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					  voices in the wilderness uk



Report to the United Nations
Security Council

  Economic Sanctions on Iraq:
  A Brief Review
  voices in the wilderness uk
  26 November 2000
Chapter


 1
The Dimensions of the Humanitarian Crisis
A Complex Emergency

An Evolving International Consensus

          Over the past three years, the international community has evolved something
          approaching a consensus of opinion regarding the humanitarian situation in Iraq.
          According to the new consensus

          1) There is a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions in Iraq.

          2) The humanitarian crisis is very largely caused by the comprehensive economic
              sanctions being imposed on Iraq by the United Nations.

          3) This is an intolerable situation that demands radical change in the measures
              being taken against Iraq.

          Whitehall and the White House have been left rather isolated by the development of
          international and even domestic opinion.

          This evolving consensus is demonstrated by the following set of quotations from very
          different parts of British public opinion.

          On 8 April 2000, The Economist addressed the crisis in Iraq in an editorial entitled, „All
          wrong in Iraq‟. The world‟s leading business magazine observed: „Slowly, inexorably,
          a generation is being crushed in Iraq. Thousands are dying, thousands more are
          leading stunted lives, and storing up bitter hatreds for the future.‟ The editorial offered
          the following assessment of the moral burden involved for the UN and for the Security
          Council in particular:


             „If, year in, year out, the UN were systematically killing Iraqi children by air strikes, western
             governments would declare it intolerable, no matter how noble the intention. They should find their
             existing policy just as unacceptable. In democracies, the end does not justify the means.‟


          The following month, on 27 May 2000, the world‟s leading medical journal, The
          Lancet, suggested that sanctions should be „suspended‟, apparently unconditionally,
          largely because of their humanitarian impact.

          An earlier report from a group of Anglican Bishops, Conclusions from an Anglican visit
                          rd     th
          to Iraq, May 3 to 10 1999, had stated firmly, „we believe that the vast majority of the
          Iraqi civilian population is suffering grievous harm both physically and psychologically
          as a direct result of the sanctions policy imposed on the country by the UN Security
          Council.‟ The Bishops condemned the sanctions without reserve:
         „Sanctions in their present form are ethically untenable, because they are hitting the weakest and
         most vulnerable. As Christians we find this utterly opposed to the mind of Christ.‟


      Writing in the right-wing Sunday Telegraph, the BBC‟s World Affairs Editor, John
      Simpson (who reported from Iraq in 1991), has been equally forthright. Referring to the
      continuing bombardment of Iraq, the BBC‟s senior foreign correspondent remarks that
      „no one will listen when Saddam‟s officials say that civilians have been killed,‟ before
      moving on to the sanctions themselves:

      „As for the people dying of malnutrition and disease, that is an attested fact. We dig
      deep into our pockets at the thought that Ethiopians might soon start dying again of
      hunger; but Iraqis? It‟s because we don‟t see them. Our governments pour contempt
      and scorn on those who call attention to these things...‟ („Inhumane war that puts us all
      to shame‟, Sunday Telegraph, 30 April 2000, p. 32)


         „If people could hear and see what is being done in their names in Iraq, they would be outraged.
         But they don‟t, so it continues.‟


      A sure sign that public opinion was indeed evolving in a particular direction came
      when a mainstream British political party, the Liberal Democrat, spoke out against the
      comprehensive economic sanctions at its party conference in September. Menzies
      Campbell, Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, argued on 18
      September 2000 that there would be no danger to regional security or world peace if
      the non-military sanctions were lifted.


