Good News Agency – n° 11
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day.
Good News Agency is distributed through internet to over 1,100 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and it is available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, the U. N. University for Peace, Radio For Peace International and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing. Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail: email@example.com
At Algeri on December 12th Ethiopia and Eritrea finally signed a Peace Treaty putting end to a war which lasted from May 1998 to June 2000 causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and over a million refugees. The agreement represents a relax in tension for the whole Horn of Africa in one of the continent's most heavily tested regions through fighting, draught and famine.
The context of the Treatise, composed of six articles, obliges governments on both sides to cease
permanently all military action along the 600 kilometre border which separates the two countries.
The agreement also anticipates the forming of a neutral commission made up of five members, with headquarters in Geneva, whose term of office entails the definition within three years, of the border between the two countries based on colonial treaties.
On 20 November, the draft resolutions of the United Nations First Committee, the Committee on Disarmament and Security, came before the General Assembly. The New Agenda Resolution, which underlines "the fundamental significance of the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are committed under Article VI of the Treaty," was adopted 154 to 3, with 8 abstentions. The official UN resolution number is 55/33C. The full text of the Resolution is available at:
The Sunflower Newsletter - www.wagingpeace.org
City of Nuremberg laureate of UNESCO prize for Human Rights Education 2000
Paris, December 8 – UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has named the German city of Nuremberg laureate of this year’s UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education on the recommendation of an international jury that met in Paris on November 27 and 28.
Nuremberg is the 12th laureate of the US$10,000 Prize since it was created in 1978 and is rewarded for its determination to become a “City of Peace and Human Rights”. Nuremberg’s contributions to the promotion of human rights include: the creation of a Human Rights Documentation Centre; the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, whose laureate this year is the Mexican Samuel Ruiz García, former bishop of Chiapas; and an International Human Rights Film Festival which first took place last year and is to be held every two years.
Conference of Asian Women for a Culture of Peace
Hanoi, Vietnam – The 4-day Conference of Asian Women for a Culture of Peace opened in Hanoi on 6 December with a call to women in the region to co-ordinate their actions for peace and speakers stressed that there can be no lasting peace without sustainable development and gender equality, and that peace is closely linked to women’s rights and to human rights.
Nearly 150 delegates - women leaders, politicians, gender and peace researchers, educators and national and community-based peace promoters - from 35 Asia-Pacific countries attended the Conference, organised by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with the support of UNESCO and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Africa: Experts meet on small arms trafficking and proliferation
Experts from African nations have urged their governments and regional institutions to establish mechanisms to step up the fight against the proliferation of small arms in Africa.
The call came in a declaration drafted at a conference held on 27-29 November in Bamako, Mali, Some 500 experts from Organisation of African Unity member states, the United Nations, non-governmental organisations and research institutions attended the meeting.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Joins the ILO
Following the adoption of the resolution 55/12 by the United Nations General Assembly under which the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was admitted in the membership of the United Nations, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has joined, on 24 November 2000, the International Labour Organization following the Government's acceptance of the obligations of membership as laid down in the Organization's Constitution.
With the accession of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership, the number of ILO member States remains at 175. This is because further to the dissolution of the former Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, that State was kept on the list of member States until such time as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was either recognized as the continuation of the former Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia or admitted to the International Labour Organization as a new Member.
Labour Body Launches New Programme, Will develop code of practice HIV/AIDS in the World of Work
Geneva – In the face of new projections which show a sharp decline in the size of Africa's workforce due to AIDS, the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 1st December announced plans for a new programme against HIV/AIDS in the workplace aimed at helping governments, workers and employers in their struggle with the disease. The new ILO Global Programme on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work has been inaugurated to coordinate efforts of the Organization. The programme will add a dimension of social justice to the global effort against HIV/AIDS already undertaken by international organizations such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) with which the ILO signed a cooperation agreement in June.
