MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization with special consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, is firmly opposed to attempts by the Bush Administration to secure a United Nations resolution that would effectively sanction the US occupation of Iraq. That is the aim of the US proposal being discussed this week in the Security Council. The United States is hoping to press the United Nations into assuming a larger share of the burden of governing Iraq without yielding any meaningful authority.
Yet it is the United Nations, not the US, that should oversee Iraq’s new governing council and cabinet, set a timetable for the drafting of a new constitution, organize democratic elections and restore Iraqi sovereignty as quickly as possible. Only after the US-UK occupation has ended should the UN return to Iraq. In the meantime, the US and Britain, as the belligerent occupiers, are obligated under the Geneva Convention to pay for the full humanitarian needs of the Iraqi population and to assume the full costs of reconstruction.
MADRE’s Associate Director and Middle East Program Coordinator, Yifat Susskind commented, “Now that the political costs of its illegal invasion and occupation are mounting, the Bush Administration wants to have its cake and eat it, too. It wants others to assume the costs – in lives, dollars and political currency – of the occupation, while it maintains military and political control and continues to dole out billions in reconstruction contracts to cronies at Halliburton and Bechtel.”
When the United States launched its invasion of Iraq last March, it did so in brazen violation of the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter and in disregard of vast international opposition to the attack. At that time, the US arbitrarily claimed the right to dictate the role of the United Nations in Iraq. As Secretary of State Colin Powell said during a press briefing last April, "what we have to work out is how the UN role will be used to provide some level of endorsement for our actions." The new US draft resolution is merely the latest attempt by the Bush Administration to manipulate the United Nations into serving US interests.
MADRE is an international women’s human rights organization that works in partnership with women’s community-based groups in conflict areas worldwide. Our programs address issues of sustainable development, community improvement and women’s health; violence and war; discrimination and racism; self-determination and collective rights; women’s leadership development; and human rights education.