HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 c675W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimates she has made of the impact of sanctions on(a) child mortality and (b) child malnourishment in Iraq since 1990. [34958]

Clare Short

The UK Government are not in a position to make reliable estimates of the impact of sanctions on Iraq. However, we take seriously disturbing reports from international humanitarian organisations suggesting that the people of Iraq are suffering deprivation and hardship.

The issue is complex, given the many influences that bear upon the well-being of the population, of which sanctions are one. Numerous attempts have been made, e.g., under the auspices of the UN, to estimate the impact of sanctions on Iraq, but the findings are open to differences of interpretation. In addition, there are practical difficulties. UK missions to Iraq attempt to monitor the situation, but are currently restricted to the north of the country. We do not have independent access to Baghdad-controlled Iraq.