Letter: Busting sanctions

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Denis Halliday's resignation over the "unacceptably high" price the ordinary people in Iraq pay for sanctions is something to be proud of ("UN aid chief resigns over Iraq sanctions", 1 October).

More children have died of United Nations embargo related causes in 1990- 1997 than those lost in Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia. It is time sanctions were reviewed as an effective weapon against errant regimes.

Sanctions should focus more on real targets - the military and their elite supporters - by, for example, freezing overseas bank accounts, withdrawing commercial air traffic and denying visas. The international community can also do much to ensure the poor are protected from sanctions by taking care of basic health, food, water and shelter and protecting aid from being misused and misdirected.

Sanctions are a powerful weapon. On the surface they are more humane than war, but unless they can be directed at legitimate targets they are immoral and should not be used.

CLARE SMITH

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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