War in Iraq will trigger a humanitarian catastrophe fear Greens/EFA
The 14 Green and EFA MEPs, returning from Iraq on a cross party delegation from the European Parliament, today stated that war in Iraq would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in the region. On their visit MEPs wanted to get a first hand impression of the humanitarian situation in the country by meeting ordinary citizens, international NGOs and UN Agencies. Green Belgian MEP Paul Lannoye, leader of the delegation said today:
"We saw that due to sanctions, children malnutrition is widespread and food shortages are a daily problem for everybody. We also witnessed ever increasing health problems, particularly in the South, where congenital malformations and children leukaemia have reached a peak. Should the data we were given be confirmed, we will be facing a worsening health situation. In such already appalling conditions a war would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe, whose consequences are not fully perceived by the world.
As regards the Oil for Food Program, UN Agencies confirmed the full co-operation of the Iraqi government. But we saw that this program is too limited and is hindering local production and does not meet the real needs of the population. Economic sanctions should be lifted if we want to give some hope to the Iraqi people.
UN inspectors are not yet able to fulfil their tasks to disarm Iraq. As long as inspectors can continue their work, there is no risk that Iraq might develop clandestine programs of weapons of mass destruction. We therefore call for an extension of the mandate giving the inspectors the possibility to complete their operations. Their presence is a guarantee of peace."