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[casi] CESR Emergency Mission to Iraq / Re. targeting the water facilities

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Hi everybody,

The report that Jo cites, "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf Crisis: An In-Depth 
Assessment," by the International Study Team (members of which later formed the Center for Economic 
and Social Rights) has just been digitized, and will be available shortly on our website 
( as a PDF.

In addition, as part of our Emergency Campaign on Iraq, CESR has just sent a new research team to 
Iraq (through the end of the month) to assess the likely devastating humanitarian impacts of a new 
war and to calculate the costs of rehabilitating the already-crippled Iraqi health infrastructure.

The team is focusing its research on the following topics:

*       consequences of attacking the civilian infrastructure
*       consequences of destroying the electrical grid
*       consequences of disabling the food distribution and public health systems
*       psycho-social impacts of sanctions and war on women

The team is visiting southern and central Iraq, and will base their findings upon a combination of 
field surveys, interviews, and secondary information, including:

*       visits to hospitals, clinics, public markets, and food distribution sites
*       interviews with families in their homes to determine coping strategies
*       interviews with UN and Iraqi government officials responsible for electricity, water and 
sanitation, public health, trade, and food distribution
*       compilation of available secondary information from field reports and data

The research team is also being accompanied by a crew of videographers and photographers who are 
documenting the mission to help convey the human face of Iraq to the widest possible audience.

Based on the research agenda and findings, the team will prepare four concise reports for 
widespread public dissemination:

1.      Consequences of War: will assess full costs of a potential war, especially to vulnerable 
civilians, with a focus on damage to essential public services due to targeting of the economic and 
civilian infrastructure.
2.      Alternatives to War: will assess the benefits to the population of a peaceful resolution to 
the crisis, accompanied by lifting of sanctions and restoration of the economy and civilian support 
3.      Humanitarian Law: will summarize the legal responsibility of warring parties to protect 
civilian life and property during armed conflict, for the purpose of establishing accountability 
for any war crimes resulting from the planned attack.
4.      Health Infrastructure Assessment: will establish a baseline assessment of current 
conditions in order to assess any violations committed in the event of war and to estimate post-war 
and/or post-sanctions rehabilitation needs for the health system and other public sectors.

Such baseline data could be used as evidence in any future legal proceedings brought against US or 
other officials for commission of war crimes in Iraq. Yesterday, CESR joined with the New 
York-based Center for Constitutional Rights ( and more than 100 other legal experts 
in sending a letter to Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair and Chretien putting them on notice that "any future 
use of force without a new U.N. Security Council Resolution would constitute a crime against peace 
or aggressive war in violation of the U.N. Charter" and that in the case of human rights or 
humanitarian violations committed in the course of an attack on Iraq, "we will seek to pursue 
prosecutions of persons responsible for such crimes with the Prosecutor to ICC, where they are 
nationals of state party to the statute. For non-party states, like the U.S., we will petition the 
Security Council to refer the matter to the Prosecutor under the Statute of the ICC and actively 
pursue all other avenues of bringing them to account."  I will send a copy of the letter in a 
separate message to the list.

Below is biographical information about members of the CESR mission team:


Roger Michael Normand (Coordinator) is co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Economic 
and Social Rights (CESR), where he oversees policy, program and outreach, and directs projects in 
the Middle East and Central Asia. In recent years he has led human rights fact-finding missions to 
Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and Afghanistan. He is also an adjunct professor at the Columbia School 
of International and Public Affairs. In 1991, he helped organize the International Study Team 
missions to Iraq in 1991, the first independent investigations of the impact of war and sanctions 
on Iraq's civilian population. In 1988-90 he worked with Catholic Relief Services and Human Rights 
Watch-Asia on human rights and refugee issues in Southeast Asia. A graduate of Harvard Law School 
and Harvard Divinity School, he has written on human rights and refugee issues for a wide range of 

Philip Alston is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, 
at New York University Law School, and External Professor of International Law, European University 
Institute, Florence. He is President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Economic and 
Social Rights and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law. He chaired the UN 
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1991 to 1998, and was elected to chair the 
Meeting of Chairpersons of United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies in 1990, 1993, and 1997-98. He 
was appointed as an Independent Expert by the UN Secretary-General, at the request of the General 
Assembly, to report on measures to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the UN human rights treaty 
bodies (reports submitted in 1989, 1993, and 1997). He is currently Special Advisor to the UN High 
Commissioner for Human Rights, and a member of the consultative group for the (ILO-initiated) World 
Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization.

