Stop the War on Iraq!

International People’s Health Council

ALAMES – Asociacion Latinoamericana de Medicina Social

Joint statement by the organizers of the HEALTH FORUM (2nd International Forum for the Advocacy of People’s Health as an Essential Human Need)
Porto Alegre, Brazil: 25th January 2003

STOP THE WAR on Iraq !

“A war on Iraq will lead to a health and humanitarian crisis. It is disastrous for the people of the world”.

(An unanimous statement issued and signed by the participants of the 2nd Health Forum, held at Porto Alegre, Brazil (20th to 22nd January 2003)

We, the participants at the 2nd Health Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil are greatly alarmed by and unequivocally condemn, the preparations for a full-blown war against Iraq currently being undertaken by the United States of America and United Kingdom.

This forum unanimously warns the Bush and Tony Blair administrations that the consequences of a war on Iraq is disastrous for the health and lives of the people of Iraq, its neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. We urge the two governments to put public interest and peace before their military and private commercial interests. The war plans are impermissible, undemocratic and immoral. It must be stopped.

Testimonies by health and humanitarian workers, public health professionals and others who are assembled here (including some who often provide front-line medical, health and humanitarian assistance during war, conflict and humanitarian situations) who are present here, for this international forum reminds that more than 90 % of the casualties in any war are innocent civilians. All wars destabilise the already over burdened health systems. Case of Iraq will no way be different. The Health Forum endorses the observations made by the MEDACT (a constituent of the People’s health Movement) and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in their recent scientific report about the potential health and humanitarian consequences of the proposed war.

The 12 year embargo and trade sanctions have killed thousands Iraqi people and unmitigated hardships to the ordinary civilians in Iraq. It has also crippled the economy and devastated public life, leaving millions of children malnourished and reversing the health standards.

The war will also lead to a wider regional conflict in the Middle East that will have long-term devastating health, humanitarian, social, economic and political consequences. What we need to leave for the next generation is not a sense of death and destruction, but of peace, solidarity, non-violence and understanding. We need to work towards a just and peaceful world, which is not only possible, but also necessary.

We extend our solidarity for the ongoing efforts by the peace and other social movements to stop this war. We appeal to the people of the world to join us in condemning all expressions of military terrorism and war. In today’s context of an advanced development of weapons of mass destruction, life is too precious to bear the burden of war.

Vital statistics (Iraq and Health):

3,900,000 deaths if nuclear weapons are used

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