Society for Austro-Arab Relations (

Depleted-Uranium-Petition to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO)

deutsch/german Version

We, the undersigned, represent an international group of physicians, organizations and individuals who are deeply concerned about the health conditions in Iraq. We are especially concerned about the constant increase in the incidence of cancer, particularly leukemia.

According to UNICEF publications 5000 to 6000 Iraqi children die every month due to conditions related to the economic sanctions - malnutrition, lack of medicines and the effects of contaminated water. Due to the deteriorated health system in Iraq, children affected by leukemia cannot be treated sufficiently. While childhood leukemia is often curable in other parts of the world it is a death sentence for Iraqi children.

For several years Iraqi doctors have published alarming figures about the rising frequency of cancer and leukemia in children and adults. Furthermore, they report increasing rates of congenital malformations. In the area of Basra the number of children suffering from leukemia has risen five- to sixfold. We don‘t know the reasons for these increases. A scientific investigation into the causes is missing. WHO has repeatedly announced that they will send a delegation to southern Iraq to conduct a long-term epidemiological study investigating the high incidence of malignancies in this area. This delegation has not managed to commence its work. We cannot understand the delay in this study as it is the duty of the WHO not to disregard the urgent calls for help from Iraqi doctors.

As physicians it is our duty to consider the concerns of our Iraqi colleagues as serious ones and to help them have a voice in the international community. Due to more than eleven years of economic sanctions, Iraqi doctors are working under extremely difficult conditions and are isolated from scientific exchange and progress. As physicians it is our duty to insist on an investigation into the unknown causes of the dramatic increase in cancer, notably leukemia, in Iraq. As physicians we are responsible to question whether the environment in Iraq got severely damaged and such damage possibly constitutes the origin of the increase in cancer and the rise in congenital malformations. Moreover we feel responsible to help avoid further damage to the environment.

We appeal to the United Nations and the WHO to immediately send a delegation to Iraq to investigate the changing pattern of cancers since the Gulf War and to clarify the sources of high cancer incidence and rising frequency of congenital malformations, especially in Southern Iraq.

With this appeal we refer to the constitution of the WHO, which states: "The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition." This fundamental right also includes the prevention of diseases and this cannot be carried out without serious research into the causes. Our duty and our aim is to do our utmost to prevent future generations from suffering avoidable diseases and pain. The speechless suffering of Iraqi children demands our attention and our support.

If you support above petition please sign online on the homepage of the "Society for Austro-Arab Relations" :

or send the following Information to the adress above.

Please return preferably by e-mail to:

Society for Austro-Arab Relations,
A-1150 Vienna,
Stutterheimstrasse 16-18/2/5
Austria, Europe

Phone: +43-1-526 78 10,
Fax: +43-1-526 77 95