Parliament should adopt an all-party motion  calling on all world’s  Parliaments/legislatures in  the other 187 UN member states to adopt a global resolution urging the lifting of the United Nations economic sanctions on Iraq

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Malaysian Parliament should follow up on the resignations by two senior United Nations officials over sanctions policy in Iraq to adopt an all-party resolution calling for an end to United Nations economic sanctions on Iraq as well as urging the world’s Parliaments/legislatures in  the other 187 UN member states to adopt a global resolution urging the lifting of the UN economic sanctions.

The resignation of Hans von Sponeck as UN Humanitarian  Coordinator of the Oil for Food  programme in Iraq and Jutta Burghardt as head of the World Food Program in Iraq in  protest of the economic sanctions and the UN Security Council  Resolution 1284 should serve as wake-up calls for the international community to end the  the sanctions which have been described as "infanticide masquerading as policy".

Calling on the international community to review  sanctions against Baghdad to help alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, Von Sponeck, who resigned  in protest at the decade-old sanctions, said that the sanction regime of the kind that is implemented in Iraq is  "simply no longer tolerable" and  is also against human rights.

He said before the sanctions - which were imposed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 -   the infant mortality rate in Iraq was 56  per 1,000, but today 131 children do not live to the fifth year of their life out of 1,000.
Von Sponeck said the three-year-old U.N. oil-for-food programme which allows Baghdad  to export crude oil to finance imports of  humanitarian goods was "inadequate" and called for the entire sanctions approach to be  reconsidered.
The UN sanctions in Iraq have  become a humanitarian  tragedy of epic proportions. According to  UN estimates, more  than one  million Iraqis have died - most of them children - directly or indirectly because of the  sanctions. Between 1991 and 1998, UNICEF estimates that half a million children died as a result of the economic sanctions.

As the sanctions are punishing the wrong target, the international community must respond to Von Sponeck’s call for the de-linking of the disarmament of Iraq from the discussion about the humanitarian  programme.
The Malaysian Parliament should be in the forefront to get the international community to respond to the protest resignations of the two high-ranking UN relief officials in Iraq and for for an end to the economic sanctions which ignore the fundamental humanitarian needs and rights of 22 million people  to basic health care, food and shelter.

Von Sponeck's predecessor, Denis Halliday of Ireland, resigned in 1998 as he  did not  want to be associated with the adverse impact of U.N. trade sanctions on ordinary Iraqis.  Halliday said:

"The loss of life inflicted on ordinary Iraqis by the sanctions is incompatible with the United  Nations Charter. The continuation of  these sanctions in full knowledge of their deadly consequences constitutes genocide."

The Malaysian Parliament’s all-party motion should urge:


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman