For immediate release: 27 March 2003

CND is extremely concerned at the prospect of a humanitarian disaster in Basra and the rest of Iraq. Most of Basra’s 1.2 million residents have been without piped water since Friday and are living in temperatures of over 100F (38C) leading to the outbreak of deadly diseases. CND is gathering evidence on the conduct of this war and if it is shown that the water and electricity supplies were deliberately destroyed, it will be a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). CND together with a coalition of international lawyers and NGOs will then take steps to hold Blair, Hoon and Straw before the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.

The most vulnerable in society are most at risk – children, the elderly and the sick and some locals are drinking from the polluted Euphrates River which has untreated sewage where aid agencies fear the spread of diseases such as dysentery and cholera.

About 13 million people – 60% of Iraq’s 22 million population are completely dependent on food handouts. Having destroyed Basra’s water and power supplies, cut off food supply routes and having failed to crack its human defences, the ‘coalition of the willing’ are now preparing to lay siege to Iraq’s second city which is more than 40 per cent children.

John Pilger said yesterday “You are not being shown children scalped by shrapnel, with legs reduced to bloody pieces of string. Such images are “not acceptable”, because they will disturb viewers – and the authorities do not want that. These “unseen” images are the truth. Iraqi parents have to look at their mutilated children, so why shouldn’t those of us, in whose name they were slaughtered, see what they see? Other wars were sanitised, allowing them to be repeated.”

CND is opposed to this war precisely because of the untold suffering being inflicted on innocent people. Carol Naughton Chair of CND stated “The saturation of war reporting has led people to believe the anti-war movement no longer exists – attempting to weaken peoples opposition to this illegal, illogical and immoral war. CND is campaigning at International, National and local level on various fronts to stop the war and to hold the British government to account.”

The next demonstration on Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 April is ‘Reclaim the Bases’ Weekend – a weekend of protest, non-violent action and civil disobedience at military bases throughout the UK, supported by CND. Demos will be taking place on Saturday at Fylingdales, Devonport, RAF Stafford, Portsmouth and on Sunday at St. Athans (Glamorgan), Fairford and Northwood.

Contact Ben Miller at CND Press Office on 07968 420859 or Carol Naughton Chairperson on 07736 698702