Letter: Iraq's dead children

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Unicef paints a disturbing picture with its survey that warns child mortality in most of Iraq has more than doubled since sanctions were imposed.

A bigger picture would show that Burundi and Sierra Leone, two of Africa's poorest and more war-torn countries, have also suffered from sanctions that blocked arrivals of food and medicines and wreaked havoc on the lives of some of these countries' most vulnerable people. As in Iraq, it is the poor who have paid the price of blunt, inflexible and badly monitored embargoes.

The experience in Africa calls for urgent action by the UN and regional organisations to better target and monitor sanctions to minimise the suffering they cause. ActionAid will be calling on the UN Secretary-General to remember Africa when he comes to consider options for improving sanctions. Breaking the political stalemate over Iraq is the key to more effective and humane intervention by the UN in other embargoes in the future.

Dr SARAH COLLINSON

Senior Research and Policy Co-ordinator

ActionAid, London N19

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