H.E. Dr. Umaid Medhat
Minister of Health of the Republic of Iraq
Head of the Iraqi Delegation to the Special Session on AIDS
New York June 26, 2001
It's my pleasure to greet your Excellency on behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Iraq wishing for a complete success of the work of this session.
The convening of this session comes as the international community, and especially the United Nations, is becoming aware of their responsibility in facing the grave danger embodied in the accelerating epidemic of HIV/AIDS, and their resolve to coordinate all international efforts including those of United Nations agencies, all states and governments in the world.
On this occasion, I would like to reiterate that my country, Iraq, is
ready to cooperate within the framework of these international efforts
and participate fully in order to find real solutions to this epidemic
which is becoming a serious threat to the international community and our
The spread of AIDS primarily in countries of limited resources and particularly in Africa points out evidently that the spread of this disease is one of the consequences of deteriorating economic situations, it also illustrates the level of technical and financial support provided by the United Nations and the international community to fight AIDS clearly this effort does not rise to the danger of challenges and does not allow full and effective implementation of programs to control this disease especially in Africa. Which requires an increase in the financial support to implement development centers taking care for AIDS patients and provide them medicaments and enhance the level of services provided and ensure the support of other sectors. The developments realized in curing the disease and preventions from contracting the illness and the importance in using medications to limit the spread of the disease from infected mothers to their unborn children during pregnancy and birth, and because such medications are very costly, it is imperative that the international community, particularly the countries of the north, give high priority to the issue of providing means for eliminating this epidemic at reasonable costs. It is not logical that the disease remains in Africa while the cure remains in the west and under its control.
The essential need arises to give support to national programs in AIDS prevention; to increase training opportunities and internships for the workers in the fields of planning and implementing such programs; to increase technological support in the fields of treatment and immunity evaluation for patients of AIDS and laboratory diagnoses for the AIDS virus; and providing tools for cultural awareness and necessary educational materials; Spiritual and ethical teaching of youth throughout the world without exception to allow those who implement such programs to cope with the developments in the epidemic of this disease and strengthen the country's capabilities and especially those countries of the south that suffer from the consequences of unjust and detrimental world economic environment and also suffer from an economical and a scientific embargo.
In the field of review and evaluation, the cooperation between states;
exchange of expertise in field of early discovery and laboratory diagnoses
of the AIDS virus is vital in understanding this epidemic and future changes.
Mr. President, .
Despite the unjust sanctions imposed on my country for eleven years
and the continuous destruction of the infrastructure including health services
establishments through the daily aggressions of US and UK war planes within
the illegal no-fly-zones, Iraq is considered one of the countries with
low infestation of this disease due to the programs of cultural awareness
and health care provided by the government of Iraq to its people. The difficulty
now is presented in shortages of diagnoses equipment and needs and not
being able to cope with scientific advances and new discoveries because
of the obstacles made by the US and UK representatives in the 661(1991)
sanctions committee to import such materials to Iraq. This has lead to
obstruction in implementing activities of preventive medical procedures
and early diagnosis. For example, many specialized equipments in assessment
of Immune status for AIDS patients and viral load standards that are essentials
in diagnoses of cases and follow-ups have not been received yet, despite
all that, Iraq, has put a continuous national plan to follow-up the implementation
of the program that is renewed taking into consideration the progress of
the international, regional and local environment of the epidemic. The
national plan concentrates on awareness and education among the whole population
and the segments susceptible to the danger of the disease, and providing
them sterilizations and testing donated blood before transfusion to ensure
its safety and care for patients and virus carriers. The Program gives
priority to those infected and provides special health and social care
through guidance and treatment centers throughout the country in addition
to financial support and free medications despite the difficulties facing
the program for lack of medical supplies.
If the international community represented by the United Nations is convening today to encounter the HIV/AIDS disease which is considered a threat to the lives and future of the world peoples, then the crime of sanctions being committed against the people of Iraq and the daily bombing by US and UK warplanes within the illegal no?fly zones and the use of depleted uranium does not have a lesser effect than that of AIDS. These crimes has harvested more than 1.5 million Iraqis among them women and children, not for any particular reason other than the insistence of one country in order to serve its interests and evil political goals.
I call upon the international community on this occasion to take serious and effective steps to put an end to the use of coercive economical measures as a mean of pressure on the peoples of the world and depriving them of their rights to obtain food, medications and medical care needs.
I reiterate to you that what is harvested by the sanctions imposed on
Iraq from Iraqi children is not any less than what AIDS is harvesting in
Africa, Sanctions and AIDS are put two faces of the same coin.
We hope this session will adopt decisive resolutions in facing the threat
of AIDS and support our decisions with deeds and generous contributions
to face this perilous epidemic. And the final document of this session
will adopt a balanced program in prevention and medical care to foil the
danger against humanity as a whole and that it will avoid any interference
with the religious and socio-cultural aspects of nations.
Peace be upon you and the mercy of God and his blessings.