         „It should now become the policy of the British Government that sanctions other than those directly
         relevant to military or military related equipment should be lifted.‟



A Complex Emergency

      In last year‟s review of the humanitarian situation, UN agencies based in Iraq
      submitted a set of reports on various aspects of the humanitarian crisis. (Special
      Topics on Social Conditions in Iraq: An Overview Submitted by the UN System to the
      Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues, 24 March 1999)

      The World Health Organisation reported in a paper on „Mental Health‟ in Iraq since
      1990 that there has been a „noticeable increase‟ in mental disorders such as „stealing,
      hostility, tantrum, murder, vandalism; anxiety, depression, phobia, lack of self
      confidence, sleep disturbances, hypochondria; psycho-somatic disorders; post
      traumatic stress disorders; psychoses.‟ The numbers of mental health patients rose by
      over 130% between 1990 and 1998, according to the WHO.


         „The number of young children and adolescents, below the age of 14 years and suffering from
         mental disorders increased by 124% between 1990 and 1998. The percentage of children below
         10 years of age and with mental distress rose from 42% in 1996 to 56% in 1997.‟


      The UN Multi-Disciplinary Observation Unit reported that death rates among the
      elderly were „unarguably‟ higher than in the pre-sanctions period. This was very largely


                                                         2
        due to the collapse in state-provided shelter for the elderly, and to the need in such
        vulnerable groups to sell government-provided food rations to raise cash for clothing,
        rented accommodation, and other needs.

        The UN Development Programme estimated women‟s share of the urban job market
        in 1997 to be 1.3%, „the lowest since 1985‟. „This was mainly due to economic and
        administrative downward adjustment of the public sector, the main source of
        employment for educated women.‟ The collapse of public sector employment being
        due to the collapse in public revenues because of economic sanctions.

        The World Food Programme noted that while in the 1980s „the destitute‟ registered
        with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) received a monthly cash
        allowance amounting to about US$ 175 (on average), in 1999, the cash allowance for
        the destitute amounted to about US$ 1.20. Furthermore, because of the ministry‟s
        inability to cope with the rapidly increasing number of „the destitute‟, MOLSA officially
        ceased to register new cases in 1994. „This was another signal of growing poverty and
        the inability of the GOI to continue to provide a social safety net.‟

        UNESCO observed that „Iraq was awarded an international trophy‟ before the
        sanctions for the remarkable progress it made in eradicating illiteracy. The literacy rate
        shot up from an estimated 52 percent for the whole of Iraq in 1977 to 80 percent in
        1987. „In 1995, the rate of illiteracy was estimated at 42 percent; a major shift in favour
        of illiteracy.‟

        Across a wide range of social, cultural and psychological indicators, there are strong
        signs of a deep humanitarian crisis.


Killing The Children Of Iraq

        Most international concern has focussed on the plight of the children of Iraq. In
        November 1997, a spokesperson for the UN children‟s agency UNICEF in Iraq,
        Philippe Heffinck, stated, „It is clear that children are bearing the brunt of the...
        economic hardship.‟

        In August 1999, UNICEF estimated that 500,000 more children under the age of five
        died between 1990 and 1998 than would have died if child death rates had continued
        to decline at the rate they did in the 1980s. Hundreds of thousands of children died
        because basic health conditions in Iraq changed.

        In the document „UNICEF: Questions and Answers for the Iraq child mortality surveys‟,
        (16 August 1999) UNICEF set out the following question and answer:


           „Does UNICEF Does UNICEF think the type of sanctions imposed on Iraq are responsible for the
           rise in child mortality?

           It is certainly one factor. The Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues summarized the
           situation well when it said in March [1999] - "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to
           external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations
           in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war".




                                                          3
The agency also asked and answered the following question: „Given the results of this
survey - does UNICEF think the sanctions should be lifted?‟

„The imposition and lifting of sanctions is a matter for the Security Council. As an
agency of the United Nations, UNICEF is bound by article 48 of the United Nations
Charter to implement the decisions of the Security Council.

„UNICEF has voiced its concern repeatedly that if sanctions are to be implemented
they should be implemented in such a way as to not have a negative impact on
children. This is not the case in Iraq.‟ (Emphasis added.)

