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McKinney Supports Protestors Against Iraqi Sanctions

August 16, 2000

Washington - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), a member of the International Relations Committee and Ranking Member of the International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee, commends the young people in Los Angeles who held a protest Tuesday to save Iraqi children.

The "Save the Iraqi Children Coalition" held a rally at Staples Center, site of the Democratic National Convention, to protest continued UN-led sanctions against Iraq. Coffins with pictures of Iraqi Children who have died as a result of the sanctions littered the area in front of Staples Center.

"The young people at the rally on Tuesday have a better idea of what is needed in Iraq than the doubletalking bureaucrats at the UN." said McKinney. In a press release just last week, McKinney said, "These US-led sanctions hit the weakest of Iraqi society and victimize them yet again for being powerless and poor. This is certainly no way to effect change in the regime, but rather to prolong its life--as we have amply seen."

Because of the lack of medical supplies and equipment, the sanctions have caused the death of over 500,000 children while many more await inevitable suffering and death. One such little girl was recently granted a visa to visit the US for medical testing and treatment recently.

Six year old Mariam Hamza suffers from Acute Lymphatic Leukemia and blindness and has not been able to receive the proper medical attention in her home of Iraq. Thanks to McKinney's intervention with the US Embassy in Jordan, little Mariam will now be tested and cared for at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her bills, food, and lodging will be taken care of by private donors, including local doctors.

In her original letter to the embassy, McKinney stated, "The child has endured much suffering and it would be a significant humanitarian gesture on the part of our nation to allow her to come to the US for urgent and necessary medical care not available to her."

Sadly, Mariam is only one out of thousands of children in Iraq who has suffered because of the sanctions. "The Marchers on Tuesday did a great job of bringing attention to the thousands of children in need in Iraq. For this, their cause should be embraced by anyone with a soul or a conscience." McKinney concluded.

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