As two former UN Humanitarian Coordinators
for Iraq we would like to repeat the appeal we made last year to the
US Government for the release of Tariq Aziz, former Deputy Prime Minister
of Iraq. Tariq Aziz has been imprisoned for the past 3 years without
During this period his fundamental rights
under international law have been disgarded just as in the case of
other POWs and political prisoners in Iraq. We are making this renewed
appeal for Tariq Aziz because of his poor and deteriorating health
and the resulting danger to his life.
We knew Tariq Aziz as the senior-most
Iraqi official to whom we turned when our humanitarian work demanded
his intervention for the betterment of the Iraqi people.
It was Tariq Aziz who supported us in
making the case to the UN Security Council for an increase in the
size of the UN humanitarian exemption. It was Tariq Aziz who made
it possible for us to collect information on the effectiveness of
equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies. It was Tariq Aziz
who allowed a critical presentation to the then National Assembly
on the human rights situation in Iraq. It was Tariq Aziz who contacted
the Kurdish authorities to facilitate our travels across the line
of control for talks with the Kurdish authorities. We have known Tariq
Aziz as a defender of the Iraqi people’s rights and as a person
The continued confinement of a sick POW
is at the individual level one example of the tragic mishandling of
a nation. We are asking the US Government to show statesmanship and
release Tariq Aziz on humanitarian, if not legal, grounds.
We turn to all those who have known Tariq
Aziz in difficult circumstances to support this appeal, especially
former US Secretary of State James Baker and US Representative
We hope that the Director-General of
the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. El Baradei
and his predecessor Dr. Hans Blix who also served
as the last head of the UN Monitoring, Inspection and Verification
Commission in Iraq will support this appeal.
We also call on the incoming UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon to share our position and use
his influence with the US and current Iraqi authorities for the release
of Tariq Aziz and other Iraqi POWs.
UN Coordinator 1998-2000
UN Coordinator 1997-98
2 January 2007