Saturday, April 19, 2003
Who's looking after the children?
U.S. forces have refused a Save the Children plane permission to land in northern Iraq (news - web sites) to deliver aid, breaching the Geneva Convention and "costing children their lives," the British aid agency said on Thursday.
Save the Children said in a statement it had been trying for more than a week to land a plane in Arbil carrying enough medical supplies to treat 40,000 people and emergency feeding kits for malnourished children.
A U.S. official told the charity no aid flights would be allowed until the area was safe but the U.N. has already declared Arbil a "safe and secure" area, the charity said.
"The doctors we are trying to help have been struggling against the odds for weeks to continue saving lives, but now the help we have promised them is being endlessly delayed," Emergency Program Manager Rob MacGillivray said.
"The lack of cooperation from the U.S. military is a breach of the Geneva Conventions and its protocols but more importantly the time now being wasted is costing children their lives."