John Leonard McCullough is Executive Director of Church World Service since September 2000. 
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Rev. McCullough has extensive global experience in ministry, 
mission, and humanitarian assistance. He summarizes his personal mission as being one of "Preparing 
leaders for church and society, serving the needs of humanity, and working for global justice." 
Before assuming the CWS position, he was first Vice-Chair of CWSW and was a veteran member of CWSW 
Unit Committee. He has administered program of scholarships that awarded assistance to more than 
700 students around the world and introduced numerous new mission initiatives for the General Board 
of Global Ministries including: Missioners of Hope, Volunteers for Africa and Conference Committees 
on Mission Personnel.

Laurance Neall Nathan is Executive Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution at the University 
of Cape Town. His special area of interest is demilitarisation in South Africa, and Africa in 
general. Laurie has been actively involved in the anti-apartheid struggle since attending the 
University of Cape Town (UCT) in the late 1970s where he completed business science and law 
degrees, followed by a Masters in Philosophy at Bradford University's School of Peace Studies. He 
was President of the Students' Representative Council at UCT and Secretary General of the 
non-racial National Union of South Africa Students. He was also a founding member and for two years 
the national organizer of the End Conscription Campaign (ECC) which opposed the system of 
compulsory military service for white men. In 1988, the ECC was banned and Laurie spent two years 
evading arrest; he later learnt that he had been one of those targeted for assassination by the 
SADF hit-squad.

Hans von Sponeck is a 36-year veteran of the United Nations and former Assistant Secretary General. 
He joined the UN Development Program in 1968, and worked in Ghana, Turkey, Botswana, Pakistan and 
India, before becoming Director of European Affairs. He was appointed the UN Humanitarian 
Coordinator for Iraq in October 1998, overseeing roughly 500 international staff, as well as 1,000 
Iraqi workers. His responsibilities included directing all UN operations in country, managing the 
distribution of goods under the "Oil-for-Food" program, and verifying Iraqi compliance with that 
program. Mr. von Sponeck resigned this position in February 2000 in protest of current 
international policy toward Iraq, including sanctions. Since that time he has made numerous visits 
around the world, especially in Europe, to brief governments and parliaments about resolving the 
Iraq crisis. He has degrees from the University of Tübingen and the University of Bonn in modern 
European history and from the Louisiana State University and Washington State University in 
anthropology and sociology.


Peter Pellet (Coordinator) is an Emeritus Professor of Nutrition at University of Massachusetts in 
Amherst. He has conducted numerous health assessments throughout the Middle East, and was team 
leader of four FAO missions to Iraq. He has also done research in Iraq on behalf of WHO and UNICEF.

Elisabeth Ryden Benjamin is founder and supervising attorney of the New York Legal Aid Society's 
Health Law Unit. She has conducted health and human rights assessments to Iraq for the Harvard 
Study Team and International Study Team missions, and is interested in international human rights 
from the perspective of US accountability.

Charles Clements, a public health physician, is CEO and President of WaterWorks, an American NGO 
that assists communities resolve problems with potable water and sanitation in Mexico and the U.S. 
He has extensive experience dealing with conflict and humanitarian issues and is former President 
of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and prior to that was Director of Human Rights Education of 
the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

Ramzi Raymond Kysia is an activist and writer whose essays have appeared in numerous publications, 
including the Houston Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Counterpunch Magazine. Ramzi has 
worked with EPIC, Voices in the Wilderness and the National Network to End the War against Iraq.

