|Campaign Against Sanctions on IraqPLEASE NOTE THIS SITE IS NOW AN ARCHIVE, AND IS NO LONGER UPDATED. For information on Iraq since May 2003, please visit www.iraqanalysis.org.|
17 February 2003, 10:00 GMT - For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Over 1 Million Iraqi Children Might Die in War - Secret UN Document
A newly-obtained confidential UN document predicts that 30 percent of children under 5 in Iraq, or 1.26 million, "would be at risk of death from malnutrition" in the event of a war. The draft document, "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", was produced by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 7 January 2003. Its release comes as aid agencies and government representatives meet urgently in Geneva to discuss humanitarian operations in the event of war."
The document, available at www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.html, contains the following key assessments:
Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) co-ordinator, Jonathan Stevenson, said:
"These UN estimates reveal that the people of Iraq are facing a humanitarian crisis of overwhelming severity. The $30m of emergency aid offered to handle this - little more than $1 per Iraqi - is wholly inadequate. Tony Blair talks of a moral case for war, yet once again the indications are that no serious responsibility is being taken for the impact of UK policies on Iraq civilians."
The OCHA document is one of three internal UN documents released jointly by the New York-based Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and CASI. The document was obtained by the CESR from UN personnel who believe that the potential humanitarian impact of war is a matter of global public concern that should be discussed fully and openly.
Notes to journalists:
1. The OCHA document is available at www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.html.
2. Please note this UN document is a draft. Estimates and other content may have since been revised. Please also note that a page reference above to, for example, [p. 3(5)], denotes page 3 in the number scheme of the original document, which is the 5th page in the PDF version hosted on the CASI website.
3. On Thursday 13 February, UN agencies revised their funding requirements for preparedness measures for a possible conflict to a total of "about $120 million" (see www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2003/OshimaBriefing.doc.htm). As of then, it was reported, some $30 million had been pledged after an initial request of $37.4 million.
4. A recent CESR document also released on Thursday 13 February warning that the international relief community is unprepared for humanitarian disaster in Iraq is available at www.cesr.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&catid=538&cpid=397&pressview=1.
5. A 1993 case study in the Physicians for Social Responsibility Quarterly found that "the number of Iraqis who died in 1991 from effects of the Gulf war or postwar turmoil approximates 205,500" (see Beth Osborne Daponte, "A Case Study in Estimating Casualties from War and Its Aftermath: The 1991 Persian Gulf War", www.ippnw.org/MGS/PSRQV3N2Daponte.html).
According to an internal UN document, 'Likely Humanitarian Scenarios', dated 10 December 2002 and released by CASI in January: "There is a temptation is some quarters to equate the situation following any future military intervention in Iraq, with the population's ability to cope in 1991. Such comparisons are not valid, as the sustentative majority of the population, immediately prior to the events of 1991, were in full employment and had cash and material assets available to them to cope with the crisis. Aside from now not having been gainfully employed for some time, during the intervening period, all except the most privileged have completely exhausted their cash assets and have also in most cases disposed of their material assets. Accordingly, the bulk of the population is now totally dependent on the Government of Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs and, unlike the situation in 1991, they have no way of coping if they cannot access them." The full document is at www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/war021210notes.html.
6. The Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) is a Cambridge-based NGO which provides information about the humanitarian situation in Iraq and its context. It also aims to raise awareness of the effects of sanctions on Iraq, and campaigns on humanitarian grounds for the lifting of non-military sanctions. CASI's concerns are exclusively humanitarian: it does not take a position on war on Iraq, nor does it support or have ties to the government of Iraq.
This archive site is hosted by the Iraq Analysis Group, to whom queries should be directed