To the Secretary General of the United Nations H.E. Ban Ki-moon,
To UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
To the European Union Commissioner for Human Rights: Thomas Hammarberg
To all human rights and solidarity organizations
To all peace loving people of the world
We are writing to appeal to you on behalf of the Iraqi people on the receiving end of Mr. Bush’s new security plan for Baghdad and Anbar. The readiness of the US/Iraqi government forces, to use illegal acts of collective punishment does not inspire us with confidence and peace of mind.
As you read these lines, the city of Haditha in the Anbar province, a city that has suffered repeated attacks from US forces during 2006, has been under a medieval siege, for more than two months now, with food, water, electricity and fuel being cut off and movement inside the city has been restricted. Several messages of SOS were issued by residents of this city posted on the internet.
The residents of the three kilometer Haiffa Street in the centre of Baghdad have been suffering siege and aerial bombardment since the 10th January.
I refer you to Arwa Damen’s report on CNN aired on the 26th Jan, in which a 25 year old Iraqi woman resident of Haiffa Street, on her way to the shops during a brief lull in the fighting, raged against the terrible conditions the residents were having to endure.
She spoke of dead bodies on the street, being mauled by wild dogs. Her words were, ‘The American forces are not protecting the civilians, then they should leave.’ While US military reports talk of gun fights in Haiffa Street, there is little evidence of such an exchange.
This US military tactic of collective punishment have been used repeatedly on cities such as Fallujah, Tel Afar, Ramady, Hussaiba etc. without success.
It is extremely worrying that Mr. Bush should impose his military plan on the Iraqis, when all the experts say the way forward for Iraq is political and diplomatic not military. It is worrying that Bush has ignored the Iraq Study Group report’s calls for engagement both inside Iraq and in the region.
We fear that military operations of this kind will only make the matters worse not better. There are no indications why this well tried route should lead to success this time when previous operations have failed to bring security and stability to Iraq.
We fear that a heavy price will be paid mainly by the Iraqi civilians as these ‘security operations’ are conducted in heavily populated areas. We fear the US’s heavy handedness and manipulative tactics make reconciliation in Iraq, an aim more difficult to attain.
The proposed security plan by Mr. Bush, which as he himself promised will burgeon the multitude of problems and multiply the already intolerable misery of the Iraqi people.
Iraqis are living an endless nightmare with none to turn to and nowhere to escape to. Some have abandoned their homes, jobs, all their worldly possessions and are living in refugee camps or over crowded houses inside Iraq.
Those who are able and fortunate, cross the borders abandoning their livelihoods to live a life of squalor as refugees.
We also appeal to you on behalf of the millions of displaced Iraqis. We noted that the surrounding countries have tightened the restrictions on the number of Iraqis they admit and allow to stay. And the occupation countries have made it virtually impossible for Iraqis to be considered for a visa. This is the hidden high cost of this war, that none seems to care about when they convene their meetings, draw up their plans and make their speeches.
We appeal to you to use your good offices to put pressure on the US military and the Iraqi government to comply with International Humanitarian Law, to remind them international law prohibits acts of collective punishment.
We demand that members of the Iraqi Red Crescent are protected and granted unfettered access to Iraqi villages and neighbourhoods, in order to assist the sick, the displaced and the needy.
We echo the words of the Iraqi woman in the CNN report, 'the US occupation forces are not complying with the Geneva Convention, and they should leave Iraq'.
If everything looks correct, click sign now. Your signature will not be added until you click the button below.