Dr. Peter Pellet, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts, and the
leader of several nutrition surveys in Iraq during the past decade, remarked in January
1999 that, „Worldwide, poverty is the main determinant of malnutrition and child
mortality. Hence it is not surprising that artificially induced poverty by economic
embargo produces the same results.‟

Dr. Pellet also observed, „Sanctions are not the humane alternative to war that they
are purported to be, and if there were justice in this world these actions promoted by
the United States and Britain in the name of the UN would be seen as the crime
against humanity that they are.‟ (letter, Guardian Weekly, 10 January 1999)




                                          4
Chapter


 2
Overcoming The Legacy of Sanctions
Restoring Public Infrastructure, Restoring Real Family Incomes

The Inadequacy of Oil-for-Food

          Since early 1997, the UN has overseen an Oil-for-Food humanitarian programme
          which has allowed Iraq to buy humanitarian goods with the revenue earned from UN-
          monitored oil sales.

          While Oil-for-Food has undoubtedly improved the humanitarian situation in Iraq by
          some significant margin, child health, for example, has not recovered its former levels.

          In a „Situation Analysis of Women and Children in Iraq - 1997‟, published in April 1998,
          UNICEF stated categorically, „Economic sanctions on Iraq over the past seven years
          have had a devastating effect on the majority of the Iraqi people, particularly children.‟
          The UN agency went on, ‘The Oil-for-Food Plan has not yet resulted in adequate
          protection of Iraq’s children from malnutrition/disease.’ This continues to be the
          case.

          For example, in November 1997, there were 960,000 chronically malnourished
          children under the age of five in Iraq, according to UNICEF. In September 2000, the
          UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reported that there were at least 800,000
          chronically malnourished children under the age of five in Iraq.

          The Security Council‟s own Panel on Humanitarian Issues pointed out in March 1999
          that Oil-for-Food was inherently incapable of solving the humanitarian crisis.


             Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about in the implementation of the current
             humanitarian programme - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi
             Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot
             be met within the context of the parameters set forth in resolution 986 (1995) [Oil-for-Food] and
             succeeding resolutions, in particular resolution 1153 (1998) [which expanded Oil-for-Food].

             Nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people. (S/1999/356, 30 March
             1999)



The Public Health Infrastructure

          The level of investment needed to repair civilian infrastructure destroyed in 1991 - to
          be able to provide clean drinking water so that children will not die of waterborne
          diseases, for example - has been far beyond the capacity of Oil-for-Food.

          The electricity sector, which underpins the rest of the public health infrastructure,
          requires at least $7bn by itself, according to the UN Secretary-General‟s February
          1998 review of Oil-for-Food: „Provisional estimates considered during the programme


                                                            5
review indicated that some $870 million would be required to address immediate
rehabilitation and maintenance needs for the electricity infrastructure (generation,
transmission and distribution) and the total value of all projects necessary to address
the sector's operating problems amounted to over $7 billion.‟ (S/1998/90) (Note that a
special UN mission to Iraq in 1991 estimated the cost of repairing the electricity sector
at $12bn. S22799, July 1991)

The Secretary-General warned in February 1998, „Under present conditions, the rate
of deterioration will continue to increase and, with it, the threat of a complete
breakdown of the network. The humanitarian consequences of such a development
could potentially dwarf all other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people.‟

In September 2000, the Secretary-General noted that a recent fire in the transmission
lines at Mussaiyab Power Station „resulted in the loss of 600 MW‟ of power, which in
turn increased power cuts to 8 hours per day for consumers in Baghdad and up to 20
hours in other affected governorates.

The fundamental situation remains unchanged: „The entire electricity grid is in a
precarious state and is in imminent danger of collapsing altogether should another
incident of this type occur.‟ Such a collapse could cause „humanitarian consequences‟
which would „potentially dwarf all other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people.‟

Apart from the electricity sector, many other elements of public health infrastructure
need to be addressed - at the cost of billions of dollars - if, for example, child health is
to be restored to anything like its former level. The sewage, sanitation, water
purification, telecommunications, medical equipment repair and re-stocking, and
health facility restoration. Furthermore, UN missions have identified Iraqi agriculture
and education as key public health sectors needing massive funding.

