Inside File: UN back-pedals on Baghdad sanctions report
Thursday 24 June 1993
In February, the UN Children's Fund commissioned Eric Hoskins, a Harvard expert on public health, to compile a 'situation analysis' for its country programme in Iraq. 'We did not commission him to do a report on the effect of war and sanctions,' said a Unicef official.
Yet Dr Hoskins' 32-page 'preliminary draft' - obtained by the Independent - purports to identify 'the impact of war and sanctions on Iraqi women and children'. It states, inter alia, that 'nearly three years of economic sanctions have created circumstances in Iraq where the majority of the civilian population are now living in poverty', and that 'by most accounts, the greatest threat to the health and well-being of the Iraqi people remains the difficult economic conditions created by nearly three years of internationally mandated sanctions and by the infrastructural damage wrought by the 1991 military conflict'.
The 'executive summary' concludes: 'Sanctions, unless applied in a manner which safeguards the civilian population, may threaten the more vulnerable members of society - especially children and women. Indeed, it may be that one fundamental contradiction remains: that politically motivated sanctions (which are by definition imposed to create hardship) cannot be implemented in a manner which spares the vulnerable.'
'We were not satisfied with it,' said a Unicef official. 'We have in fact shelved it. The report reaches conclusions not entirely based on fact.' Although the UN sanctions were bound to have a negative effect, 'we do not have enough evidence that they are entirely to blame'. The country's own running-down of its services and its currency reform were also contributory factors, he said.
An aid worker from an independent body went further: 'We tend to be more sceptical than the author of the report. The Iraqis are very good at manipulating information.'
Dr Hoskins' view is that 'I think I produced a good document.'
Had it been made public, the report would inevitably have been misused as propaganda fodder by Iraq. On Tuesday the oxymoronically titled Iraqi Justice Minister, Shebib al-Maliki, told the UN Conference on Human Rights in Vienna that the sanctions were a 'flagrant abuse of power and a crime of genocide perpetrated against an entire people', adding that the permanent members of the Security Council 'do not find it enough to have inflicted all the destruction that they did on Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure . . . the people of Iraq suffer today from shortages in food, medicine and medical requirements.'
A brief look at the other side of the equation: President Saddam's record in complying with the UN resolutions, the one route to getting the sanctions lifted. UN inspectors yesterday remained locked in a row with Iraq over the installation of two remote cameras to monitor missile test sites and removal of chemical production equipment.
More disturbingly, President Saddam last month added another Briton to his list of foreigners languishing in Abu Ghraib jail with near-decade sentences for the relatively petty offence of crossing the border into Iraq. He joins two Britons, three Swedes, a German and several non-Europeans.
A senior Foreign Office official is due to visit the Britons this weekend. President Saddam is thus reviving his practice of taking hostages to blackmail the West: he has made it known the men's fate depends on an unfreezing of Iraqi assets. He has also sought, in vain, to cause a rift between Sweden and Britain by privately telling the Swedes that their men would be released were it not for the unco-operative attitude of Britain.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nelson Bunker Hunt dead: Former world’s richest man dies in 'modest circumstances' in US after losing his fortune
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...
£21500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and w...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...