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International Declaration in Opposition to the Economic Blockade on Iraq
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED CITIZENS of planet earth, are determined to save all children everywhere, irrespective of their nationality, colour, race, ethnic origin or religious faith, not only from war but from all measures that are claimed to be non-military in nature but constitute war or a continuation of war in reality.
WE BELIEVE that comprehensive economic blockades constitute a crime against humanity, inflicting wholesale slaughter on children and other innocent civilians, and stunting the growth of surviving children, afflicting them with countless physical and mental illnesses and disabilities. We are alarmed that, as a result of serious shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, the eight-year blockade on Iraq has directly led to the deaths of more than one million civilians, including over 700,000 children under the age of five. [Oct. 1996, UNICEF];
WE CALL UPON the United Nations Security Council to ban economic blockades forthwith, as they are themselves weapons of mass destruction; we urge the United Nations to respect its own Charter (particularly its obligation to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war) as well as international laws relating to the treatment and protection of civilian populations (including Protocol I of the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Since restrictions on Iraqi oil sales limit Iraq's ability to purchase adequate food, medicine and other necessities vital for the maintenance and repair of civil infrastructure, WE URGE all UN member states to immediately end compliance with the economic blockade imposed on Iraq.
WE APPLAUD the 43 US Representatives who signed on to Congressman John Conyer's letter calling on President Clinton to delink economic sanctions from military sanctions. Although the letter is the strongest statement of congressional concern to date, it is only one step toward ending Iraq's humanitarian crisis. We call upon the US Congress to immediately hold fair and objective hearings on the humanitarian impact of the UN blockade, hearings that would include firsthand witnesses like Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. Furthermore, we urge Congress and the President to end US support for comprehensive economic blockades as an instrument of international policy.
WE CALL UPON the New Zealand government to take heed of this declaration, stop supporting the economic sanctions and work with other UN Member states to end them forthwith.
WE PLEDGE ourselves to protect the children of Iraq, by supporting all nonviolent efforts to abolish the economic sanctions. May we return to our Iraqi brothers and sisters the gift of a safe, happy and healthy life, which the US-led UN blockade has stolen from them.
All signed declarations will be presented to the governments of New Zealand and the United States; and to the United Nations.Please return before 15 February 1999 to Peace Movement Aotearoa, PO Box 9314, Wellington.
Tel 04 382 8129, fax 04 382 8173, email@example.com, http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/
Initiated by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. These signatures from Aotearoa / New Zealand.