The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a wide range of specific
rights and protection measures to protect children worldwide. It is also the most
ratified international human rights treaty ever. It strictly prohibits the abuse
and torture of children. In most Western countries, including the US, the abuse
of children is a criminal offensive. However, this is not the case when the crimes
are committed against Iraqi children by Western forces. It is part of the destructive
policy brought into Iraq by the US Occupation of the country.
Contrary to Western politicians, Western media and Western "progressives"
who welcomed the illegal war of aggression against Iraq, the plight of Iraqi
children under Occupation is worsening. On all levels – human rights abuse,
healthcare, medical, educational, and psychological – the Iraqi children
are enduring immense hardship and suffering. It is a cover-up of crimes against
A recent investigation by Neil Mackay of the Sunday Herald, (01/08/05) has
revealed that US-British forces are holding more than 100 children in jails
such as Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca in the south. Witnesses claim that the detainees
– some as young as 10 – are also being subjected to rape and torture.
The investigation is based on classified UNICEF report written in June titled
Children in Conflict with the Law or With Coalition Forces and on reports from
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Many Iraqi children were
detained indefinitely detaining some children without access to their family
or to lawyers.
The UNICEF report has not been released, because UNICEF is no longer in the
humanitarian business of criticising US power and its criminal practices of
torture. UNICEF current Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, a member of the Bush
cabal and former US secretary of Agriculture, is not likely to offend the Bush
administration by releasing the report.
The Sunday Herald noted that a section of the report reads: ‘Information
on the number, age, gender and conditions of incarceration is limited. In Basra
and Karbala children arrested for alleged activities targeting the occupying
forces are reported to be routinely transferred to an internee facility in Um
Qasr. The categorisation of these children as ‘internees’ is worrying
since it implies indefinite holding without contact with family, expectation
of trial or due process’. Um Qasr is a port city on Iraq’s southern
border and isolated from the other centres. Further, Reports from Iraq accuse
the US Marines of kidnapping children and hold them as hostages.
The ICRC reports that there are 107 children in six US-run prisons, but did
not provide any further information. At Abu Ghraib prison, where the US practices
the use of torture, "boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And
the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your
government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out", said
investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker.
Indeed, with the exception of Seymour Hersh’s investigation in May 2004,
crimes of sexual violence, rape and torture by US forces against Iraqi men,
women and children are continue to be unreported and remain secret from the
public. The U.S. administration blamed the crimes on a few black sheep and closed
the door. Of course this is not true. The policy of torture is part of a secret
interrogations program and comes directly from the top of US military, with
direct approval of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the White House.
Unfortunately there has been no public outrage in the US or in Europe to condemn
these appalling practices against Iraqi men, women and children. This silence
and ignorance by Western public have contributed to the normalisation of abuse
The Bush administration have normalised the use of torture by violating the
rules of law, and human rights and decency. According to Karen Greenberg, director
of the Centre on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law,
editor of ‘The Torture Papers’, the U.S. government is guilty of
a ‘systematic decision to alter the use of methods of coercion and torture
that lay outside of accepted and legal norms". Sanford Levinson, a professor
of constitutional law at the University of Texas Law School, condemned the Bush
administration justice for having the power "too close" to that of
Advocates of torture and abuse of human rights are not difficult to find, especially
among Western elites. Obscure academics used Bush’s "war on terror"
and the illegal war on Iraq to make their names known. In Australia, one of
the new breed of "experts" on terrorism is a certain law professor
and a former police officer by the name of Mirko Bagaric. Professor Bagaric
twists and turns his case for torture use against presumed to be guilty individuals
to ‘extract information’. However, professor Bagaric provides no
prove or evidence on the reliability of information extracted by their practice
of torture and abuse of human rights. "The recently published views of
the Deakin University academics have not formed in a vacuum. A disregard for
human rights is being encouraged at the highest levels", wrote journalist
Bob Briton in the weekly Australian, The Guardian. With these kinds of "experts"
the chances of a just world based on the rules of law is getting bleak.
The support for torture among Westerners reflects the denial of the educated
classes and the "progressives" that the US is deeply involved in the
gravest of international crimes. The deliberate use of torture and the intention
to inflict harm and pain on helpless and defenceless children is illegal, morally
wrong and counterproductive. The Bush administration policy of torture which
is in use on Iraqi men, women and children has proved to be ineffective and
sadistic criminal practices.
It is reported that Norway and Denmark, two members of the insignificant "coalition
of the willing" have protested against the abuse and torture of Iraqi children.
