Major Report Examines Iraq Sanctions on 12th Anniversary

August 6, 2002

New York

Marking the twelfth anniversary of sanctions on Iraq, leading non-governmental organisations today released a report highlighting the sanctions’ political failure and dire human consequences.  In the report, which was released today in London, Paris and Berlin as well as New York, the authors trace the history of the sanctions and discuss the heated disputes in the Security Council as well as the terrible price paid by innocent Iraqis.

The complete text of the report is posted on the web at:

The report points out that while $54.4 billion of Iraqi oil has been sold under the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program, only $23.5 billion worth of humanitarian and other goods have arrived in Iraq, less than $200 per Iraqi per year.

Through a very detailed discussion of Security Council action, the report makes clear the role of the United States and the United Kingdom in perpetuating the sanctions against the wishes of the great majority of Council members.  The report calls attention to the oil interests of US and UK companies as a major factor influencing policy, since Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world.

Although the Security Council introduced so-called “smart sanctions” under Resolution 1409, on May 14, 2002, the report finds these changes “grossly inadequate as a solution to the Iraq crisis.” It notes that “reconstruction and economic revival, not the relief-based approach of the Oil-for-Food program and its `smart’ variant, are essential to human development and the humanitarian rights of Iraq’s people.”

The report concludes that while the Government of Iraq bears a large responsibility for the suffering of its people, the Security Council is in clear breach of its obligations under international law, especially by failing to afford protection to “children [who] have suffered disproportionately under sanctions.”

The report concludes with a series of recommendations, notably the lifting of the comprehensive economic sanctions.  The twelve sponsoring organizations include Global Policy Forum, Save the Children UK, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Quaker UN Office and the Arab Commission for Human Rights.

New York contacts:

Jim Paul, Global Policy Forum, (212) 557-3161

John Rempel, Mennonite UN Office, (212) 223-4602