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US Sanctions Against Iraq
Extract from Oread Daily Oct. 10, 2001
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...Humanitarian and human rights agencies working with and in Iraq unanimously agree that sanctions have had a considerable impact on the welfare on the Iraqi population. Some of the documented effects of this policy are:
Sanctions have been a major contributor to the fact that if pre-war trends in child mortality had continued through the 1990s, Iraq would have had 500,000 fewer deaths of children under 5 during the period from 1991 to 1998. [UNICEF August 1999]
Including the 50,000 adult deaths caused by sanctions every year, Iraq now has a mortality rate of over 200 people every day. [UNICEF August 1999]
Iraq "has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty" and "infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world" [Humanitarian Report to the UN Security Council March 30, 1999]
Iraq's economy shrank by nearly two-thirds in 1991. Despite food and medicine being exempt by sanctions, without export earnings, Iraq could not pay for imports. [IMF]
The sanctions, which deny access to basic healthcare, clean water and electricity, are a systematic violation of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare."
Access to potable water, relative to 1990 levels, is only 50% in urban areas and 33% in rural areas. The overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water has contributed to the rapid spread of infectious disease. Raw sewage often flows into streets and homes. [World Food Program]
In 1998, there were 104,000 Iraqi refugees and one million "documented" displaced persons in Iraq. Over three million Iraqis now live abroad. In recent years, tens of thousands have fled Iraq, including many professionals, due to the deteriorating economic and political situation. [U.S. Committee for Refugees]
A year ago The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said, ". the current sanctions regime is having a disproportionately negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by the Iraqi population. OHCHR considers that the time has come for the extent and nature of the sanctions regime on Iraq to be reexamined"
On May 12, 1996 Madeleine Albright demonstrated the difficulties involved in admitting the consequences of these sanctions in an appearance on the 60 Minutes. At the time she was the US ambassador to the United Nations; six months later she became Secretary of State. Host Lesley Stahl, referring to a 1995 figure asked, "We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?" Albright answered, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it..."