By Richard Shaw THE OFFICIAL aid agency of the bishops of England and Wales has called for the suspension of the comprehensive sanctions against Iraq.
Members of Cafod spent five days in Iraq on a factfinding tour. The results of their visit have been collated in a report entitled A People Sacrificed– Sanctions Against Iraq, which is published across Europe this week.
Julian Filochowski, Director of Cafod, who represented the UK on the international delegation called the sanctions, "humanly catastrophic, morally indefensible and politically ineffective".
He said: "Some will accuse us of being apologists for the Iraqi regime – we are not. But we are proud to be apologists for the Iraqi people."
According to Cafod, the report reveals "the suffering of a once prosperous nation which is being systematically de-developed, de-skilled and reduced to penury as a result of sanctions imposed 10 years ago".
The research team were guests of the Catholic social welfare agency in Iraq, whose hospitals, nutritional centres and water facilities they visited. They met the poorest people, whose "immeasurable human suffering" the report describes.