UN/ECE Regional Conference on "Financing for Development"; Main Problems Discussed Panel Notes Disparities in Wealth, Development
Geneva – A two-day conference on boosting financing for "transition" economies in Central and Eastern Europe opened on 6 December with a panel discussion on the major problems affecting official assistance and foreign direct investment in such countries.
The session, entitled the "UN/ECE Regional Conference on Financing for Development," was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). One aim of the meeting is to offer input to a High Level Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development to be convened next year by the United Nations General Assembly.
Secretary-General Launches International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 7 December officially launched an International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa, to marshal continent-wide support to fight the epidemic. In a speech to leaders at the second African Development Forum, Mr. Annan declared that the Partnership will galvanize intensive efforts, bringing together African governments, the United Nations, donors, community organizations and the private sector. The Partnership -- established informally a year ago as a loose coalition, and already gaining momentum -- grew out of a meeting Mr. Annan convened last December, where he called all sides together and asked them to "develop an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis".
The International Partnership "will be the focus for a new spirit of cooperation in building the response to AIDS," Mr. Annan stated in his speech. He told the leaders assembled, "We face a terrible epidemic, but we are far from powerless against it. We can halt the spread of AIDS. We can even reverse it."
Uganda successful example of strong response to AIDS, UNAIDS says
Rakai, Uganda, 1st December - The AIDS epidemic can be turned around when effort is sustained and measures are taken well in advance, according to Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). "Uganda was one of the first countries in Africa to recognize the threat posed by AIDS to development. It understood early on the importance of long-term efforts in both prevention and care," said Dr Piot, visiting Uganda on the occasion of World AIDS Day. "AIDS is a long-term emergency and commitments to slowing the epidemic require renewal over decades. As Uganda has shown, there are no short-cuts to AIDS. The sooner efforts start, the better the chances of success." Dr Piot said broad social mobilization was essential to the response to AIDS. "This is not a question of government action in isolation but a question of mass, sustained action. Every church, every village, every association needs to be involved in this epidemic because every church and every village has been touched by it."
“Life-saving” scientific information boost via Internet to health researchers in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe
5 December – The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Open Society Institute (OSI), a part of the Soros Foundation network, have teamed up with leading information providers ISIÒ and SilverPlatter and other public and private partners to provide access to high quality scientific information, via the Internet, to research centres in countries in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Discussions are also under way with Elsevier Science to join the initiative. This pilot project is part of a wider United Nations programme called "Health InterNetwork" which aims to improve global public health by facilitating the flow of health information worldwide, using Internet technologies.
Sickness, hunger, war, mines and slavery have already caused two and a half million victims and four and a half million refugees, but in South Sudan there is a ray of hope thanks to the Italian non-governmental organisation CESVI.
CESVI is present in this African country since 1999, and with the aid of funds collected in Italy it finances the work of voluntary surgeons of the collaboration board of Turin.
So far the hospital of Rumbek, to be found in the region of Dinka under rebel's control and which has been destroyed more than once by war and reduced after the famine in 1998 into a desperate refugee camp, has been reopened. Today Rumbek is a real island of salvation for South Sudan: every day from 100 to 120 new patients arrive, a very high number for the few doctors available. At the same time CESVI is sending humanitary aid to the zone controlled by the government in Khartoum, to help the overflowing refugee camps in the capital.
Rome - Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on 29 November jointly launched the annual UN consolidated humanitarian appeal, seeking donations of some $2 billion to help 35 million people in 19 countries.
Dr Diouf told a meeting of the diplomatic corps in Rome: "Each Appeal is designed to decrease vulnerability, restore stability and link relief with sustainable development, and is structured to mitigate the consequences of crises and prevent their re-occurrence."
The UN Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) aims to address the needs of people suffering from natural disasters or complex emergencies in a coherent manner, bringing together proposals from all the UN agencies involved in humanitarian relief work. For the first time this year, the Appeals are being launched simultaneously in a number of donor capitals.