Michael McCally is a public health physician and Professor in the Department of Public Health and 
Preventive Medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Oregon where he is 
director of the Center on Environmental Health Policy. Dr. McCally is President-elect of Physicians 
for Social Responsibility and was Treasurer of International Physicians for the Prevention of 
Nuclear War when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.

Michael Van Rooyen, is Associate Professor and Vice Chairman of Department of Emergency Medicine 
and Director of Center for International Emergency, Disaster & Refugee Studies at Johns Hopkins 

Ronald Jay Waldman is a Professor of Clinical Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health 
of Columbia University. He has extensive experience working in complex emergencies in Somalia, 
Rwanda, Bosnia, Albania, Congo, and Afghanistan. Dr. Waldman is the immediate past Chairman of the 
International Health Section of the American Public Health Association.

Sarah Leah Sally Whitson is a corporate lawyer and chair of the Government Affairs Committee of the 
New York Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. She participated in the Harvard Study Team 
and International Study Team assessment missions to Iraq.


Terry Allen is a journalist whose articles and photography have been published by the Boston Globe, 
The Nation,, New Scientist, and In These Times. She is currently editor of Amnesty Now, 
which reaches 300,000 Americans and features some of the world's best reporters and photographers.

Jason Rodger Florio is a New York-based photographer working with Sigma Agency. His work focuses on 
capturing the humanity of people in war, including most recently, in Afghanistan. His work has been 
widely published in the US and Europe.

Robert Jean Huber is a New York-based photographer working with Lookat Agency since 1996. His 
social-documentary medium and large format color work focuses on aspects of leisure culture and 
group behavior. He has recently been focusing on the rise of Christian groups in the USA. His work 
has been widely published in the US and in Europe.

Tia Lessin and Carl Deal have produced social-issue documentary television and film for over 
thirteen years, most recently Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine,"a film about the culture of 
violence and fear in America. Released this fall, the film won the National Board of Review Award 
for best documentary and is the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

For more information, please check our website at or e-mail me at


Jacob Park
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Emergency Campaign on Iraq
Tel: 718-237-9145
Fax: 718-237-9147

-----Original Message-----
From: Jo Baker []
Sent: Sat 1/25/2003 3:22 PM
Subject: [casi] Re. targeting the water facilities

        [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

        Hi Everyone

        This is a quote from the International Study Team who made surveys in Iraq in 1991 after 
the Gulf War.

        "Team members visited 13 cities inspected 28 facilities including 18 water treatment plants 
(WTP). eight waste water treatment plants (WWTP), one water supply facility (WSF), and one alum 
(aluminium sulphate) plant. They found that much of Iraq's water and wastewater systems are 
currently inoperable and ineffective.  Water treatment plants currently function at a fraction of 
their former capacities, with only one of the 18 plants visited operating at a 100% capacity. Many 
wastewater plants have ceased operation altogether. Water distribution suffers from reduced flows 
and limited chlorine. The sewage collection systems are partially operational due to the array of 
problems caused by the shut-down of lift stations during the war.  These problems are likely to 
reoccur as lift stations are again shut down for a lack of spare parts.

        Direct physical damage, either from the bombing or from looting during the civil uprisings, 
was found to be only a minor factor in the impairment of water or wastewater systems. The primary 
rate-limiting factors are lack of spare parts and supplies of chlorine and erratic electric 

        In further sections it states that, " The water distribution systems in some cities 
sustained collateral war damage. Water pipe breaks were frequent during the war. Mosul, for 
example, sustained water main damage at 24 sites..."  and  in regard to sewage plants only "the 
Rustumiyya Sewage Treatment Plant in Baghdad sustained bomb damage during the war. Several plants 
in the South sustained substantial damage in the ensuing civil strive."

        Throughout the report they emphasise that lack of spare parts and the erractic electrical 
supply are the major problem. The crime is that, subsequently, these parts for  water and 
sanitation  and power generation  were consistently put on hold by the US or UK members of the 
sanctions committee despite their awareness of the consequences to public health.


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