And underpinning all of this reconstruction must be the Iraqi oil industry, which
successive UN reports have described as „lamentable‟. Without billions of dollars
worth of investment and repair in this sector, the government will be unable to sustain
purchases of vital humanitarian goods and services from abroad.

These needs have far exceeded the capacity of Oil-for-Food. While oil prices are
buoyant at the time of writing, and Iraq is therefore predicted to earn over $10bn for
humanitarian purposes in the next twelve months, there are no guarantees that prices
will remain high.

It can be guaranteed, however, that there will be substantial time lags in purchasing,
producing, importing, and installing key infrastructure goods. In the electricity sector,
for example Kofi Annan warned in February 1998 that the „implementation time of
many requirements extends to two years or more‟. (S/1998/90)

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a report in December 1999
entitled Iraq: A decade of sanctions. The Red Cross acknowledged that Oil-for-Food
„has done much to alleviate the plight of the civilian population, especially as regards
food and medicines‟. „However‟, the international humanitarian organisation remarked,
Oil-for-Food „has not halted the collapse of the health system and the deterioration of
water supplies, which together pose one of the gravest threats to the health and
well-being of the civilian population.’ (Emphasis added.)

In other words, „The most important problem in our view is the increasingly precarious
situation of the public infrastructure‟ (Beat Schweizer, head of an ICRC delegation to
Iraq, 23 January 2000, Associated Press report).




                                              6
The Need For Purchasing Power

       Quite apart from the inadequacies of Oil-for-Food in terms of the provision of public
       goods and services at the macro level, there is a fundamental problem which the
       programme cannot solve at the micro level.

       An analysis of the impact of sanctions by two London School of Economics
       economists in 1991 pointed out that there is a difference between „aggregate
       sanctions‟ (which affect the quantities of goods and services which can be imported
       into Iraq) and „effective sanctions‟ (which are measured in terms of how families and
       businesses are enabled or impoverished).

       Jean Dreze and Haris Gazdar, who visited Iraq in the course of writing Hunger and
       Poverty in Iraq, 1991, tried to re-position the debate about sanctions.

       „The “effects of sanctions” have often been analysed in terms of what these sanctions
       do to aggregate commodity supplies - how far food supplies, or medical supplies, or
       the supply of cement fall short of ordinary levels. What really matters, however, is how
       the sanctions affect the ability of households (or enterprises, in the case of raw
       materials and intermediate inputs) to acquire the commodities in question. “Effective
       sanctions” in that sense can be quite different from what sanctions look like on the
       basis of supply-centred analysis.‟

       To put it simply, vulnerable families need purchasing power as well as public
       services.

       They need to be able to buy clothing, to rent accommodation, to buy fresh vegetables
       and fruit.

       Unemployment in Iraq is estimated by former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq
       Hans von Sponeck to be over 60%. Those who are in employment are paid low
       wages in a massively devalued currency - in 1990, 1 Iraqi Dinar used to be worth £2;
       in 2000, £1 is worth around 3000 Iraqi Dinar.

       To provide ordinary families with purchasing power, so that they do not have to sell
       their food rations to buy other necessities, will mean reflating the Iraqi economy to
       generate employment and to restore the value of the Iraqi Dinar.

       According to an Associate Press report of 22 July 1999, Deputy US Ambassador to
       the UN Peter Burleigh cast doubt on the need for an increased level of Oil-for-food
       revenues: „My question would be, if more than $5.2bn is now needed, what for? Is that
       humanitarian needs? Or are we getting into suggestions about rebuilding the Iraqi
       economy, which is a very different question for the Security Council?‟

       The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation very clearly stated in 1995 that the solution
       to the nutritional crisis in Iraq „lies in adequate food supplies in the country, restoring
       the viability of the [Iraqi Dinar], and creating conditions for the people to acquire
       adequate purchasing power. But, these conditions can be fulfilled only if the
       economy can be put in proper shape enabling it to draw on its own resources, and
       that clearly cannot occur as long as the embargo remains in force.‟ (Emphasis
       added, Evaluation of Food and Nutrition Situation in Iraq, FAO 1995)

       „Rebuilding the Iraqi economy‟ is, with respect to Mr Burleigh, not „a very different
       question‟ from the question of meeting humanitarian needs in Iraq.




