangements can be addressed by national authorities if a convincing case is made that these are relevant to children's survival and development.

In addressing the rights of children to life, survivial and education, this report will first assess the situation, and then examine the immediate, underlying, and basic causes for current conditions.

b. Methodology

The Situation Analysis is based on primary and secondary data, as follows.

Information gathered as a result made it possible to form an assessment of the situation and then to analyse causes with a view to recommending priority interventions. However, it should be pointed out that it is very difficult to form a clear picture of the situation in Iraq based on accurate data. Political factors make the release of data sensitive in the country. In addition, the capacity of national authorities to capture and analyse data has been adversely affected over the past decade. Therefore, some of the findings draw on observation and even anecdote rather than on comprehensive data.

© UNICEF 2002
Electronic version prepared by CASI