Head of the Iraqi Delegation
H.E. Dr. Fahad Al-Shagra
Minister of Education of the Republic of Iraq
To the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Child
New York May 8-10 2002
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Honorable Head of Delegations participating in the Special General Assembly
Session of the Child
The President of the General Assembly
Ladies and gentlemen
"Assalum Alykum Wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barkatuh".
I have the honor and pleasure to be deputed by President Saddam Hussein to represent my country in the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Child which convenes to discuss one of the most important topics, namely, the suffering and needs of children.
Before going further I would like to point out that myself and the members of my delegation which includes representatives of Iraqi children, mothers and non-governmental organizations concerned with the Child were prevented from attending all the meetings of this conference because we were given our entry visas just a day before yesterday. Hence our children could not join the Children of the world in their activities. The US aims from such behavior to prevent the embargoed Iraqi children from screaming aloud their agony and pain in front of all the honorable and decent people of the world in this conference and expose the crimes being committed against them by the United States of America.
With the beginning of the nineties decade, the children of Iraq began facing a human catastrophe that has no equal in history and what makes is more disastrous and horrendous is that it is a man-made disaster done by those who claim scientific and technical supremacy and pride themselves on the protection and defense of Human Rights. This catastrophe is a result of imposing a comprehensive sanctions by the United States and the United Kingdom in the name of the United Nations and under the silence of the world's governments.
This catastrophe has caused the destruction of the most vulnerable segments of Iraqi society, namely, children, women and the elderly after being deprived of their most basic human rights in attaining food and medications and enjoying the rights in life, growth, happiness and dignity.
It suffices to mention the death especially among children under five years of age. This number has totaled more then half a million child at the rate of 9000 child monthly, i.e., a child dies every five minutes and this means that 900 child will die during the convening of this conference. What is sadder is the fact that they are dying a slow and agonizing death due to a variety of ailments and acute shortage of medications.
The children of Iraq and the Iraqi people are the subject of the crime of the century on the hand of "humanity protectors" in their usage of Depleted Uranium where it used more than 950,000 bombs against Iraq. Such usage surpassed in its horrific consequences what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Thus, I wonder how can we-in Iraq- implement Para (34) of the Draft Proposal which calls to reduce the infants, under- five and maternal mortality rates by at least one third in present.
A quick review of the End of Decade Review Report submitted by the Secretary-General, shows that it agrees with our orientations. Let me read some of the paragraphs which have been embarrassingly formulated:
Para (28): Perhaps more children
have suffered from armed conflicts and violence since the Summit than at
any comparable period in history.
Para (72): Armed conflicts and other forms of violence posed major challenges to the rights and development of children.
Para (73): Conflicts not only killed more than two millions children in the past decade but they left many other millions disabled and psychologically scarred by the experience of terror.
The authors of the above paras may be objective, yet they dare not to give things their names. Therefore we are called upon on this occasion to denounce the policy of violence imposed on the children of Iraq and Palestine and refuse all types of sanctions imposed on the children of Arab Nation and in other countries all over the world. This must be drafted in an independent paragraph, otherwise, your conference decisions and recommendations will be as mentioned in para (11) of the said report: "It is often said that in many United Nations conferences, goals are ever set but never met, and that commitments on paper are rarely translated into action on the ground".
The Iraqi children have felt the scourge of war, the pains of hunger and the agony of illness. They continue this agony with little or no relief from the International Community. How are we expected then to welcome programs designed by the same hands that are keeping them ill and hungry? How can we explain to the Iraqi children that the UN Organizations are offering to help heal the wounds inflicted by the UN itself?
We would like to remind you dear Presidents and representative of countries all over the world that the Iraqi children suffering today will lead Iraq tomorrow. It is difficult for those who underwent hunger, pain, deprived childhood and an adolescence lost in frustration to forget the imposers of the embargo and participate in its continuation. Is this acceptable to you?
How many more children will have to be killed by the United States and the United Kingdom before something is done?
Or you may agree with Mrs. Albright, Former American Secretary of States, when the CBS television network asked her: "We heard that half a million of Iraqi children died, and this number exceeds those who killed in Hiroshima. Does the purpose deserve that price" Her answer was that "It was a difficult choice, but it is worth it".
We are confident that the Iraqi children
will never forget the honest Nations that fully recognized the disaster
and stood with them. They are looking forward to the Presidents of those
Nations to reconfirm their attitude by calling for adopting an unambiguous
decision to end the embargo on the Iraqi children and a commitment to implement
Thank you for your attention, hoping all success to your conference in its resolutions and recommendations to achieve its goals.