If the Norwegian and Danish governments are serious about respecting the rights
of the Iraqi children, they should withdraw their troops from Iraq and stop
participating in war crimes against the Iraqi children.
The healthcare situation for children in Iraq is very serious. According to
a 2002 UNICEF survey, the rates of acute malnutrition among children younger
than 5 in Iraq have fallen to (4 per cent) the lowest level since they peaked
in 1996, at the highest of the genocidal sanctions. However, two years of US
occupation, it shot up to 7.7 per cent in November 2004, according to a study
conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for
Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new study
reveals that roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting",
a condition characterized by chronic diarrhoea and dangerous deficiencies of
protein. Malnutrition appeared in Iraq for the first time in the early 1990s,
as a result of the UN genocidal sanction forced by the US and Britain against
the Iraqi people. The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across
the country as a result of US Occupation.
The Anglo-American war on Iraq since 1991 and the violent policy implemented
against the Iraqi children were deliberately designed to destroy Iraq as a nation.
On May 12, 1996, Madeline Albright, the former US ambassador to the United Nations,
told Lesley Stahl of CBS news program 60 Minutes, when asked to comment on the
death of half a million Iraqi children. Albright replied without hesitation:
"We think the price is worth it". In addition, the US and Britain
have refused to lift the sanctions under any circumstances despite known the
full scale of a deliberate atrocity. A generation of Iraqi children is lost.
Today, Iraqi children are enduring immense hardship and suffering never before.
Report after report by the UN and aid agencies have revealed the scale of the
human tragedy orchestrated by US-Britain policy toward Iraq, and particularly
the Iraqi children. The tragedy was covered-up by the demonisation of Saddam
Hussein in Western media in a deliberate move to silence the Iraqi children’s
cries. "We find record of not a single significant demonstration protesting
the wholesale destruction of Iraqi children", wrote Professor Ward Churchill
of the University of Colorado.
In the Arab World, there were no dissenting voices to protest the slaughter
of Iraqi children, but long trends of Arab passivity and self-defence bankruptcy.
Indeed, the Arab stooges (rulers) benefited immensely from the war and sanctions
against the Iraqi people. They are equally complicit in war crimes against Iraq’s
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on March 1996 that; "Since
the onset of sanctions, there has been a six-fold increase in the mortality
rate for children under five, and the majority of the country's population has
been on a semi-starvation diet". Denis Halliday, UN assistant secretary
general and humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that sanctions are "undermining
the moral credibility of the UN" and their continuation is "in contradiction
to the human rights provisions in the UN's own Charter".
In October 1996, UNICEF reported that "4,500 children under the age of
5 are dying each month from hunger and disease…The situation is disastrous
for children. Many are living on the very margin of survival". The figure
means the death of an Iraqi child every 10 minutes as a result of the US-Britain
imposed sanctions. Philippe Heffnick of UNICEF, said; "What we are seeing
is a dramatic deterioration in the nutritional well-being of Iraqi children
since 1991… It is clear that the children are bearing the brunt of the
current economic hardship". "They must be protected from the impact
of the sanctions. Otherwise, they will continue to suffer and that we cannot
accept", added Mr. Heffnick.
A recent United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) report, found the majority
of the Iraqi population lack the required daily calories to survive and remain
healthy. Iraqi living condition has worsened, and many Iraqis admit openly that
life before the occupation was much better and safer. An estimated 25 percent
of Iraqi babies are born with low birth weights and the WHO warned that many
of these children will lag in their physical or mental development, leading
to long-term health problems.
According to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study conducted in
2004, infant mortality and malnutrition findings show clearly that, '"the
suffering of children due to war and conflict in Iraq is not limited to those
directly wounded or killed by military activities", says the UN ILCS study.
With children under the age of 15 make up 39 per cent of the country’s
total population of 27 million, the ILCS study notes that, "Most Iraqi
children today have lived their whole lives under sanctions and war". In
other words, most Iraqi children today have lived their lives in constant fear
of U.S-British sponsored terrorism against children.
The "current major problems" includes "lack of health personnel,
lack of medicines, non-functioning medical equipments and destroyed hospitals
and health centres", the ILCS study reveals. It is a U.S-made and a U.S-accelerated
And as a consequence of the US war, "[h]undreds of thousands of children
born since the beginning of the present war have had none of their required
vaccinations, and routine immunization services in major areas of the country
are all but disrupted. Destruction of refrigeration systems needed to store
vaccines have rendered the vaccine supply virtually useless", writes Dr.
