We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Sunday 28 February 2010

As elections approach

Next Sunday March 7th sees national elections in Iraq, but news reports indicate they are unlikely to generate much enthusiasm nor be free or fair. Michael Hastings reports that only 22 percent in Baghdad say they will vote -http://trueslant.com/michaelhastings/2010/02/23/poll-majority-of-iraqis-think-security-has-gotten-worse-only-22-percent-in-baghdad-say-they-will-vote-no-love-for-iran/
Juan Cole is concerned abut widespread fraud(February 28th): "Iraqis go to the voting booth on Sunday, March 7, to elect the second full-term parliament since the fall of the one-party Baath regime in 2003. Many Iraqis are worried about ballot and other irregularities in their polls.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement is complaining bitterly about a rash of arrests by the government of Sadrist activists. The hard line Shiite movement asserted that these arrests were aimed at influencing the course of the election.

Al-Hayat writes in Arabic that the National Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite religious parties, has alleged that there are 800,000 imaginary voters' names on the election rolls. Member of parliament for the National Iraqi Alliance, Qasim Da'ud, told al-Hayat that his coalition has already detected numerous instances of attempted fraud in the upcoming election."


The Observer reports of boycotts

Fears of Iraq poll boycott after Sunni party pulls out

The Observer reports (February 21st): One of Iraq's two most prominent Sunni politicians has withdrawn his party from next month's general election and called on Sunni voters to boycott the polls – a move that has raised fears of a repeat of the country's disastrous 2005 ballot.

The call for a boycott was made by Saleh al-Mutlaq, an MP who leads the National Dialogue Front, a leading Sunni party. It is part of a cross-sectarian Iraqiya electoral alliance, formed to contest the 7 March ballot.


and The National tells us of votes for sale:

Poor selling their votes for cash

The National reports (February 21st): he March 7 election may be a critical event in the contest to decide Iraq’s future, but for some of the nation’s poor, the right to vote does not mean having a say in who leads the country; it means having something to sell to make desperately needed cash.

“Elections are a beautiful opportunity to get some money,” Ahmad Salam said. “There are lots of people willing to sell their votes, and lots of people who want to buy them.”

A mechanic by trade working in the impoverished Sadr City slum of north-eastern Baghdad, Mr Salam has taken on the role of an election agent with a difference. He collects votes and then offers them en masse to whichever party is prepared to make the highest bid, taking a commission for his efforts.

“I have 100 people who have given me their vote to sell,” he said outside the small garage where he is employed as a casual worker, earning a few dollars a day. “None of them cares who wins, none of them thinks it makes any difference, so they give me their vote, and I sell it.”


Sunday 21 February 2010

New human rights reports

The International Rescue Committee reports (February 17th): Seven years into the Iraq conflict, millions of Iraqi civilians remain uprooted and desperate, but ongoing strife and persecution, occupied and ruined homes and lack of vital services in their communities of origin preclude most from returning home safely, says the International Rescue Committee’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees.In its third report, “A Tough Road Home: Uprooted Iraqis in Jordan, Syria and Iraq,” the Commission says only a tiny fraction of Iraq’s displaced have returned home, in spite of reports that would suggest otherwise. For the vast majority of those who remain uprooted, the situation is precarious and growing worse, yet aid levels that were inadequate to begin with are dropping off.
The Commission found that most displaced Iraqis inside and outside Iraq are struggling to get by and continue to face overwhelming economic obstacles. They have largely exhausted savings they once had and are becoming more if not solely dependent on charity. Few are able to find stable sources of income. Many lack adequate shelter, food and other basic services. A large number suffer severe psychological distress over the loss of family, savings, livelihoods and property. In Iraq, government assistance is often out of reach because of chronic insecurity and bureaucratic red tape.


Meanwhile more medical evidence on abnormal leukaemia rates:
Nerve agents could be to blame for tripling of child leukaemia in Basra

The Times reports (February 19th): Rates of leukaemia in children around the Basra area of Southern Iraq have almost tripled in the last 15 years according to calculations by public health experts. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health documents 698 cases of leukaemia among children under the age of 15 in the period to 2007. There was a peak of 211 cases in 2006.
Rates increased from three to almost 8.5 cases of the disease per 100,000 children over the time period. This is more than double the rate of leukaemia in the European Union.
The researchers speculated that increased exposure to substances related to childhood leukaemia might be responsible. War-related nerve agents and pesticides, and the widespread use of depleted uranium munitions, might also be factors, they said.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Latest news from IOF Newsletter No 140

More civilian deaths in a joint US-Iraq raid:

Governor wants apology and compensation from U.S. troops for killing 10 Iraqis
Azzaman reports (February 13th): The Governor of Missan has formally asked U.S. troops for an apology and compensation for the killing of 10 Iraqis in his province.
Mohammed al-Sudani described those killed in a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation as “martyrs” and said the victims’ families should be both “morally and materially” compensated.
Sudani said the operation was illegal because “it took place without permission from the local authorities.”

Lots of cases pending against the British government:

Iraqis claiming abuse by British forces
AFP reports (February 5th): Lawyers for scores of Iraqis who claim they were abused by British soldiers called for a public inquiry into how the country's forces have treated detainees during the US-led war.
A law firm representing 66 Iraqis said claims that British troops mistreated prisoners during the Iraq conflict were so numerous and similar that defence officials must hold a single inquiry into Britain's detention policy. British soldiers are accused by the claimants of subjecting Iraqis to rape, sexual humiliation and torture.
"There are so many cases and so many have so much in common - similar allegations at similar facilities, often involving the same people," said lawyer Phil Shiner, from the firm Public Interest Lawyers.

but rich pickings for some...

British firms vie for contracts in Iraq’s Basra
Azzaman reports (February 15th): The southern Iraqi Province of Basra has invited 25 British firms to persuade them to bid for contracts and invest in the impoverished region. The British business executives were led by Baroness Emma Nicholson.