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McKinney Helps Iraqi Child get Visa for Desperate Medical Help

August 9, 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, recently helped an Iraqi child, who has been in desperate need of medical attention, to receive a temporary visa from the US Ambassador in Jordan.

Six year old Mariam Hamza suffers from Acute Lymphatic Leukemia and blindness and is now able to travel to the US for vital medical tests. The US Embassy also waived the visa fees for Mariam and her grandmother. She will now be tested and cared for at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Mariam's 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 in Iraq."

The lack of adequate medical services and supplies is a direct result of the economic sanctions still held against Iraq by the United Nations. In a previous statement, McKinney said, "Children everywhere deserve adequate health care and a chance to grow up safe."

Concerning today's development, McKinney stated, "I am happy that Mariam will now be able to get proper medical attention, despite the UN sanctions that victimize the poor and needy rather than punish the brutal dictatorship of Hussein ."

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