Statement

UNFPA Statement on the situation in Iraq

21 Mar 2003

Despite all efforts to find a peaceful solution, we are now faced with the sad reality of war in Iraq and increased suffering for the Iraqi people.

I appeal to all parties to observe international law to protect the people of Iraq and neighbouring countries from the consequences of war. My utmost concerns are for the safety and protection of civilians, especially women and children, whose fundamental human rights must be respected.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is intensifying efforts to provide humanitarian relief, especially for the pregnant women of Iraq. All too often the needs of women are neglected in the rush to provide relief. We must ensure that the needs of Iraqi women are fully addressed in our humanitarian response.

We need to ensure that women receive the health support they need to survive childbirth. During the past 15 years, maternal mortality in Iraq has more than tripled. Women will now face increased risks and we must do all we can to alleviate suffering and hardship and save lives.

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