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Ambassador Gunter Pleuger

President of the Security Council


German Mission to the United Nations

4 February 2003

A Letter from Concerned International Non-Governmental Organisations Regarding


the Humanitarian Consequences Of War In Iraq

Dear Ambassador Pleuger,

The public meeting of the Security Council on 27 January made no reference to the
humanitarian vulnerability of millions of Iraqi civilians. As international non-
governmental organisations responding globally to human need, some of us
particularly focused on the plight of children, we are deeply concerned that the
Council is consistently overlooking the grave humanitarian consequences of potential
military intervention on civilians. Internal UN and NGO planning scenarios
demonstrate conclusively that the children of Iraq in particular are much more
vulnerable to war today than they were in 1991.

In Resolution 1460 of 2003, the Council recently requested "...the Secretary-General


to ensure that in all his reports to the Security Council on country-specific situations,
the protection of children in armed conflict is included as a specific aspect of the
report" and expressed its "commitment to address the widespread impact of armed
conflict on children." Today, the almost total dependence of Iraqi civilians on
government food rations makes them extremely vulnerable to military action.

On 6 November 2002, the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict sent a letter to
all members of the Security Council urging them to consider the urgent humanitarian
situation of children in Iraq. The Secretary-General's 26 November 2002 report to the
Council (S/2002/1300) on civilian protection, the 10 December 2002 statement of the
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs on protection, and the Council's
aide-memoire of 15 March 2002 (S/PRST/2002/6), all substantiate the commitment
of member states and the UN Secretariat to protect civilians in armed conflict.

Iraq's people are already enduring a humanitarian crisis. Their extreme vulnerability,
particularly among children and women, must be part of the Council's deliberations in
the coming days and weeks. The undersigned organisations therefore urge the
president of the Security Council to request from the Secretary-General a
humanitarian briefing on the current and potential situation of children and other
civilians in Iraq, if possible, before 14 February.

Signed,

CARE International Quaker UN Office New York


Fellowship of Reconciliation Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
Mennonite Central Committee Women's Commission for Refugee
Norwegian Refugee Council Women and Children
Oxfam International World Vision International

Cc: Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Under-Secretary-General Olara Otunnu, Under-


Secretary-General Oshima, Under-Secretary-General Prendergast