Coalition says "smart sanctions" will have no impact
on humanitarian crisis in Iraq

For immediate release - June 26, 2001

Toronto - A coalition of Canadian NGOs, churches and citizens groups says the new proposal for so-called "smart sanctions" being put forward by the U.S. and Britain will do nothing to resolve the 11 year old humanitarian crisis in Iraq that has claimed 1.5 million lives.

The Canadian Network to End Sanctions on Iraq (CANESI) calls the proposal, being discussed today in a rare public Security Council debate, a giant public relations exercise designed to shore up support from U.S. allies for the ongoing war against Iraq.

Raymond Legault, of the Quebec based group Voices of Conscience, said "there is no possibility for making the sanctions in Iraq humane. The only solution at this point is to completely end them."

The new proposals will fail, coalition members say, because they do not allow for a rebuilding of the Iraqi economy and the restoration of livelihoods to Iraqi workers. Without the reintegration of Iraq into the world trading system and a huge reconstruction effort, Iraq's economy will remain moribund. The American and British proposal continues to require that revenues from Iraqi oil sales be deposited in a UN escrow account, depriving the Iraqi economy of the cash it needs to pay doctors, school teachers, and pay for vitally needed social infrastructure.

„You can&Mac226;t run a country on the model of a refugee camp with 23 million inhabitants without enormous human cost,‰ said Linda Morgan with the Vancouver based citizens group, Campaign to End Sanctions Against the People of Iraq.

In April 2000, a Canadian parliamentary committee recommended the lifting of economic sanctions after hearing expert testimony about the dire humanitarian situation in Iraq. Despite all party support for the committee&Mac226;s report, the Canadian government has done nothing to implement its recommendations. Since that time, a further 70,000 Iraqi children have died before reaching the age of five.

CANESI members say the Canadian government should end its support for U.S. foreign policy objectives in Iraq, which include control of Iraq&Mac226;s vast oil wealth, and strike an independent policy track that focusses on the needs of Iraq&Mac226;s citizens.


For further information, please contact Dale Hildebrand, Director, Inter-Church
Action at (416) 461-3634 (day) or (416) 466-0073 (evenings).

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