UNHCR’s annual award goes to UN Volunteers
Geneva, 5 December – The UN refugee agency today said it will award a special Nansen Medal to the United Nations Volunteers – the umbrella organisation for some 4,500 professionals who work in various UN field operations around the globe, often in difficult circumstances.
"Few deserve recognition more than these professionals who brave hardship and danger in some of the toughest places, receiving an allowance but no salary," said High Commissioner Sadako Ogata. "Some of our finest staff started as UN volunteers," she added.
An estimated 20,000 volunteers from 140 countries have served in various jobs in the UN’s field agencies since the volunteer programme was set up 30 years ago. UN volunteers have worked in some of the UN’s most challenging operations, from the Great Lakes crisis of central Africa and the Balkan wars to the more recent emergencies in Timor and the Caucasus.
The UNHCR award comes after the UN General Assembly declared 2001 the International Year of Volunteers – a move designed to get more people interested in voluntary work.
WFP to launch major emergency aid operation in the Balkans
Rome, December 7 – The United Nations World Food Programme will launch a new $90-million emergency operation in the Balkans region that gives a significant focus to vulnerable people in Serbia who are grappling with spiralling food prices and harsh new economic realities, WFP officials said today. Under the operation, which runs from 1 January to the end of 2001, some 980,000 people in the Balkans region will receive food assistance. The majority -- 700,000 people – are in Serbia, with the balance located in Kosovo (150,000), Montenegro (68,000), Albania (54,500) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (7,500).
With the recent liberalisation of market prices in Serbia, the cost of basic food commodities has soared beyond the reach of most consumers. Pensioners, low-income families and the unemployed are hardest hit by the escalating prices. “Food aid will help fill the gap between the price of food and these people’s purchasing power,” said Jean-Jacques Graisse, WFP Assistant Executive Director. He noted that WFP’s assistance – consisting of wheat flour, pulses, oil and sugar -- will also enable them to use their slender financial resources both to supplement essential food supplies and to buy non-food items.
1 December - Japan has approved the allocation of US $306,094 to the UN Trust Fund for Sierra Leone to support reintegration and rehabilitation projects.
Ex-combatants, former child soldiers, war-affected women and children are to benefit from the programmes, which the UN Mission in Sierra Leone will carry out. Some US $22,464 has been provided for the reintegration of child combatants in Kenema.
Rotary International sponsors opera singer Barbara Hendricks in concert series; proceeds to fund humanitarian projects
Rotary International teamed with soprano Barbara Hendricks in a series of charitable concerts in Belgium from December 4 to 12. Designed to raise funds to support Rotary's polio eradication and water conservation initiatives, the concerts took place in Brussels, Charleroi and Anvers.
PolioPlus, Rotary's polio eradication initiative, is the most ambitious program in Rotary's history. The initiative is an aggressive public-private partnership to assist international health agencies and governments in eradicating polio and certifying the world polio-free by 2005. Water conservation projects are also a priority. In addition to PolioPlus, Belgian concert proceeds will fund well and reservoir construction in drought-stricken southern India.
Rotary International is one of the world's largest volunteer service organizations of business and professional leaders. Rotary is dedicated to providing humanitarian service, promoting high ethical standards in all vocations and building peace and goodwill in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 163 countries.
To help EMERGENCY, the Italian agency which provides medical and surgical assistance to war and land-mine victims, several musical instruments that belonged to such artists as Augusto Daolio, Ligabue, Fabrizio De Andrè, Ivan Graziani, Zucchero and Jovanotti have been put up to auction on Internet. Participation in the auction is expected from 7th December 2000 to 6th January 2001 on website www.qxl.it. All money raised by auction will be put towards the building of EMERGENCY'S new hospital for war victims at Freetown in Sierra Leone.
The ozone hole will likely close within 50 years, according to scientists who ended on 4 December a major conference on the issue in Buenos Aires. They said that the international ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorcarbons, which resulted from the 1987 Montreal Protocol, is beginning to have an effect, but that the ozone recovery is not likely to start for a few more years and will not necessarily happen steadily because of natural fluctuations in weather patterns. The biggest ozone hole ever recorded occurred this October over Antarctica.
