Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Anfal Widows' Sad Fate

April 14, 2006

Zaineb Faris is one of many widows in Iraq, whose husband was taken away from her only three days after their wedding. He was taken away to join the Iraqi army and never came back. Faris is today 34 years old and lives with her family. Her father refuses to let her get remarried and she is not allowed to talk to other men, not even her cousins. The interview she gave was done in secret.

According to Institute for War & Peace Reporting:

“Human rights groups estimate that 182,000 civilians were killed in the Anfal campaign in 1986 to 1989, but most of the victims have never been found. Many of the bodies removed from the mass graves across the country are thought to be Kurds or Shia Arabs - whom Saddam also persecuted - but the process of identifying them has been fraught with problems.”

“As horrific as the Anfal campaign was for victims, the widows must live with its aftermath every day. According to the Germyan human rights directorate, just one local town called Rizgary is home to 700 Anfal widows.”

“According to Islamic law, if a woman's husband disappears she must wait for four years before remarrying to ensure that he will not return. Iraqi legislation states that a woman cannot remarry until her husband's fate is determined.”

“In 1999, the Kurdistan parliament passed a law declaring that those who disappeared during the Anfal operations were officially dead. But the decision was not made public until the fall of Saddam's government three years ago. Most widows said they were not aware of it.”

Click here to read the article.

Of Promised 140 Health Clinics, Only 20 Completed

April 18, 2006

Two years ago the U.S. promised to build health clinics in areas outside the big cities in Iraq where they are badly needed to provide residents, especially children, with the basic care. The expected number of clinics to be built was 140, but recent reports show that only around 20 clinics have been completed.

According to The New York Times editorial page:

“America's good intentions should not be allowed to expire with so pathetically little achieved. America's three years in Iraq have been a cavalcade of squandered opportunities and unanticipated outcomes. Many of those are now, sadly, beyond retrieval. The health clinics are not.”

“Recent decades have been cruel to the children of Iraq, which was a regional leader in health care 30 years ago. Then came Saddam Hussein's diversion of Iraq's wealth into weapons, wars and palaces, 12 years of crushing international sanctions and, finally, the invasion, occupation and insurgency. More children have probably died from lack of clean water and sanitation, malnutrition and lack of health care than from the missile, bomb and rocket attacks of invading armies and insurgent militias.”

“That terrible history cannot be undone. But Iraqi children and their parents can still be helped to overcome some of the enduring health consequences. Let it not be said that thousands more Iraqis died needlessly because America walked away from its promise of health clinics with less than 15 percent of the job done.”

Click here to read the article.


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