César Chelala, an international public health consultant. "Even
antibiotics of minimal cost are in short supply, increasing the population's
risk of dying from common infections. Hospitals are overcrowded, and many hospitals
go dark at night for lack of lighting fixtures. The Iraqi minister of health
claims that 100 percent of the hospitals in Iraq need rehabilitation",
noted César Chelala.
Iraq’s education system, one of the best in the Arab World before the
war, has also deteriorated by both the sanctions and the war. Again, Iraqi children
are hard hit under Occupation. The literacy rate among Iraqi children between
the ages of 15 and 24 is just 74 per cent, which is according to the study is
only "slightly higher than the literacy rate for the population at large".
The figure is lower than that for those 25-34, "indicating that the younger
generation lags behind its predecessors on educational performance". According
to UNICEF, almost 1 in 4 children has no access to education under the Occupation.
The effects of "the sanctions policy not only reversed previous educational
achievements but rendered the Iraqi education system unable to serve the population.
The impact of the sanctions will affect future generations of school children
and university students", writes Agustin De Santisteban, a Comparative
Education specialist with the Faculty of Education at UNED in Madrid.
The highly publicised US propaganda of Iraq’s ‘reconstruction’
proved to be the complete and deliberate destruction of Iraqi education system.
The best example is found in the de-development of Iraq’s school curriculum,
on of the best in the region. Iraq’s school curriculum has been replaced
by US-crafted curriculum in order to brainwash Iraqi children in the same way
as American children are brainwashed.
A large number of Iraqi academics, scientists, doctors, engineers, pharmacologists,
officers, and lawyers have been murdered or forced to flee the country. Others
are being imprisoned without charges. Iraq is not being constructed; it is suffering
from a massive brain drain.
On 30 March 2004, Al-jazeera reported: "More than 1000 leading Iraqi professionals
and intellectuals have been assassinated since last April, among them such prominent
figures as Dr Muhammad al-Rawi, the president of Baghdad University". The
deliberate destruction of Iraq’s human resources designed to create a
dependent and subordinate colonial dictatorship to serve US interests and US-Zionist
The nation infrastructure – the country's service networks, like electricity
grids, communications, bridges, irrigation, transport, sewage treatment systems
and water purification plants – built up by the previous regime was largely
destroyed by the US-British indiscriminate terror’s bombing began in 1991.
The destruction was intentional in order to destroy Iraq’s economy and
increase the suffering of the Iraqi people. Indeed, all targets were selected
to amplify the economic and psychological impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi
society for many years to come.
Even after the Anglo-American troops leave Iraq, Iraqi children will continue
to suffer. Unexploded cluster bombs, originally dropped by US-British troops
on populated areas, continue killing and maiming children, farm animals, and
wildlife-any living thing that touches them by accident. The bomblets are deliberately
made to look like playing things - yellow bright and look like beer cans –
to attract children. Thousands of children have been killed by dormant bomblets
in Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Under Article 85 of the Geneva Conventions, it is a war crime to launch "an
indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population in the knowledge that
such an attack will cause an excessive loss of life or injury to civilians."
Under the Hague Conventions, Article 22 and 23, ‘The right of belligerents
to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited", and "It is
especially forbidden to kill treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile
nation or army". However, British officials, including Geoff Hoon, the
British defence secretary and Adam Ingram, British Armed Forces Minister justified
the use of cluster bombs, on military grounds, saying that: "Cluster bombs
are not illegal. They are effective weapons. They are used in specific circumstances
where there is a threat to our troops". The truth is; cluster bombs are
used often on heavily populated areas.
According to Asia Times (10 April 2004), after US (B52s) planes dropped their
cluster bombs load, "[a]ll over Baghdad, the city's five main hospitals
simply cannot cope with an avalanche of civilian casualties. Doctors can't get
to the hospitals because of the bombing. Dr. Osama Saleh Al-Dulaimi at the al-Kindi
hospital confirms the absolute majority of patients are women and children,
victims of...shrapnel and most of all, fragments of cluster bombs. ‘They
are all civilians’, he said. ‘The International Committee of the
Red Cross is in a state of almost desperation...casualties arriving at hospitals
at a rate of as many as 100 per hour and at least 100 per day’".
In Hilla south of Baghdad, Reuters reported scenes of children with no limbs
and babies cut in half. The majority of the 348 who were killed or wounded by
the bombs were women and children.
