Sunday, January 21, 2007

Shortage of Medical Supplies and violations of the Hague and Geneva conventions in Iraq

This submission is a great source of information about the Hague, Geneva, and other conventions violated by the US, UK and others in the coalition that invaded Iraq. These violations seem to be beneath the radar of the mainstream press.

From the Independent (UK) The submission is by a number of UK doctors and others.

We are concerned that children are dying in Iraq for want of medical
treatment. Iraq, instead of being a country at the top of the league for
medicine, as it once was, now has conditions and mortality of a Third
World Country. Sick or injured children, who could otherwise be treated
by simple means, are left to die in hundreds because they do not have
access to basic medicines or other resources. Children who have lost
hands, feet, and limbs are left without prostheses. Children with grave
psychological distress are left untreated.
We understand that the UK may withdraw its forces from Iraq in 2007.
Before this happens, we call on the UK Government not to walk away from
this grave problem, but to fulfil its obligations that it entered into
under Security Council Resolution 1483 during the period 22 May 2003 to
28 June 2004. This Resolution recognised the UK and USA as being
Occupying Powers in Iraq but also stated that they had to comply with the
Geneva and Hague Conventions. These Conventions specifically require the
Occupying Powers to maintain order and to look after the medical needs
of the population. This they failed to do, and the knock on effect of
this failure is affecting Iraqi children's hospitals with increasing
We also ask the UK, as one of the Occupying Powers designated by
Resolution 1483 as Trustees of "The Development Fund For Iraq," to properly
account for these assets estimated at $23 billion in May 2003. It is
asserted that by June 2004 some $14 billion vanished in corruption, theft
and payment to mercenaries. We ask that all the revenues from Iraq's
oil now pass directly to the Iraqi people, and that illegal contracts
entered into by the Coalition Provisional Authority are revoked. Only in
this way can the Iraqi people rebuild their country with its
infrastructure, administration, and hospitals

Submission: As Citizens of the UK we allege that the Coalition
Occupying Powers failed to abide by the Hague and Geneva Conventions and
International Law in respect of childrens' medical needs in summary as
follows :-
1. Lack of medical supplies: Contrary to Articles 50, 55 and 56 of
the 1949 Geneva Convention IV where the Occupying Power has a duty of
ensuring the food and the medical supplies of the population, and......
medical and hospital establishments and services, three years into the
conflict, Iraqi children are dying in large numbers due to lack of
medical supplies. ( Babies are being ventilated with a plastic tube in
their noses and dying for want of a 95 pence oxygen mask, or lack of a
phial of vitamin K, or sterile needles, or even rubber surgical gloves.
Premature babies are forced three to an incubator 36 years old held
together with wire and elastoplast.)
2. Lack of clean water and proper drainage: Contrary to the Geneva
Convention 1949 Article 56 (preventive measures to combat the spread of
contagious disease), The service infrastructure of drainage, water
supply and electricity has been severely damaged as a consequence of
invasion and not been properly repaired. As a consequence the 41% percent of
the population which is under 15 suffers from lack of food, clean water
and proper sanitation. This results in disease and chronic dehydration
in a climate that can be very hot. There are not even cannulas for
infants to combat the effects of dehydration, even though they cost only 95
pence each.
3. Iraq's assets stolen: Contrary to The Hague Convention IV, 1907
Article 55 (safeguarding the capital of the hostile state), the lack of
reconstruction and poor provision of medical supplies is largely due to
the squandering of the $23 billion assets held in trust for 'The
Development Fund for Iraq' by the allied Occupying Powers under Resolution
1483. After 14 months, on June 28 2004, The Coalition Provisional
Authority had handed back $9 billion to the Interim Iraq administration. The
remaining $14 billion was not accounted for.
4. Iraq's oil stolen : Contrary to The Hague Convention IV, 1907
Article 55 (safeguarding the capital of the hostile state), the revenues
from Iraq's oil fields have not been properly accounted for since 2003.
Contracts for the disposal of Iraq oil and oil futures have been
entered into against International Law by the Coalition Provisional
5. De Baathification: Contrary to The Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court, Article 7 (h) Persecution on political grounds,
the de-Baathification of the Iraq medical administration and
professionals by the CPA, has led to a breakdown of health administration, since
it was virtually compulsory to be a Baath party member in these
positions. In the long term this has led to an exodus of medical staff from
Iraq, so that today only 50% of the doctors remain.
6. Break down of public order and safety: Contrary to The 1907
Hague Convention Article 43 (requirement of the Occupying Power to ensure
as far as possible public order and safety), the disbanding of the Iraq
army, police and civil administration has led to a state of persisting
anarchy. Guns are frequently used within hospitals. Doctors are
kidnapped for ransom. This has caused doctors to flee the country. Many
doctors have come to the UK. The UK has unjustly benefited from their
presence when they are desperately needed in Iraq, and where they really
desire to be.
7. Looting of hospitals: Contrary to the 1907 Hague Conventions,
in the initial days of occupation, looting was encouraged resulting in
widespread loss and damage of hospital equipment.
8. Dangerous repairs to hospitals: Contrary to the Geneva
Convention 1949 Article 56 (preventive measures to combat the spread of
contagious disease), CPA contractors' repairs to hospitals have been so
shoddily done as to be dangerous. Sanitation and plumbing works are
improperly carried out. Hospital floors can be flooded or awash with sewage.
Poor construction and bad finishes allow vermin and bacteria to accumulate
under loose floor and ceiling tiles and joinery.
9. Targeting of hospitals and ambulances with bombs and artillery:
Contrary to the 1949 Geneva Conventions IV , Article 8 intentionally
directing attacks against hospitals, hospitals have been targeted by
bombs and ambulances shot up.
10. No serious attempt to involve UN or NGOs: Contrary to 1949
Geneva Convention IV Article 56, which states that the Occupying Power has
the duty of ensuring and maintaining the medical and hospital
establishments and services, the Pentagon based CPA rashly took over the medical
administration of Iraq even though it was inexperienced in this field,
and without a workable knowledge of Arabic in a country twice the size
of France. Steps were not taken to obtain a mandate for United Nation's
post-invasion medical aid, or to properly fund The Red Crescent, or to
airlift medical supplies into Iraq.
11. Aid spent on 'Security': Contrary to The Hague Convention IV,
1907 Article 55 (safeguarding the capital of the hostile state), Iraqi
money designated for aid has been spent on 'security'. This has often
been carried out by mercenaries at a high price. This 'security' is an
extension of military occupation by proxy, and does not nullify the
requirements of Resolution 1483 to comply with the Geneva Conventions in
respect of ensuring medical supplies to the population.
12. Costs of war squandered on weapons rather than aid: The UK has
spared nothing on the cost of munitions and the means of delivering
them. In addition to millions of cluster bomblets and other munitions, 27
Storm Shadow missiles alone costing £560,000 each were dropped on Iraq
in 'Operation Telic'. These weapons are now being promoted for sale by
the British Government to 12 countries on the grounds of their proven
"success" in Iraq. In contrast, the UK DfID budget could not possibly
provide the required funds for medical equipment and drugs, treatment of
psychological trauma, or provision of artificial limbs and long term
physiotherapy for children and adults. The obligations of the Hague and
Geneva Conventions have therefore not been met by the UK in its alliance
with the USA."

No comments: