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BBC's Mike Donkin
"They are badly educated because schools have few ancient books"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Iraq sanctions condemned
Iraqi mothers crying in front of UN building in Iraq
Iraqi mothers protest against sanctions
Sanctions against Iraq have condemned the country's children to a life of poverty, disease and insecurity, says international aid agency Save the Children.

Peter Maxwell, the charity's programme director in northern Iraq, said malnutrition and child mortality levels were slowly improving in the UN-administered north but worsening in central and southern areas controlled by the government.

The report was released ahead of the 10th anniversary of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, which led to the imposition of UN sanctions.

Baghdad children's hospital
Lack of medical supplies is affecting the health of children
"Significant numbers of children are very disadvantaged - girls tend not to be educated from the age of 14 onwards, disabled children tend to be marginalised, rural children tend not to get a look at a decent education." Mr Maxwell said.

Save the Children and the Church of England say their work on the ground in Iraq has convinced them that the negative effects of UN sanctions outweigh any political gains that might be claimed.

Under the sanctions regime, Iraq is allowed Bagdad to sell limited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies.

The Church of England said special efforts should be made to help the children of Iraq to stop them growing up to hate the rest of the world.

But it also criticised Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Target Saddam

Church aid spokesman Dr Charles Reed, who has just returned from Iraq, described the Iraqi leader as a ruthless dictator.

Both parties called on the international community to stop the sanctions and find ways to target the ruling elite.

Iraq says the sanctions are killing thousands of children and have called for an immediate end to them.

According to the UN children's charity, UNICEF, about half a million children under the age of five have died in Iraq since the sanctions were imposed.

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See also:

25 Jul 00 | Middle East
Call to indict Iraqi 'war criminals'
04 Jun 00 | Middle East
Ex-Unscom chief attacks sanctions
14 Feb 00 | Middle East
'Lost generation' faces bleak future
17 Feb 00 | Middle East
US congressmen criticise Iraqi sanctions
08 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iraq sanctions 'a tragedy'
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