MARCH 20, 2003
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Sandra Mitchell, 202-822-0166 ext. 10
Melissa Winkler, 212-551-0972
Edward Bligh, 212-551-3114
American Aid Groups are Being Shut Out of Iraq by U.S.
Sanctions, says International Rescue Committee
- March 20 - The International Rescue Committee said today that
U.S. government regulations are throwing roadblocks in the path
of American aid organizations trying to provide humanitarian assistance
inside the borders of Iraq.
"We are effectively
being shut out of central and southern Iraq, and the rules are
still restrictive for Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq," said
George Rupp, president of the International Rescue Committee.
"Even in the
middle of a looming humanitarian crisis," he said, "aid organizations
are subject to rules that rival the IRS Code in complexity and
that require licenses and permissions from separate government
agencies that take days or even weeks to obtain. The amount of
red tape is completely counterproductive."
continue in force, and the U.S. government has given no indication
that they will promptly lifted, Rupp said.
has partially lifted the restrictions as they apply to privately
funded aid for northern Iraq, but the remaining rules are complicated
and difficult to navigate.
say there may be massive refugee flows toward or into Iran, and
U.S. sanctions bar humanitarian operations there as well.
Bush can resolve the problem with the stroke of a pen," Rupp said.
"We urge him to do so immediately. The lives and well-being of
innocent civilians are at stake."
in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is one of the world's
largest nonsectarian nonprofit organizations providing global
emergency relief, rehabilitation, protection, resettlement services
and advocacy for refugees, displaced persons and victims of oppression
and violent conflict. The IRC, which currently provides assistance
in some 30 countries, is committed to freedom, human dignity,
and self-reliance. For more information, visit the IRC's Web site:
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