By Amjad Baker
Hundreds of protestors staged a sit-in outside the United Nations office in Amman Sunday, calling on the international organization to lift its unjust embargo on Iraq.
The protestors held banners calling for the international community to take responsibility for the sanction-hit Iraqis and delivered a message addressed to UN secretary general Kofi Anan signed by the Jordanian Committee for the Support of Iraq.
The message condemned the embargo and criticized the UN for "ignoring the human catastrophe that the Iraqi people are going through because of the embargo."
The protest group included members of the Iraq support committee, political parties, professional associations and women's groups.
Coffins were carried as a symbol of the embargo's victims who now number 1,800,000 according to Saleh Armouti, head of Jordan's Bar Association, who cited UN statistics.
In a statement to Albawaba.com, Armouti denounced "Arab silence over the plight of the Iraqi people, and their failure to take a united stand in the face of the US violations. It is this silence that has led to such large number of victims. "
For his part, Yacoub Zayadin, secretary general of the Jordanian Communist Party, said he was "astonished at the "Arab states' helplessness to break through the unjustified and unfair embargo."
Member of the Iraq support committee, Mohammad Hourani, said that all the Arab people, governments, institutions should work hard to ensure the lifting of the embargo which he considers harmful to all the Arab nation in the first place.
On moves taken by the Jordanian parliament towards this end, Lower House member Nashaat Hamarneh said "there is a unanimous agreement in the parliament that an end should be brought to the sanctions."
When asked whether he expects Jordan to break the air embargo imposed on Iraq, Hamarneh said, "we have called on the government to end the air embargo, or at least not to block attempts by the civil society institutions to hire a private plane and take off from Amman airport to Baghdad airport in protest of the illegitimate air embargo."
Another protest against the embargo began in Baghdad Sunday, where four US activists have started a three-day fast outside the UN offices, said the AFP.
Sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait, and are reviewed by the UN Security Council every six months. Lifting the embargo is dependent upon Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions, which call for total disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraq insists it has already destroyed these weapons.
Iraq can buy essential materials through the Oil-for-Food UN program under the supervision of the international body - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )