U.N. -- Accessory After the Fact?
WASHINGTON - March 28 -
Former head of the U.N. oil-for-food program, Halliday said
today: "The people of Iraq are being crushed brutally everyday
as we watch our TV. The U.N. and international law are being
set aside by the U.N. Security Council member states. The Secretary
General provides a weak voice reminding us all of Charter provisions,
but too late and too little...."
Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author
of the book Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the
September 11th Crisis. She said today: "International
law, specifically the Geneva Conventions, requires the belligerent
occupying power to take responsibility (meaning pay) for the
humanitarian needs of the civilian population under occupation.
Thus, the U.S. and the U.K. are responsible for all costs of
emergency care, including food, medicine, and initial rehabilitation
efforts, at least during the period while hostilities continue.
Oil-for-food funds should not be released and used to pay for
emergency supplies -- those funds belong to Iraq. They should
remain frozen until a functioning independent government is
in power in Baghdad and then turned back over to Iraq.
Executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights,
Normand said today: "This is a defining moment for the
United Nations. Kofi Annan should immediately condemn the illegal
invasion of Iraq. The U.N. should insist on retaining control
over the oil-for-food funds for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
The U.N. should not allow the U.S.-U.K. to seize billions of
Iraqi oil wealth to pay companies like Halliburton to rebuild
what the U.S.-U.K. has destroyed at U.S. taxpayer expense."
Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Lobel is professor of international law at the University of
Pittsburgh and a CCR board member. Lobel said today: "We
have been asking for a 'Uniting for Peace' Resolution (337),
which allows the U.N. General Assembly to step in and prevent
aggressive wars and acts when the Security Council is unable
to do so. Seemingly very concerned about the possibility of
this resolution being brought to the U.N. floor and passing,
the U.S. government has sent a high-pressure letter to all nations
of the world demanding that they avoid 'calls for an emergency
session of the General Assembly, [which] will not change the
path that we are on....'"
Sacks was fined $10,000 last year by the U.S. government after
he took medicines to Iraq. He said today: "Yesterday, standing
next to President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair said that
'Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the
age of five died of malnutrition and disease ... because of
the nature of the regime under which they are living. Now, that
is why we're acting.' Well, that's certainly why I was acting.
I took medicine to children in Iraq and I was fined $10,000
for admitting this. The regime that caused the preventable death
of these children is the regime of sanctions pushed by the U.S.
and the U.K."
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