rn:VitW – Iraq protest success & PLEA


Jan Slakov

From: "Voices in the Wilderness" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Third U.N. official in Iraq to resign in protest!
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 17:00:09 -0600

Hello Friends--

By now, most of you may have heard about the great success of yesterday's
demonstration at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.  Between 250-300
attended the demonstration and 86 were arrested and reporters from Time
magazine, CNN, AP, Fox, ABC, and UPI were on hand to cover the events.
Below you'll find links to the media coverage. 

Many of the reports of the protest piggy-backed news that the top United
Nations official in Iraq, Hans Von Sponeck, decided to resign.  Mr. von
Sponeck is the second Humanitarian Cordinator in Iraq to resign in protest
of the sanctions (Denis Halliday was the first).

Now we have gotten word that Jutta Burghardt, the head of the U.N.'s World
Food Program in Iraq has just resigned her post, also in protest.

We are asking.....actually, begging you to take this rare and important
opportunity to write and call your local newspaper editors or any reporters
you think would write an article or op-ed about this story.  Give them our
office number (773-784-8065) and we can supply updated information on the
resignations. Links to the AP and Reuters reports on the resignations are
also listed below.

Please help us assure that this story is not ignored.  Grass roots efforts
helped publicize Dennis Halliday's resignation and enabled him to speak out
against the sanctions across the US and Europe.  We're not sure how much
speaking Mr. von Sponeck and Dr. Burghardt will be prepared to undertake,
but it seems wise to encourage US Congresspeople to seek hearings and invite
testimony from each of these courageous diplomats.

Should you find that the links below aren't helpful, let us know and we'll
send you the actual text of these any documents you can use.  Let us know
also what successes you have.  

Thank you and Good luck!

Jeff Guntzel and Kathy Kelly, for Voices in the Wilderness


AP coverage of Monday's protests at the UN and von Sponeck's resognation:

AP report on Hans von Sponeck from 1-13-99:

Backround on Hans von Sponeck from our website:

AP on the resignation of Jutta Burghardt of the WFP:

Reuters on the Resignation of Jutta Burghardt of the WFP:
Date:   Tue, 15 Feb 2000 14:36:57 -0330 (NST)
To: •••@••.•••
From: jan m <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Von Sponek to leave post as humanitarian coordinator
forwarded message  ------>

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 08:25:20 -0500
From: Bill Thomson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Von Sponek to leave post as humanitarian coordinator


Voices in the Wilderness: 202-258-4958   (cell phone)
Fellowship of Reconciliation:  914-358-4601

U.N. official critical of Iraqi sanctions may leave job in April

February 11, 2000

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- The senior U.N. humanitarian coordinator in
Baghdad, who has run afoul of the United States and Britain, is expected to
leave his post in early April, sources at the United Nations said on Friday.

Hans von Sponeck, a German career U.N. official, has recently spoken out
more forcefully against 9-year-old sanctions imposed against Iraq and said
the U.N. oil-for-food program he heads was not meeting minimum requirements
to ease the impact of the embargoes.

He will return to New York for consultations at the end of March and then
go back to Baghdad briefly before leaving his post, the sources said.  U.N.
spokesman John Mills refused to comment but said the New York visit had
been scheduled as early as last November.

Asked about von Sponeck's expected departure, U.S. State Department
spokesman James Rubin said: "Good."

"I think an article in the Iraqi press praising his approach to his work is
ample evidence of his unsuitability of this post," Rubin said.

"His job is to work on behalf of Iraqi people and not the regime and we
look  forward to an able manager who will maximize the benefits of the
oil-for-food programme," he added.

On Friday, the Iraqi newspaper, al-Tharwa, said von Sponeck's analysis  was
based on facts and figures. "He did not publish personal viewpoints
irrelevant to his job when he talked about the deterioration of the health
or food situation in Iraq," it said.

Von Sponeck, was appointed to the post on Oct. 26, 1998, the fifth
humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad for the programme that allows Baghdad
to sell oil and purchase food, medicine and other goods under tight

In November, Secretary-General Kofi Annan extended his term to April 25
rather than for a year as some expected but he refused to release him
immediately as Washington had wanted.

Von Sponeck had been told at the time to curb his public statements. But he
resumed interviews with German and U.S. media this month, an indication he
planned to leave his job.

His predecessor, Denis Halliday of Ireland, voiced similar criticism about
the impoverishment of ordinary Iraqis while the leadership grew rich under
the U.N. sanctions, imposed in August 1990 when Baghdad's troops invaded

U.S. officials last year accused von Sponeck of siding with Iraq in a
propaganda battle over who is to blame for the suffering of the Iraqi
people:  the West, for imposing harsh economic sanctions, or Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, for failing to comply with terms for lifting
those sanctions.

Von Sponeck had also complained that the oil-for-food programme suffered
because of the holds placed on Iraqi imports.

The United States has frozen 1,000 contracts, a situation criticized by
nearly all U.N. officials and diplomats. Britain runs a low second with
about 120 contracts on hold.


William J. (Bill) Thomson, Ph.D.

* •••@••.•••
* List serve for Student Committee of the Iraq Action Coalition.
* To subscribe, send this message:   subscribe stu-cmte-iac
* to this address:                   •••@••.•••
* To unsubscribe, send this message: unsubscribe stu-cmte-iac
* to this address:                   •••@••.•••
* Visit our website:                 http://iraqaction.org/students.html
* Send for your campus start up kit
* by sending a message to:           •••@••.•••