                                                   7
Chapter


 3
The Burden Of Responsibility
A Moral And Legal Framework For The Security Council

Procedural Failures

          A number of commentators have assessed the legality and morality of the current
          sanctions regime on Iraq.

          The Centre for Economic and Social Rights have pointed out (in their report
          Unsanctioned Suffering) that there was a moral and legal duty on the UN Security
          Council when it instituted the sanctions regime both to acknowledge its own
          responsibility for the human rights impact of the measures taken, and to establish
          mechanisms to monitor these human rights impacts.


             „The Security Council has clearly violated these minimum procedural duties in the case of
             sanctions on Iraq. Notwithstanding frequent statements of concern regarding the humanitarian
             situation in Iraq, the Council has failed to acknowledge its own legal responsibility to protect the
             rights of Iraqi civilians suffering under sanctions. While Council resolutions often invoke the
             authority of international law, and condemn Iraq for violating the human rights of its own citizens,
             they do not acknowledge that the Security Council is itself bound by international law and human
             rights.‟

             „The Security Council has also violated its procedural duties by failing to monitor the impact of
             sanctions on human rights. For six years, the Council has devoted considerable resources and
             personnel to five newly-created commissions to monitor the implementation of the Council‟s
             resolutions in such areas as inspecting Iraqi weapons programs, establishing the border with
             Kuwait, and locating Kuwaitis prisoners of war. The work of these commissions has frequently
             been supported by actual or threatened military action. Yet the Security Council has not created a
             commission or devoted funding to monitor the human rights impact of sanctions, instead
             occasionally taking note of reports by other UN bodies and independent research groups.‟


          The Security Council has, since the CESR published these remarks, set up two
          bodies to investigate the humanitarian situation in Iraq, one in 1999, and one in 2000.
          However, neither has been charged with evaluating the humanitarian or human rights
          impact of the sanctions regime.

          In UN Security Council Resolution 1302, the Security Council asked the UN Secretary-
          General „to appoint independent experts to prepare by 26 November 2000 a
          comprehensive report and analysis of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including the
          current humanitarian needs arising from that situation and recommendations to meet
          those needs, within the framework of the existing resolutions.‟

          The possibility that the humanitarian situation might require a fundamental alteration in
          the „framework of the existing resolutions‟ was excluded in principle from the
          discussion.




                                                             8
Substantive Violations

       The UN Security Council has a duty to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human
       Rights (Article 25 concerns the right of each person to „a standard of living adequate
       for the health and well-being of himself and his family‟) and the International Covenant
       on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Rights acknowledged in these treaties,
       which belong to each individual person in Iraq, have been violated by the sanctions
       regime.

       Also relevant is the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, as the Centre
       for Economic and Social Rights observes:


          „It is hard to think of a more grave breach of child rights in modern history than the suffering and
          death of hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five caused by a political dispute
          between “their” government and the international community. The Security Council shoulders a
          large measure of responsibility for these violations by maintaining sanctions without taking strong
          measures to prevent this suffering.‟


       The Committee on the Rights of the Child oversees the implementation of the
       International Convention on the Rights of the Child. In October 1998, the Committee
       noted „that the embargo imposed by the Security Council has adversely affected the
       economy and many aspects of daily life, thereby impeding the full enjoyment by the
       State party's population, particularly children, of their rights to survival, health and
       education.„ (CRC/C/15/Add.94, emphasis added)


