OVER 500 people attended a conference in central London against sanctions on Iraq on Saturday of last week. Among the speakers were two former United Nations Humanitarian Aid Co-ordinators in Iraq, both of whom resigned in disgust. Dennis Halliday was the first to resign in 1998, saying, "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is illegal and immoral."
He has since campaigned for sanctions to be lifted. His successor, Hans von Sponeck, then resigned in March this year after 36 years working for the UN. He told Saturday's conference, "The UN is sanctions-happy. The last decade has seen six times the number of sanctions imposed than in the previous 44 years. "I was dismayed that every attempt I made to prepare an assessment of the human condition in Iraq was blocked. The air strikes against Iraq are a clear violation of international law, but I was told I was incompetent to report on this. Sanctions are in the interests of the dominant power in the UN, and must be lifted now."