NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO URGE THE US CATHOLIC BISHOPS

TO CALL FOR AN END TO IRAQI SANCTIONS

Forwarded message: From: rmasri@leb.net (Rania Masri)

October 7, 1997

Over one million persons have died since 1990 as a result of US/UN sanctions. 27.5% of Iraqi children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. The "food-for-oil" deal is not bringing the needed relief.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) will conduct their annual meeting in Washington, DC, Monday-Thursday, November 10-13, 1997. Please write, FAX or phone your local bishop, auxiliary bishop(s) and/or the president of the bishops' conference. Ask them to publicly condemn Iraqi sanctions and to demand that the US end them immediately.

You may use the sample letter, which appears on the other side of this sheet, or adapt it. If you are pressed for time, you may simply photo copy the letter, insert the name of the bishop(s) at the top of the letter, sign it and send it in its present form.

Forms of address:

The Most Reverend (bishops name) (Address)

The Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla President of the NCCB 1027 Superior Ave. Cleveland OH 44114 Ph. 216/696-6525. FAX 216/696-6547

PRIOR TO THE NCCB MEETING: send your letters to the office of your local bishop, auxiliary bishop(s) and The Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla, President of the NCCB, 1027 Supior Ave., Cleveland OH 44114. Phone: 216/696-6525. FAX: 216/696-6547

IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO, OR DURING THEIR MEETING, November 10-13: send c/o Hyatt Regency Washington on Capital Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington DC 20001. Phone: 202/737-1234. FAX: 202/737-5773 (if appropriate, with the attached notation "hold for arrival."

For more information: 8th Day Center for Justice, 205 W. Monroe, Chicago IL 60606-5033 Ph. 312/641-5151; FAX: 312/641-1250; e-mail: bossie@claret.org

Dear Bishop

I am writing to urge you to call for the end of economic sanctions against the people of Iraq at the annual meeting of bishops in Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1997.

Over seven years after the bombs stopped falling on Iraq, the war continues against the civilian population in the form of economic sanctions. Economic warfare has taken the lives of over one million persons, the vast majority of whom are children under five years of age. Independent agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN's own Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) continue to document the devastating impact sanctions are having on the civilian population. In 1996, UNICEF reported that 4,500 children were dying monthly.

Archbishop Kassab of Southern Iraq reports: "Epidemics rage, taking away infants and the sick by the thousands. Those children who survive disease succumb to malnutrition, which stunts their physical and mental development. Our situation is unbearable!...We appeal to people of conscience to work to end the blockade of Iraq."

All of this in a population of 20 million persons who, before 1990, enjoyed a highly developed lifestyle. One author of the FAO report appropriately called this genocide. The sanctions are a silent but more deadly form of warfare than the military campaign of 1991.

Whatever the intent of these sanctions, the means violates the most basic tenants of Catholic moral theology. Moreover, they violate international law by targeting civilians and the infrastructure necessary for their existence. "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as food, livestock, agricultural areas and drinking water installations." (Art. 48, Geneva Conventions).

The 1991 bombing campaign systematically destroyed electric, water and sewage plants, as well as agricultural, food and medical production facilities. All of these structures continue to be inoperative, or function at sub-minimal levels, because the sanctions have made it impossible to buy spare parts for their repair. In 1991, the UN said that it would take $21 Billion just to repair the infrastructure.

UN Resolution 986, the food-for-oil deal, agreed to by the Security Council and the Government of Iraq, allows Iraq to sell $2 Billion every six months for food and medicine and minor infrastructure concerns. While this has salved the conscience of some, it has done little to alleviate what former Attorney General Ramsey Clark called "the one crime against humanity in this last decade of the millennium that exceeds all others...."

In your role as moral leader, please condemn this aggression and demand that the US end sanctions.

Sincerely,