The use of ‘Depleted’ Uranium (DU) is another scourge of the Anglo-American
war on Iraq. The long term implications of DU on Iraqi children have been documented.
DU is a potent radioactive carcinogen and once absorbed by the body, DU can
cause cancer in the bones, lungs or kidneys. At high risks are Iraqi children
and pregnant women. The rate of Iraqi children developing cancer and born with
cancer is significantly high.
Furthermore, the majority of the 100,000 Iraqis killed (conservative estimate)
by US-British forces were women and children, reported the reputed and peer-reviewed
British medical journal, The Lancet in November 2004. The Iraqiyun Humanitarian
Organization (IHO) in Baghdad estimated that 55 per cent of the at least 128,000
Iraqis killed have been women and children aged 12 and under. It is just non-Western
lives do not count in the West. Thousands of Iraqi children have lost one or
both parents and as a result Iraq is awash with orphaned and homeless children.
The war was an illegal act of aggression in contravention of UN Charter and
international law. The normalisation of this big atrocity by Western media is
shameful and lacks any moral principle. The torture and killing of innocent
Iraqi civilians and the deliberate destruction of Iraqi children can not be
justified by countless lies and deception. It is terrorism, not ‘fight
Contrary to Bush-Blair allegations, Iraq had no link to "terrorism"
or to the 9/11 attacks on the US. Bush’s own 9/11 Commission found there
was no link between Saddam and 9/11. Iraq is not a place for "terrorists",
as Mr Bush is alleging. From an Iraqi perspective, the "terrorists"
in Iraq are US soldiers and mercenaries from Britain, Italy, Australia, South
Korea and Japan, etc. Mr Bush is fabricating another lie to justify the ongoing
occupation of Iraq. The Iraqi people have legitimate right to resist foreign
occupation and liberate their country. It is clearly stated that: "International
law grants a people fighting an illegal occupation the right to use ‘all
necessary means at their disposal’ to end their occupation and the occupied
"are entitled to seek and receive support" in order to resist the
occupiers. The Bush-Blair ongoing policy of violence against Iraq is not only
endangering the lives of Iraqis, but also the lives of Americans and Britons.
Since 1991, the US and Britain embarked on a vicious policy of dividing Iraq
in the same way the colonial Britain divided the Arab Peninsular (into protectorates)
and ruled behind a façade of corrupt local gendarmes, kings and emirs.
Every step in the war and Occupation was deliberately designed to destroy the
Iraqi civil society and provoke divisions and civil strife among Iraqis.
The Occupation is sowing the seeds for divisions among Iraqis. In order to continue
the Occupation and steal Iraq’s wealth and oil resources, the US is deliberately
orchestrating civil strife. The aim is an imperialist one, the creation of colonial
dictatorship to serve US-Israel interests.
The US-created Iraqi "army" and "police" force are ethnic-based
militias. They constitute the Mossad-trained Kurdish Peshmerga militia, the
Iranian-trained Badr Brigade, and the Chelabi and Allawi thugs. Their loyalties
are to their parties and the Occupation, not to the Iraqi people. They are responsible
for widespread of crimes and fear among the Iraqi population. The bulk of the
violence is directed against Iraqis who appose the Occupation and US imperial
There is no "democracy" or "freedom" in Iraq. There is no
independent government; Iraq is occupied by 200,000 US troops and mercenaries.
The current "government" in Iraq is a farce installed by fraudulent
elections. This puppet government has betrayed the Iraqi people by failing to
ask the occupiers to leave Iraq, and to provide the minimal security to protect
the Iraqi people. Its presence and obsequious to the occupying forces shame
The majority of Iraqis are against the Occupation and its policies of privatization
and looting of Iraq’s resources and Iraq’s economy. The majority
of Iraqis blame the presence of US forces for the continuing violence and mayhem.
The majority of Iraqis oppose to the US-promoted division and "federalism"
In flagrant violations of UN Conventions and international law, the US-Britain
war on Iraq has wrought nothing to Iraqis but destruction, a culture of corruption,
sectarianism, murder and mayhem. The most vulnerable people of the Iraqi society,
women and children are the largest victim of this atrocity. UNICEF has an obligation
to the world community to release the report and uncover US crimes against Iraqi
The Occupation is destroying the lives of Iraqi children and increasing the
suffering of the Iraqi people. The best peaceful solution for Iraq and for the
world is the immediate and full withdrawal of the Anglo-American armies from
Iraq. It is immoral to think otherwise.