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DECEMBER 3, 1998   6:29 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Iraq Sanctions Challenge
Sara Flounders/Sarah Sloan (212) 633-6646
 
Open Defiance of US/UN Sanctions as Iraq Sanctions Challenge Returns to Iraq
 
NEW YORK - December 3 - Led by Ramsey Clark, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and members of the American Muslims for Global Peace & Justice, a twenty-person delegation from the United States is taking another large shipment of medicine to Iraq in defiance of the US/UN economic sanctions. The delegation will be in Iraq Dec. 6-13, 1998.

The delegation is called the Iraq Sanctions Challenge and is a follow-up to the first Challenge of  84 delegates in May 1998.

The U.S. delegates will be attending an international conference in Baghdad marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights. The conference will be attended by parliamentarians, human rights activists, religious figures and labor leaders.

"US/UN sanctions are not a benign alternative to war but a severe abuse of human rights. More than 1.6 million Iraqis have died according to the UN's own statistics. Most of these people are babies and their grandparents, in other words the most vulnerable people in society," according to Brian Becker and Deirdre Sinnott, the spokespersons for the Iraq Sanctions Challenge. We are insisting that economic sanctions be included in any internationally recognized definition of human rights abuses."

Ramsey Clark lambasted the official US position that sanctions must be maintained because of Iraq's purported arsenal of weapons. "The United States spends more on arms annually, $275 billion presently, than the rest of the Security Council combined. US arms expenditure are approximately 25 times the gross national product of Iraq. The U.S. has in its stockpiles more nuclear bombs, chemical and biological weapons, more aircraft, rockets and delivery systems in number and sophistication than the rest of the world combined. After 9,000 UNSCOM weapons inspections of Iraq during the last eight years, it is obvious that US disarmament claims are only a pretext to maintain genocidal sanctions."

To arrange interviews and speaking engagements. Contact Sarah Sloan at the International Action Center (212) 633-6646.

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