Letter: Busting sanctions

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Robert Fisk writes that "United Nations sanctions have broken the back of the hospital system" in Iraq. The results have been disastrous, with thousands of children dying every month.

In March two British peace activists were arrested and threatened with prosecution for breaking these sanctions by taking medicines to children's hospitals in Iraq. They had not applied for export licences, as an act of civil disobedience - though they had informed the Department of Trade and Industry and the Prime Minister of their intentions and the reasons for their actions.

Is it not ironic then that on the same day as Fisk's report, another article appeared in pages of The Independent concerning the ways in which British arms companies manage quite legally to circumvent the need for export licences in their business?

The message from the British government is abundantly clear: children's medicines, no; machine-guns, yes.

GABRIEL CARLYLE

Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire

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