UNEP Official Rejects Nuclear Option for Global Warming
On 21 November, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme rejected proposals to accept nuclear energy as a means to slow global warming. Through the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement created to address climate change, the nuclear industry hopes to get credit for something it cannot deliver: clean, environmentally friendly, non-polluting energy production. The nuclear industry argued its position at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Climate Change Convention, which was held at The Hague, Netherlands from 13-24 November. Language in the Kyoto Protocol will allow developed nations to build nuclear reactors in other countries and receive "pollution credits" if the new power plants lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, the country receiving the credit does not have to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions. This worldwide pollution credits trading scheme is called a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Despite the fact that countries such as Japan, Russia and the US have poor nuclear technology records and a history of sacrificing democratic principles for nuclear industry profit, they are among the nations eligible for CDM credits.
Although the United Nations Environment Programme is not an official participant in the Hague talks, it could play an important role in how projects are carried out.
The Sunflower Newsletter, December 2000 – www.wagingpeace.org
Nuclear Weapons – Usable Materials Consolidated at Russian Site
On 17 November, the US Department of Energy (DoE), reported that 10 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials, which is enough to make at least 500 nuclear bombs, was secured at a storage facility in Siberia. The weapons-usable material was moved from three separate locations to a central site at Novosibirsk Chemical Concentration Plant as part of a joint US-Russia effort to prevent proliferation to and theft by terrorists.
Launched in 1993, the US-Russian Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) is meant to reduce risks by consolidating weapons-usable materials into fewer buildings and convert highly-enriched uranium into forms that can not be used in nuclear weapons. The Novosibirsk Chemical Concentration Plant contains comprehensive nuclear material and accounting systems to protect hundreds of metric tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium against theft. The DoE announced that security upgrades are underway for 750 metric tons of the estimated 960 metric tons of nuclear materials requiring security.
Johnson's Russia List, message #4641, 18 November 2000
The Sunflower Newsletter – www.wagingpeace.org
Fur donation program aids wildlife, lowers tax bill
Humane Society of the U.S. Provides Donated Furs to Help Injured, Orphaned Wildlife
Washington - By sending your unwanted furs to The HSUS, you can help injured or orphaned wildlife and receive a tax deduction. The program works like this: Ship your fur garments to The HSUS, which will provide documentation of your donation. The HSUS will send your fur to any one of about 40 wildlife rehabilitators across the country who participate in the program. They will cut the garment into smaller pieces and turn them into a surrogate parent for an orphaned wild animal, a warm nest for a burrowing animal, or just a warm blanket. Wildlife rehabilitators report that chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels and opossums given a piece of fur have shown reduced stress levels. If you itemize your deductions on your tax return, you can claim the fair market value of the garment on your tax return for the year in which you make the donation.
An incentive for those who want to experiment super ecological petrol: from July 1st 2001 the production or blend of the product known as "bio-diesel" made from vegetable oils is exempt of tax. The Ministers of Finance, Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture and Forestry decided together the requirements of bio-diesel.
Nairobi, Kenya, 5 December – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has established a new Coral Reef Unit and will now take a leading role in the international effort to save the planet's threatened coral reefs.
Coral reefs are one of the world's richest and most productive ecosystems, but also one of the most sensitive to human impacts. The widespread bleaching and die-off of corals over the last few years has been linked to climate change and global warming. Reefs are also stressed by over-fishing and land-based sources of pollution.
The new Coral Reef Unit will be responsible for UNEP's participation in the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), a unique international collaboration of important international organizations in coral reef science and conservation initiated with the financial support of the United Nations Foundation. ICRAN aims to reverse the trend of global degradation of coral reefs and to maintain the biodiversity and health of reefs through practical action in the field.
