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The Alliance on Iraq sanctions

13 August, 1999

Matt Robson, Alliance MP, Statement on NZ involvement in enforcing sanctions against Iraq.


Immediate release

Alliance Defence spokesperson Matt Robson says the results of the first surveys since 1991 of child and maternal mortality in Iraq is clear evidence why New Zealand should not be participating in the United States led naval patrols in the Persian Gulf to enforce economic sanctions against Iraq.

"The UNICEF survey reveal that in the heavily-populated southern and central parts of Iraq, children under five years are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago," said Matt Robson.

"The impact of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1991 is the under 5 mortality has more than doubled from 56 deaths per 1000 live births in 1984/89 to 131 deaths per 1000 live births in 1994/99.

"Likewise infant mortality (defined as the death of children in their first year) has increased from 47 per 1000 live births to 108 per 1000 live births within the same time frame.

"New Zealand has in the past sent frigates to join the United States led Multinational Interception Force which is enforcing sanctions on Iraq.

"Now the minority National Government is sending the frigate Te Kaha to join the naval patrols enforcing the sanctions.

"The UNICEF survey is clear evidence that these sanctions have been the cause of death and suffering among the children of Iraq. They certainly have not harmed Saddam Hussein.

"Internationally Britain is now recommending that the Security Council suspend sanctions against Iraq. That leaves the United States alone among the permanent members of the Security Council in opposing or lifting of sanctions.

"Yet faced now with the evidence of the UNICEF survey and the isolated position of the United States New Zealand is still proceeding to commit one of our few operational naval vessels to the enforcement of the sanctions.

"I again call on Defence Minister Max Bradford to reverse the decision to send the Te Kaha to the Gulf.

"Bring the vessel back to our region so it is available to assist for example in any United Nations authorised intervention to maintain order in East Timor following the referendum scheduled for 30 August," said Matt Robson.

Return to "Stop killing the people of Iraq".

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