Hunger strike for justice for Iraq

Leisa Faulkner, a Sacramento mother of five, is participating in a 15-day, international hunger strike in Geneva, Switzerland, in support of economic justice for Iraq.

The hunger strike, planned to last until June 30, is being staged at the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) meeting in Geneva. The UNCC is currently determining how much of a remaining $65 billion in war reparations claims (relating to the 1990-91 invasion of Kuwait) imposed against Iraq will have to be paid.

According to Faulkner, the fasters’ June 16 press conference was joined by Hans von Sponeck, former director of the UN food-for-oil program. Von Sponeck resigned from the post because he said the program failed to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

Faulkner quoted Von Sponeck’s statement that, as a result of UN policies inflicted on Iraq, the infant mortality rate rose from 56 deaths per 1,000 in 1990 to 132 per 1,000 by 1999, according to UNICEF reports.

The fasters are presenting four key demands: cancellation of all reparations imposed against Iraq; elimination of all odious debt incurred by Saddam Hussein’s regime (debt not to individuals but to corporations that knowingly financed his atrocities); no imposition of economic conditions through such organizations as the International Monetary Fund; and full funding for the reconstruction of Iraq, which benefits the Iraqi people, is directed by them and has no strings attached.

The fasters from the U.S. are members of Voices in the Wilderness, Jubilee USA and Progressive Democrats of America.