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SPECIAL ACTION ALERT ON SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ July 12, 1999 written by Corinne Whitlatch, Director of Churches for Middle East Peace, and edited by Catherine Sunshine for publication by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as part of the "Stewardship of Public Life" program. ISSUE: August 6 marks the 9th anniversary of the comprehensive U.N. sanctions against Iraq. The people of Iraq continue to suffer in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused in large part by the sanctions. But there is growing support within the U.N. Security Council for a change in the sanctions regime. Advocacy toward the U.S. government, asking for an end or easing of sanctions, is particularly timely now. ACTION: Write to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, your two senators and your representative making these points: 1. The current United States policy toward Iraq is not worthy of support by the American people. The continuation of the comprehensive sanctions for nine years has devastated the lives of Iraqi people and has been the principal cause of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. 2. The oil-for-food program has alleviated the food shortage, but it cannot meet other basic needs. Nor can it fund the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure and civilian economy, which alone can insure adequate nutrition and health standards. 3. The objective of disarming Iraq of illegal weapons and the resumption of inspections by a new U.N. inspection commission should be the highest priority for the United States. This is not possible as long as the United States insists that sanctions remain in place until Saddam Hussein be removed from power. 4. The United States should cooperate with the United Nations Security Council in formulating a new plan that provides a way to end the economic sanctions while resuming the U.N. weapons inspections and weapons destruction program. Compromise plans are before the Security Council at this time. Thank those Members of Congress (listed at the end) who have called for ending comprehensive sanctions. Urge others to use their influence to end the current comprehensive sanctions in favor of targeted sanctions focused on weapons. WRITE: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright U.S. Department of State Washington, DC 20520 The Honorable_________ The U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable__________ U.S. House of Representatives Washington D.C. 20515 BACKGROUND: The Iraq sanctions, which began on August 6 1990 in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, are the most stringent ever imposed on a country. They ban 90 percent of Iraqi imports and 97 percent of exports. In 1996, the United Nations began an oil-for-food program to counter some of the devastating effect of sanctions. Money from oil sales is tightly controlled by the U.N. and is used for war reparations, U.N. oversight expenses, and to purchase limited supplies of food, medicine and equipment. Iraqis receive a sparse monthly food basket which lasts an average of 20-23 days. Some Iraqis are able to supplement food basket items; many are not. The weekly per-person food allotments in the basket are as follows: wheat flour, 5 lbs; rice, 1 lb; sugar, 1 lb; dry beans, lb; tea, 1 oz; salt, 1 oz; cooking oil, 8 fluid oz; cheese, 1 oz. Adult baskets include small amounts of soap and detergent. Baskets for infants under 1 year include 2 lbs of milk powder and 6 oz of weaning cereal. (Sources: UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq; Reuters; and Iraq Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Approximately 30 percent of children in Iraq suffer from either acute or chronic malnutrition. Gastrointestinal illness spread by contaminated drinking water is the primary killer of Iraqi children. According to UNICEF, one child dies every 7-9 minutes (equal to 5,000 - 6,000 per month) from preventable diseases or malnutrition directly linked to sanctions. Delivery of the medicines provided by the oil sale program is hindered by the lack of refrigerated trucks, computers and even forklifts necessary for distribution. Power outages, often 12-18 hours a day, further impair the functioning of hospitals. U.S. Representatives calling for an end to economic sanctions: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA) Rep. William Clay (D-MO) Rep. Eva Clayton (D-NC) Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) Rep. Eva Clayton (D-NC) Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) Rep. Elizabeth Furse (D-OR) Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) Rep. Edie Johnson (D-TX) Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) Rep. John LaFalce (D-NY) Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) Rep. Carrie Meek (D-FL) Rep. Gregory Meek (D-NY) Rep. James Oberstar (D-FL) Rep. John Olver (D-MA) Rep. Major R. Owens (D-NY) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI) Rep. Ciro Rodriquez (D-TX) Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Rep. Melvin Watts (D-NC) Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)