SUBMISSION ON SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ
THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE
On behalf of the Arab Canadian Association of the Atlantic Provinces, we are making our submission to express our deep concern at the perpetuation of this devastating human tragedy and our Government’s acquiescence to this outrageous policy.
STARVATION AND DISEASE
The economic sanctions against Iraq imposed since 1990 have brought about, as confirmed by independent observers and many international and U.N. agencies, a massacre through starvation and disease. In December 1995, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that more than one million Iraqis had died, 567,000 of them children, as a result of the sanctions. The UNICEF (U.N. Children’s Fund) confirmed these figures. Over 5000 children under five die every month because of malnutrition and disease.
The West, led by the U.S., has devastated and poisoned a nation, reducing millions of helpless babies, children, men and women to starvation, disease and penury. Sanctions deny this civilian population food, drinkable water and adequate medical relief. The soaring leukemia and cancer rate among children, caused by the use of the depleted uranium (DU) ordnance, by the U.S. and U.K., in 1991, has reached epidemic proportions. The unborn were not spared and are ravaged by an astonishing rise in birth defects.
ARE WE WITNESSING A GENOCIDE?
In November 1996, Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the U.S., described these as "genocidal sanctions" that killed 1,500,000 Iraqis, including 750,000 children under five. In October 1998, British academic, Dr. James Thring, drew up a legal paper charging Prime Minister Anthony Blair with "conspiring with others to perpetuate an act of genocide against people in Iraq" and that such a "conspiracy to kill" was an "offense under the Genocide Act (19969)".
Mr. Denis Halliday, Assistant U.N. Secretary General and U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq resigned his post in September 1998, in disgust at the tragedy and killing he was asked to supervise in the name of the U.N.. In April 1999, he was asked by an English journalist, Miriam Ryle, about the use of the word "genocide". He replied:
"For many months, I refused to use the word… What I say now is there is no other way to describe the death of 1.5 million people, to describe the death of thousands of kids each month, to describe the death of 600,000 children, since 1990... What else is that but genocide?"
On 11 Dec. 1946, the U.N. General Assembly, in response to the horrors of the 2nd World War, passed resolution 96(1) to define genocide and denounce it as "a crime under international law". Genocide was defined as: "acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
All these above definitions are being practiced by the creators of these sanctions. The number of deaths clearly support that. As to the intent, just listen to Denis Halliday:
"I believe the member states (of the Security Council) are sustaining, particularly London and Washington, a program of economic sanctions which they know is responsible for the death of thousands of people every month".
The stand taken by Denis Halliday is not unique and has been followed by the resignation last month of Mr. Hans Von Sponeck, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, and Ms. Jutta Burghandt, the World Food Program in Iraq. Both refused to continue to support these sanctions in Iraq.
The war crimes that have been committed in Iraq were not restricted to the imposition of sanctions.
The effects of the use of depleted uranium (DU) ordinance by the U.S. and U.K. in the Gulf war in 1991, are beginning to filter through amongst U.S. veterans and our veterans, in the so-called "Gulf War Syndrome". The recent story of the Nova Scotian veteran Terry Riordan is only an example.
Interestingly our politicians and media never mention the millions of Iraqis exposed to this radioactive material. As stated above, the soaring epidemic of leukemia, cancer and birth defects amongst Iraqi children are undoubtedly the byproduct of this bombing activity. That DU is carcinogenic is well-established. A publication of the U.S. General Accounting Office notes the cancer risk posed by ingested DU. Marvin Resnikoff of Radioactive Management Associates discussed the cancer-causing risks of DU ordnance in testimony cited by the World Court:
"Once inhaled, fine uranium particles can lodge in the lung and reside there for the remainder of one’s life… Uranium increases the probability of lung cancer, bone cancer and leukemia. Uranium also resides in soft tissue, including the gonads, increasing the probability of birth defects and spontaneous abortion".
According to the Pentagon’s own figures, American forces, in the Gulf war, fired at least 860,000 DU roads or approximately 320 tons of DU.
The U.S. forces in Iraq used various "weapons of mass destruction", that stand condemned in principle by the U.N. Commission for Conventional Armaments (12 Aug. 1948) and explicitly in several U.N. resolutions. U.N. resolution 32/84 condemns weapons based on "radioactive material".
Another war crime by U.S. forces took place on Feb. 28, 1991, when they used fleeing Iraqi forces and civilians, withdrawing from Kuwait, into Iraq, as experimental guinea pigs for new weapons, including cluster bombs and Apache helicopters. General Shwartzkopff described this as a "football game", killing thousands.
The massive bombardment of Iraq in 1991, by the Allies, unleashing 88,500 tons of bombs, destroying water and power sources, hospitals and demolishing the infra structure of a prosperous country bringing it back to the pre-industrial age, as described by a U.N. observer. This has brought about, amongst other achievements, the deprivation of clean water, an example of bacteriological warfare. The animals have not been spared, with epidemics of foot and mouth disease.
HYPOCRISY AND DOUBLE STANDARDS:
The massive war against Iraq and the continuing economic sanctions, we are told, are in response for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. It is true that Iraq committed an aggression against Kuwait, in violation of the U.N. Charter.
Interestingly, the Iraqi invasion of Iran was not only not condemned by the U.S. and its allies but actually supported by the U.S., who supplied Iraq with arms and elements of chemical warfare. Furthermore, the U.S. invasion of Grenada and Panama was condoned by its allies.
The height of hypocrisy and double standards is the fact that Iraq is subjected to this continuing war and sanctions because, we are told, it is not in complete compliance with one Security Council resolution (Resolution #678). Yet, Israel continues, for decades, to occupy Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian territory in defiance of repeated Security Council Resolutions. Not only is Israel neither invaded nor subjected to sanctions, it is endowed with 4 billion U.S. dollars annually by the U.S.
As to the violation of human rights, with which Saddam Hussein in rightly accused, Israel continues to subject Palestinians and Lebanese, under occupation, to the most brutal violations of human rights. Israel is in violation of virtually every article of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949, including torture of prisoners, demolition of thousands of homes, including entire towns and villages, expropriation of property, creation of illegal settlements and transfer of population. Yet, our government has the closest relations with Israel and a free trade agreement.
Finally, to sum up, the people of Iraq are being subjected to a massive tragedy of murder, starvation and disease, in violation of the most basic principles of humanity. The Iraqi people are not responsible for whatever crimes Saddam Hussein may have committed.
RECOMMENDATIONS:1. The economic sanctions against Iraq must be brought to an end immediately.
2. The continuing, virtually daily illegal bombardment of Iraq by the U.S. and U.K. must be brought to an end immediately.
3. We call on our government to practice the principles of international law and humanity and use its diplomatic influence to bring to an end this human tragedy.
4. The International Community should make its best efforts to assist the Iraqi people to restore Iraq’s Infra structure and health care.
5. Assist Iraq, through diplomatic means, to achieve democracy.
Submitted by: Ismail Zayid, M.D. President, Arab Canadian Association of the Atlantic Provinces Dated: March 2, 2000
Ismail Zayid, M.D.
Arab Canadian Association of the Atlantic Provinces
Dated: March 2, 2000