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Division Over Sanctions on Iraq

In the last issue of Field Exchange we published an article which focussed on the effects of sanctions on Iraq. The likely impact of the 'oil for food' deal on food security was discussed. Since the imposition of sanctions in 1990 the levels of malnutrition in Iraq have increased. The oil for food deal was legislated for in May 1996 partly in response to this. However, it was not until April 1997 that the first foodstuffs purchased with the oil revenue were distributed as part of the Iraqi government food distribution programme. It has taken even longer (until August 1997) for the first full monthly distributions to take place.

According to the findings of a survey carried out since the enhanced foodbasket, by UNICEF, WFP and Iraq's MOH, there has been little improvement in the malnutrition levels of 12 months ago. Apparently 27% of under 5 years olds were still suffering of chronic malnutrition: 9% from acute and 24% were underweight.

In another development two of the UN's most senior officials have announced their retirement from the Iraqi program. Mr Denis Halliday, an Irishman with over 30 years UN experience, will step down as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq this month. According to European press reports Mr Halliday was increasingly frustrated at the effect of the sanctions on the Iraqi people and was highly critical of the sanction program. In contrast, American arms inspector Mr Scott Ritter, who had been working for UNSCOM, the UN agency with responsibility for the decommissioning of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, resigned in August because he felt that the UN and the international community were being far too accommodating to the Iraqi government.

On 20 August the UN Security Council once again voted to maintain the sanctions.

For further information see: http://www.relifweb.com

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Reference this page

Division Over Sanctions on Iraq. Field Exchange 5, October 1998. p13. www.ennonline.net/fex/5/division