The Individual Nature Of Human Rights

       The CESR points out that human rights belong to individuals, not to
       governments, and therefore cannot be reduced in value because of the behaviour
       of the state in which they live.: so that the Security Council ‘remains accountable
       to human rights principles regardless of the conduct of the Iraqi government’:

       ‘As a matter of fundamental principle, human rights are based on the inherent
       dignity and worth of every human person, and are owed directly to individuals.
       These rights are not forfeited because of a government’s misconduct’

       Each mentally ill person who has suffered as a result of the sanctions regime, each
       elder reduced to destitution and homelessness, each child who has died of hunger
       and disease, each child who will grow up physically and mentally stunted because
       of malnutrition and the destruction of education, each individual who has
       suffered or who may suffer in the future because of the imposition of economic
       sanctions, has a claim on the members of the Security Council.

       The Secretary-General has frequently drawn the attention of the Security Council
       to the ‘human dimension’ of the crisis in Iraq. That ‘human’ dimension is also a
       ‘human rights’ dimension and therefore a legal as well as a moral dimension.




                                                          9
Chapter


 4
The Way Forward
The Need To Lift The Economic Sanctions

An Evolving International Consensus

          French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine marked the tenth anniversary of the invasion
          of Kuwait, and the imposition of sanctions on Iraq, by stating that the sanctions were
          „cruel, ineffective and dangerous‟: „cruel because they punish exclusively the Iraqi
          people and the weakest among them‟, „ineffective because they don”t touch the
          regime, which is not encouraged to co-operate‟, and „dangerous’ because they
          „accentuate the disintegration of Iraqi society.‟ (Reuters, 2 August 2000)

          It was an unauthorised flight from France on 22 September 2000 that triggered a
          series of over 30 defiant flights from a host of nations including Syria and Iran, historic
          enemies of Baghdad. The flights have demonstrated the impatience of the
          international community with the slow pace of policy change, they have considerably
          accelerated the crumbling of sanctions on Iraq, and they have revealed starkly the
          isolation of Britain and the United States on this issue.

          To be more accurate, the flights have exposed the isolation of the US and British
          governments.

          British public opinion, for example, has moved considerably in the past two years. As
          noted at the outset, The Economist and The Lancet have both called for radical
          changes in the sanctions regime.

          The Archbishop of Canterbury has added his voice to this growing chorus, speaking in
          New York on 14 September 2000:


             „Well, we have had ten years of sanctions and there is no doubt they bite. But the problem is that
             those who suffer most are the ordinary people of Iraq. Indeed the condition of many Iraqis is
             desperate.

             „From a Christian perspective, humanitarian considerations should become the principle informing
             any sanctions policy. This suggests at the very least that they need to be reconfigured to impact on
             those they are intended to target.

             „That could be done in part by focussing on arms supplies and financial sanctions.




                                                            10
       This is all of a piece with the Liberal Democrats‟ decision to call for the lifting of non-
       military sanctions.

       Even the Financial Times has suggested (7 August 2000) that „Further modifications
       to the embargo should be examined, including the option of lifting civilian sanctions
       while maintaining a ban on arms sales and financial scrutiny over selected imports.‟


The Inadequacy of Suspension

       The framework of sanctions laid down in August 1990 was radically altered in purpose
       by UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), and has been modified again by
       UNSCR 1284 (1999).

       The British and US governments appear to be the only Permanent Members of the
       Security Council wholeheartedly supporting the new framework laid down in UNSCR
       1284.

       From a humanitarian point of view, the package of measures offered in the Resolution
       is defined on the one hand by the continuing linkage between the resolution of the
       humanitarian crisis and the inspection crisis, and on the other hand by the temporary,
       conditional nature of the „suspension‟ of economic sanctions offered in Resolution
       1284.

       For the sake of brevity, let us leave aside the evident failure of Resolution 1284 to
       break the deadlock during the course of the past eleven months, the vague nature of
       key provisions relating to the inspection process, and the moral and legal failure
       involved in making the ending of mass civilian suffering conditional on political
       cooperation.

