Stop the US-UK War and Occupation of Iraq!
Statement by No War Coalition Hong Kong
April 12, 2003
Along with hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, our march today is to condemn the war on Iraq and to promote a just peace. Although the initial stages of the US-led invasion of Iraq appear to be over, the Bush Doctrine¡¦s advocacy of ¡§endless war¡¨ in pursuit of perceived US interests gives us little hope for peace.
After twelve years of destructive economic sanctions followed by an invasion and the massive employment of weapons of mass destruction, the armies of the US and UK have toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. The governments that for so long supported, armed and nurtured the Baath'ist regime, have toppled it.
The cost to the Iraqi people has been enormous. Over the coming days, our TV screens will be filled with US and UK network reports concentrating on selective images of Iraqis destroying visible vestiges of the former regime and ¡§crowds¡¨ welcoming invading troops. They will not dwell on the horrific cost of this war for control of Iraq's oil. Scenes of carnage in hospitals overwhelmed by casualties and corpses, the bulldozing into mass graves of tens of thousands of dead conscripted soldiers, the crippled civilian and military survivors of US-led bombing raids and the traumatized children will be presented as a necessary sacrifice. Might has prevailed and ends will be deemed to have justified illegal and murderous means.
They do not. Today, the Hong Kong No to War Coalition, along with huge numbers of people from many countries around the world, demands that the destiny and sovereignty of the Iraqi people be immediately placed in their own hands. US-led occupying forces must leave Iraq now and be replaced by an interim peacekeeping force under the authority of the UN. Self- determination, human rights and security are key issues for the Iraqi people and must be a prioritized immediately. Open and free elections, monitored by international inspectors, not US-appointed officials, must be organised as soon as possible. The governments of the US, the UK and Australia must pay war damages for the destruction they have visited on Iraq and its people. Reparations will not replace the hundreds and thousands of lives lost through economic sanctions and war, but they will at least provide a basis for reconstruction.
The oil fields that have been the real target of this war must not be privatised to further facillitate the control of oil production by US companies. All attempts by the incoming US military government to automatically award reconstruction contracts to US companies must be resisted. In the meantime, reconstruction and humanitarian aid must be placed under the leadership of the United Nations and handed to a legitimate and elected government as soon as it is in place. There is no excuse for delay.
Although not yet over, this war has been short, profoundly violent and entirely unjust. The killing efficiency of modern and overwhelming weaponry against a weakened, hungry and poorly-armed opposition does not afford the invasion the legitimacy that the invaders will attempt to give it. The US and British governments have ignored both the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention There is also considerable evidence that supports charges of violation of International Humanitarian Law and even of war crimes against Bush and Blair. The No to War Coalition Hong Kong supports all efforts to hold them fully accountable for the actions they have ordered.
The No War Coalition is a loose alliance of Hong Kong-based individuals and organizations that oppose the war of aggression being waged primarily by the United States government. Its members include:
Committee For Peace Not War
Asian Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Oxfam Hong Kong
Asian Students Association (ASA)
Asia Monitor Resource Center
Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA)
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Hong Kong Federation of Students
World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific
Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternative (ARENA)
The April 12 protest march is led by No War Coalition Hong Kong and is our response to calls from both Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) and International League of People's Struggles (ILPS) for the Global Day of Action against US-led military action in Iraq and throughout Asia.