dimanche 3 juin 2007

The Human Cost of Uranium Weapons in Iraq

Felicity Arbuthnot: Depleted Uranium - A Way Out?

Can anything be done to halt the use of these genocidal weapons? Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, thinks so.
He has launched a campaign for a global pact against uranium weapons. Boyle points out that the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits: "the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices". Clearly he says, DU is "analogous" to poison gas.
The Government of France is the official depository for the 1925 Geneva Protocol.
Boyle contends that rather than aiming for an international treaty prohibiting the use of DU, which would probably take years, pressure should be put on every state to submit a letter to the French government to enforce a ban.
"All that needs to be done is for anti-DU citizens, activists and NGO's in every country to pressure their Foreign Minister to write to their French counterpart, drawing attention to the "Protocol for the Prohibition of the use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare", of 17th June 1925, prohibiting uses as above.

The letter should add that this Protocol is believed to: "already prohibit the use in war of depleted uranium ammunition, uranium armour plate and all other uranium weapons".
A request should be made that the letter is circulated to all other High Contracting Parties to the 1925 Protocol and addressed to:
His Excellency,
The Foreign Minister,
Republic of France,
37, Quai d'Orsay,
75351 Paris,
Or Fax: 33-1-43-17-4275
Professor Boyle points out that: "As the Land Mines Treaty demonstrates, it is possible for a coalition of determined activists and NGO's, acting in concert with at least one sympathetic state, to bring into being an international treaty to address humanitarian concerns."

Such a sympathetic state exists: Belgium outlawed uranium weapons.

If the rest of the world does not follow, what will happen is what Richard Bramhill calls "a DU-locaust" - of the children of the countries where these weapons have been used, of soldiers, of the uranium miners and of the munitions workers, as the living, dead and deformed prove.
Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger's award-winning documentary:"Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq". http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partID=4and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of "Baghdad" in the "Great Cities" series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)

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