Sky News reports the World Health Organisation is to undertake a study of birth deformities in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
The announcement follows mounting concern about the surge in birth deformities in the five years since US forces used massive quantities of heavy munitions in its two attacks on the city 40 km from Baghdad. I posted last month on the chorus of calls by Iraqi doctors and international campaign groups for an independent investigation. Doctors at the Falluja hospital cite a 15-fold increase in birth deformities. It is thought US forces used both white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons during the attacks on Falluja.
The International Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons is calling on the US to clarify what role uranium weapons played in the two attacks on Fallujah; to provide details of areas where these weapons were used in both Iraq wars to civil society and to the Iraqi authorities; to provide funding for independent scientific research to establish the cause of these effects, and for medical and technical assistance to the victims.
Meanwhile a group of British MPs has submitted a parliamentary motion calling the US use of toxic weapons at Falluja a ‘human rights atrocity’:
That this House notes the deeply disturbing report of BBC correspondent John Simpson indicating the high numbers of children being born with serious defects in the Iraqi town of Fallujah; further notes that the report says that those born with congenital heart defects is 13 times the rate found in Europe, that other babies have been born with limb loss or distortion, paralysis or brain damage, and that officials in the town have warned women that they should not have babies; further notes that during the US onslaught on Fallujah, white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons were amongst those used, and also that after the fighting was over, rubble from the town was bulldozed into the river, polluting water supplies; further notes that there has not been a proper independent inquiry by medical experts to establish the cause of these birth defects; and considers that this consequence of this US military action makes it a human rights atrocity.
I have a member’s bill in the ballot that would ban depleted uranium weapons, just as we ban nuclear weapons.