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british sanctions breakers head for iraq

voices in the wilderness uk | 06.05.2002 10:34

four members of voices uk risk 5 years in a british prison by taking essential medical supplies and children's toys to iraq

May 6th 2002
voices in the wilderness uk
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British sanctions breakers head for Iraq- denouncing “smart” sanctions fraud.

Four members of Voices in the Wilderness UK[1] will risk a possible five year prison sentence [2] when they embark on a sanctions-breaking trip to Iraq this Tuesday May 7th [3]. The campaigners say that the so called “smart sanctions” proposals which the UN Security Council is expected to approve on Wednesday [4] are a fraud.

The new resolution proposes introducing a “Goods Review List” of potential dual use items. All other items would be exempt from the veto of the notorious Sanctions, or 661, committee, blamed for holding up billions of dollars worth of essential goods.

“All the proposed resolution does is lock the 661 committee out and reduce paperwork for exporters,” explained Gabriel Carlyle, one of the delegates, “The resolution can only be presented as a positive development if one accepts that the 661 committee has abused its discretion in the past.
In fact the resolution is a fraud that will do little to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Under ‘smart’ sanctions the massive foreign investment and the freedom of labour and capital that Iraq so desperately needs will remain prohibited. Under ‘smart’ sanctions ordinary families in Iraq will remain sunk in poverty, unable to earn a living wage and Iraqi children will continue to drink dirty water, get sick and die. This is totally unacceptable. We are deliberately breaking these sanctions in order to challenge this illegal and immoral policy.”

The delegation members will be taking medical supplies and medical CD-ROMs with them to Iraq, without applying for export licences. They will also break the sanctions by returning with locally purchased goods from Iraq to auction here in Britain. They will hand a letter in to 10 Downing Street at 12pm Tuesday expressing their intentions.

According to UNICEF the economic sanctions on Iraq have contributed to the deaths of at least 500,000 children since they were imposed in August 1990 [5]. The Catholic aid agency CAFOD has condemned this policy as ‘humanly catastrophic [and] morally indefensible’ [6].

The delegation members are Gabriel Carlyle(27), a communication support worker from Oxford and joint co ordinator of Voices UK , Susan Brush (33), an environmental field worker from Oban, in Scotland, Emma Sangster (35), a designer from London and Gareth Evans (36), a freelance writer and curator in film and culture from London.
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[1] Voices in the Wilderness UK campaigns for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the economic sanctions on Iraq.
[2] Under the Iraq and Kuwait (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1990, taking any goods to Iraq without an export licence is a violation of the law punishable of five years in prison.
[3] The delegation leaves London Heathrow Tuesday 7th May 17:05 GMT (RJ 112 to Amman, Jordan ) arrives Amman 00:00 local time and returns to London Heathrow on Sunday 19th May 15:45 GMT.( from Amman - RJ 111- departs Amman at 12.15 local time)
[4] Reuters May 3, “U.N.-Iraq Talks End; No Decision on Inspectors”
[5] See UNICEF’s press release, “Iraq surveys show ‘humanitarian emergency’”, 12th August 1999 available on-line at
[6] See CAFOD’s February 2001 report ‘A People Sacrificed: Sanctions Against Iraq’, available on-line at

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