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[casi] German Activists Blast Sanctions Against Iraq

German activists blast "shocking" situation in Iraq

due to UN embargo

BAGHDAD, Jan 21 (AFP) - German peace activists ended a

six-day visit to Iraq on Tuesday denouncing the

"shocking and catastrophic" medical and health care

situation in the country due to 12 years of crippling

international sanctions.

Nine activists from the "German initiative against war

and sanctions on Iraq" headed home after touring

medical institutions in Baghdad and the main southern

city of Basra as well as meeting international

non-governmental organisations and Iraqi clerics.

"Our visits at the Al-Mansur hospital in Baghdad and

the mother-child hospital in Basra were shocking,"

said delegation representative Bernd Klagge, a

mathematician, during a press conference.

"The physicians described the catastrophic situation

of their medical institution," he said.

Klagge cited the case of a six-year-old girl suffering

from leukemia who had to interrupt her treatment due

to lack of appropriate medicines.

"The import of these drugs is slowed down and often

completely prevented by the UN sanctions committee:

that means the death of the sick children," he said.

He also reported that cases of the "kala azar"

tropical disease often occur in southern Iraq, but

could not be treated due to the same reasons.

"The disease can be healed in every case with the

suitable drugs, but leads in every case to death

without the drugs. The drug costs about 15 dollars per

child. the import of the necessary pentostam is

forbidden by the UN sanctions, " he said.

Iraq's imports are tightly controlled under the UN

oil-for-food programme, which allows Baghdad to

exchange oil for essential humanitarian goods.

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