The Government of Norway has donated $21.2 million to UNICEF to support education programmes for girls in Africa. Education, especially for girls, is a major area of emphasis for UNICEF globally. "Girls are all too often consigned to a life of poverty and dependence. Norway is helping lead the way in the fight against poverty and inequality - especially for girls," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "Girls' education is a UNICEF priority and Norway's gift is an infusion not only of needed funds but of moral leadership on this issue. It recognized the right of every girl to a basic, quality education."
The donation from Norway is targeted at expanding access to education, strengthening education systems, promoting advocacy and social mobilization, improving the quality of education and promoting partnerships between civil society, government ministries and the private sector.
In a bold initiative to put education at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy on 6 December called on African leaders to join a global campaign to abolish all education fees and other costs for primary school-age children. "We live in a world where children whose families cannot pay for tuition, uniforms, desks, pencils, books and building repairs are shut out of classrooms," Bellamy said. "And yet we also live in a world that ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child a decade ago, a world that recognized free and compulsory education as the right of every child. Governments have both a legal and a moral responsibility to fulfill that obligation." Noting the theme of the African Development Forum 2000, "HIV/AIDS: The Greatest Leadership Challenge," Bellamy said that educating all children requires strong leadership from African nations and the international community. She stressed that if just one child in a resource-poor country is deprived of schooling, everyone -- the state, donor nations and the family -- must be held accountable.
The monument consists of eight separate segments, which will be placed in different parts of the world, creating a complete architectural hyper-ensemble. If all the segments are brought together, they will make a sphere, with a shank in the center, fixed to the pedestal. This makes an impression that the shank holds seven pairs of parallel plates, of a different diameter each, in horizontal position. The structure of the monument allows to create such kind of an architectural complex, which can be completely seen only through the means of telecommunication.
“Monument's shank is a symbol of Sustainability. Paralleled planes, which form the sphere, symbolise Peace and Quiet. The circle symbolises Time. The monument “Consolidation” can become the first international architectural project of the new millennium in which any country and any person can take part. It can be your country where one of the monument’s segments can be placed!”, wrote the Author to Good News Agency.
Project’s author and coordinator: Nikolay Adaschik; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
St-Petersburg, Fontanka emb., 23 - 191011, Russia
Winners of the 2001 UNESCO prize for children’s and young people’s literature in the service of tolerance
Paris, December 7 – UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today named the winners of the 2001 UNESCO Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance. La guerre (The War) by French author Anaïs Vaugelade, won the award for the children’s under-13 category, while Istgahe Mir (The Mir Space Station) by Iranian author Violet Razeqpanah came top of the 13 to 18 category.
Three hundred and nine books from 58 countries, written in 35 languages, were in competition. Forty-four pre-selected books were submitted to the international jury, which met December 4-5 at UNESCO Headquarters. The jury, in addition to the two winners, rewarded six other books by giving them Honourable Mentions.
Iraq, December1st: after ten years of embargo, a commercial flight coming from abroad has landed in the international airport in Baghdad. Airbus 310 of Jordanian Airlines was the first to arrive in the capital since the beginning of the halt to commercial relations imposed by the United Nations in 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Buone Nuove, email@example.com
by Sergio Tripi
The 52nd anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights falls in this month of December 2000, the month of Christmas, the celebration of brotherhood for a large part of humanity. Human rights: abstract concepts with little possibility of producing concrete results, according to some; decisive ideals for the progress of humanity, according to others, who fortunately now constitute the majority of that part of humanity which is inclined to reflect and to make assessments. Human rights are a field of vital importance in this period of transition towards the world of the third millennium; they represent the basis on which every just society will have to be created, whether it is a remote village or the world community. Unfortunately, however, we have to note that man must still give voice adequately to his desire to end suffering. In fact, still today human rights are sadly denied to most of the people of the earth; and Iraq is painfully, dramatically, unacceptably among the first.