       Considering only the issue of „suspension‟, the question arises whether the rolling
       suspension of economic sanctions for four months at a time is capable of resolving the
       humanitarian crisis.

       Clearly, the suspension of both import and export restrictions could have a significant
       impact on employment and on the value of the Iraqi Dinar, and thus boost family
       purchasing power considerably.

       It would have a powerful effect if we presume that the international community
       employs a limited, rational and humane interpretation of continuing restrictions on the
       import of „dual use‟ items which could have military applications.

       However, these effects on the private sector would be limited, and public sector
       reconstruction of the civilian infrastructure would be held back, by the uncertainty
       generated by the „rolling‟ nature of the suspension of sanctions. The Iraqi oil industry
       requires massive foreign investment to prevent a decline in output and revenues.
       These are revenues which are central to the economy as a whole, and on which the
       reconstruction of the public health infrastructure in particular, depends.

       Oil industry observers have made it clear that such foreign investment will not be
       forthcoming if every 120 days the guillotine may come down on millions of dollars
       worth of investment. The conditional „rolling‟ suspension of economic sanctions is
       therefore a major, if unquantifiable, threat to the solution of the humanitarian crisis.

       The Economist Intelligence Unit observed in March 2000 that „Once sanctions are
       lifted, Iraq will have to undertake a reconstruction effort conservatively estimated at



                                                   11
       $50bn - 100bn just for essential infrastructural utilities, from GDP base, which, even
       including the grey and black economies, is less than $13bn in nominal terms.‟

       Improvements to oil-for-food could only help to „bolster a basic safety welfare net,
       rather than herald a return to normality‟: „To achieve the latter, sanctions will have to
       come to an end.‟

       Even if suspension can be achieved, and the record to date is one of abject failure, it is
       morally and legally unacceptable to continue to hold the health of 22 million people
       hostage to a politically-charged inspection process, and to place the humanitarian
       reconstruction effort under a guillotine every four months.


There Are Alternatives

       A number of informed and respected observers have proposed new frameworks for
       UN-Iraq relations.

       The underlying principle of many of these proposals, and the core of the emerging
       international consensus, is that the sanctions on Iraq must be radically and
       fundamentally altered in order to address the continuing humanitarian crisis.

       We regret the fact that Security Council Resolution 1302 instructed an investigation
       into „current humanitarian needs‟ in Iraq to draw up „recommendations to meet those
       needs, within the framework of the existing resolutions.‟ (Emphasis added.)

       We submit this report in the belief that the very serious humanitarian needs in Iraq
       cannot be met within the framework of existing resolutions. This is a judgement which
       we believe we share with a very large, and growing, proportion of international opinion.

       We urge the members of the Security Council, and especially our own Government, to
       recast their policy towards the ordinary people of Iraq.

       We do not believe that the lifting of economic sanctions is a panacea for the people of
       Iraq, or a quick fix. It will take years, perhaps decades, for civil society and public
       health to recover the wounds that have been inflicted over the past decade.

       The lifting of economic sanctions is an essential pre-condition for recovery and a
       restoration of public health, of child health.

       Without an end to economic sanctions, the future is bleak for another generation of
       Iraqis. And the moral burden for the United Nations in general, and for the
       Governments of Britain and the United States in particular, is heavy indeed.

       As Denis Halliday said when resigning as UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in
       October 1998,


          „We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is
          illegal and immoral.‟




                                                          12
Hans von Sponeck, who resigned in February 2000, also in protest against the
continuing sanctions on Iraq, recently declared at a meeting at the British Labour Party
in Brighton, „It is better to break sanctions than to break the law.‟

voices in the wilderness uk is committed to breaking the sanctions and upholding
the law. Some members of the Security Council have set down the same path. We
urge the Council as a body to move with international opinion, and to lift the economic
sanctions on Iraq.




                              voices in the wilderness uk

                              16B Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1BG, UK

                              http://welcome.to/voicesuk




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