December 15 1999
By Allan Thompson
Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau
Canada aids `genocide' in Iraq: Ex-U.N. official Sanctions kill, says former U.N. official
OTTAWA - Canada is contributing to genocide in Iraq by continuing to
support sanctions against the country, the former head of the United
Nations oil-for-food program says.
Denis Halliday was in Ottawa yesterday to meet MPs and senators and
lobby against Canada's continued support for U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
He said in an interview he is appalled Canada has followed the American
lead on Iraq.
``It's known as genocide,'' Halliday said. ``It is an intent to destroy
Iraq and kill the people of Iraq through economic sanctions.
``There is no sign of the Canadian tradition of concern for human rights
issues and law. It's astonishing. Many of us look to Canada for some
leadership, some moral standing, some independence from Washington.''
Halliday, who is Irish, now teaches at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
He resigned from his post as chief U.N. relief co-ordinator for Iraq in
late 1998 to protest the effects of continued sanctions on Iraq.
``If the Canadian people knew what was happening in their name, the
impact on the average Iraqi family, they'd be horrified,'' Halliday said.
He said a bunch of bananas now costs the equivalent of a month's salary
in Iraq. Health and sanitation facilities have deteriorated.
Child mortality has skyrocketed to the point where one in seven children
die before the age of five - quadruple the child mortality rate that
existed before sanctions were put in place.
``The social consequences have been quite horrific,'' Halliday said.
Halliday said Iraqi requests for Canadian help, such as providing basic
vaccines and agricultural assistance, have been rejected.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy has maintained Canada has tried
to use its influence to broker an agreement between the five permanent
members of the Security Council so that sanctions can be eased if Iraq allows
arms inspectors into the country. But France, Russia and China have called
for an early end to sanctions, first imposed in 1990.
Yesterday, France delayed a scheduled vote on the matter by the 15-member
Security Council, saying it needed more time. The resolution, under
contentious debate for months, would suspend stringent trade sanctions
if Baghdad co-operated and let U.N. arms inspectors return to Iraq.
U.N. weapons inspectors have not been in Iraq since a year ago this week,
when the United States and Britain launched bombing raids against Saddam
Hussein's regime for its alleged failure to co-operate with the U.N. arms
Denis Halliday also emphasized how uninformed [in Canada and in the US] the public,
the media and the government officials are about the real cost of the
sanctions. He is convinced that the situation in Iraq is 'genocidal'
under the terms of the Treaty on Genocide because of the intent being
demonstrated. This was confirmed for him during a meeting with
international lawyers earlier this year in Spain.
Of particular note from his meetings on Parliament Hill, is that Bill
Graham [Chair of SCFAIT] is interested in putting Iraq Sanctions on the
agenda of the SCFAIT. Sven Robinson's [whom DH met with and who is
travelling to Iraq in January] office advised that we write to Bill Graham
and cc Sven and other members of the SCFAIT.
Denis Halliday's 5 concluding points were:
1. Iraq needs to be brought back in to the international community
2. international community needs to change its attitude toward Iraq
3. Para 14 of UN Resolution 687 should be implemented -
"Takes note that .....of the present resolution represent steps towards the
goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass
destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a
global ban on chemical weapons." DH said Iraq's military prowess in weak
and is threatened
4. lift economic sanctions. food is not enough, needs massive capital
infusion $50-60 billion needed
5.need a vision to see the Middle East as a community working together.
must work toward that vision. one day the oil will run out. 'We Europeans
and N. Americans need to get out'.
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