The recent history of Iraq is sadly well-known. The country is a presidential republic governed since 1979 by Saddam Husseim, who is the President and who condenses all authority in himself: he is the Head of State; he is the President of the Council of Command of the Revolution, the principal organ of the State with legislative and executive functions (!); and he is the person who nominates the components of the Council of Ministers. The Parliament consists of a consultative (!) single-house National Assembly; and practically only one party exists, which is naturally the party of the Government. It is a concentration of power that is so strong that it reminds us Europeans of Hitler’s evil concentration of power from '35 to '45. It is a dictatorship which employs terrible means like bombardments with gas to bend the drive for independence of the Kurds; which uses the iron fist to eliminate any sign whatever of internal dissidence; which considers it can invade Kuwait with impunity in August 1990, aiming at the control of the oil production of the region with the use of force. The reaction of the United Nations consists of a volley of five resolutions; the first, of condemnation, is passed on the day of the invasion. The others, between August and November, introduce sanctions, authorize the use of force to repel the invasion, establish an ultimatum (15 January 1991) for the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait. The forces of the coalition begin the bombardments by air of Iraq on 16 January and the land attack on 24 February. The inequality of the forces in the field is extreme and on 28 February a cease-fire is reached; Kuwait is in flames because the retreating Iraqi forces have set on fire all the petrol wells; the ecological disaster is immense; the tragedy of war is completed; but the sufferings of the Iraqi people, who pay for the misdeeds of their dictator, are just beginning and are still continuing today, with dramatic consequences for the Iraqi population, particularly the children.
The reaction to the invasion of Kuwait was necessary and legitimate; but the economic sanctions which have brought the entire population of Iraq to their knees, without however succeeding in removing Saddam Hussein from power or destroying all the non-conventional weapons existing in the country, are another matter. An examination of the mechanism of these sanctions lies outside the scope of a journalistic article; and on the other hand an exhaustive and well prepared documentation of the organizers of the campaign "to break the embargo" exists, which the reader who wants to go into the question in depth can request directly from that organization (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here it is appropriate to discuss the incontrovertible fact that these sanctions are in contrast with the Charter of Human Rights, imposing hardships and sufferings on the Iraqi citizens, who lack food to feed themselves and medicines to cure themselves. These are the effects of the sanctions on Iraq:
Infant mortality – period 1984-1989: 56 per thousand; period 1994-1999: 131 per thousand (UNICEF report of August 1999 relative to the centre and south of the country, that account for about 85% of the population). “The infant mortality rates in Iraq are today among the highest in the world, the newborn who are under weight are at least 23% of the total births, chronic malnutrition below five years affects one in four children…” (Report of the UN Commission on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, March 1999.)
Malnutrition – children below five years of age affected by chronic malnutrition: 1991, 18%; 1996, 31% (UNICEF report cited above). “One Iraqi child out of four is malnourished… Once a child is two or three years old, the chronic malnutrition is hardly reversible and the damages to the development may become permanent.” (UNICEF and PAM report, May 1997.)
Health – before the sanctions: basic health care for 97% of the urban population and for 78% of the rural population; after the sanctions, the Ministry of Health’s budget has been reduced by 90%-95%. (UNICEF, Situation Analysis, 1998.)
Source: “Campagna Rompere l’Embargo” (break the embargo campaign)
Is it possible that the entire assembly of nations is not able to find an alternative to economic sanctions to obtain the objective which it has set itself, that is the complete identification and destruction of the chemical weapons still possessed by the dictator? Is it possible that this action of neutralization of such lethal arms, even though certainly necessary, can be carried out only by inflicting very painful privations on women and children? It is hardly believable. Actually, it is absolutely necessary to identify other methods, other solutions, because the terrible cost in human lives that this situation involves can no longer be accepted. Here are some words which weigh like millstones on our consciences: “the present infant mortality rate for children below five years of age which is attributable to the sanctions is between 6,000 and 7,000 a month.” (D.J. Halliday, formerly UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, 1998).
Soon we will send up in smoke thousands of billions with parties, dinners, presents, journeys and all the rest. Let us also do something else: let us support this campaign and let us send a greeting card: Happy Christmas, Iraq.
Next issue: December 29.