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People’s Health Movement Supports Health Now! Campaign in Global Anti-War March
“War and WTO: Two Thorns from the Same Bush”


A new global campaign, which has been launched worldwide since March 16th, calls for throwing out the occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and dismantling of the World Trade Organisation.

“Wars and WTO are the greatest threat to health and peace” said a spokesperson. “Under the guise of a ‘war on terror’, the United States is trying to enforce global hegemony at a terrifying cost to people’s health,” she said.

Wars, military interventions, occupation and militarization devastate public health and also waste precious resources--at the expense of health and other basic services.

The campaigners have sent out an appeal to people all over the world to join public demonstrations and other activities of protest and resistance scheduled for March 20th. March 20th is being observed as the global day of protest against war and occupation.

The alliance spearheading the campaign have leading groups, networks, people based movements and activist groups like the People's Health Movement, the International People's Health Council, International League of People's Struggle-Study Commission on Health; Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR); Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific (PAN-AP); intal /Medical Aid for the Third World (Belgium), Artsen voor Vrede (Belgium), the Council for Health and Development (the Philippines), the Hesperian Foundation (USA), the Union of Health Work Committees (Palestine), Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (Palestine), and International Action Center (USA).

Timed one year after the invasion and military occupation began in Iraq, the campaigners
point out that situation has deteriorated in Iraq and has reached an explosive situation. “Lives of thousands of innocent children and women are at risk,” said a campaign communication. Consider the facts:

• An estimated 55,000 people have already died in Iraq because of the unjust, illegal and illegitimate war that started one year ago.
• Infant Mortality in Iraq has reached 108 per 1000 live births by March 2004. (In 1989 it was 40)
• The cost of this war is already more than 100 billion US dollars. (UN estimates that 11 billion US dollars are necessary to provide water and sanitation for the people in developing countries, annually).

“Occupying forces are responsible for this humanitarian crisis,” said a spokesperson. “Iraq is just not an isolated case. Observations from Afghanistan, Palestine and other places under foreign Military occupation paint pictures of blood-shed,” she added.

“25 years of war in Afghanistan (another country currently under US-led occupation) has devastated the health and lives of people. Out of every 1000 children born in Afghanistan, 155 die immediately” said a spokesperson for the Campaign Alliance. “This is a scar on humanity” she said.

The campaigners are also calling the military atrocities that have attained an epidemic proportion in Occupied Territories of Palestine where everyday sufferings of ordinary people are now further amplified by the ‘Apartheid Wall’.

“Pregnant women delivering babies at military check points; destruction of hospitals and clinics; attacks on civilians and medical personnel and funerals punctuate the every day life here” said a spokesperson from Palestine. “What we are witnessing is utter disrespect and disregard for human lives and blatant violation of International Humanitarian Laws. Over 120 Israeli military check points in West Bank and Gaza strip are suffocating over 3 million Palestinians” he said.

This campaign was first presented and promoted in January 2004 in Mumbai, at the International Forum for the Defense of People's Health, at the World Social Forum and at the Mumbai Resistance 2004. These summits called for action for peace and appealed to galvanise people all over the world.
The campaign has been gaining strength worldwide through solidarity and building alliances, primarily through a web site set up exclusively for this purpose: www.health-now.org.

“WTO is no more about trade, it is the World ‘Terror’ Organisation – along with wars, they are responsible for the deaths of millions of people worldwide, especially the poor” said a spokesperson. Consider the facts:

• Millions of poor and landless farmers have lost their livelihoods since the World Trade Organization has integrated agriculture in the global trading system.
• Six million people in poor countries urgently need antiretroviral treatment yet less than 5% have access to these drugs. Corporate globalization spreads ill health.
• The health gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider.

The campaign will be officially launched in several places like Baghdad, Brussels, Bangalore, Manila, San Francisco, New York, London and Occupied Palestinian Territories. The campaign, that will be launched in March 3rd week, has several activities. Setting up an ‘Health & Occupation Watch’ will be one of the outcomes. Health & Occupation Watch collates reports, data and field notes on the health impact of war and occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere. Stories from the frontline of the struggle for health: occupationwatch.health-now.org

Signed by the representatives of the following mass movements, networks, organisations.

International networks:
People’s Health Movement (PHM), International People’s Health Council (IPHC), International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) – Study Commission on Health, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific (PAN-AP)

Initial list of local organisations:

Belgium: intal/Medical Aid for the Third World, Artsen voor Vrede/IPPNW
Iran: People’s Health Movement Iran; Italia: Democrazia Popolare;
Korea: Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Right (KFHR)
México: Colectivo Salud en Movimiento, Salud Comunitaria de La Huasteca (Capás México); Palestine: Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC); Philippines: People’s Health Movement Philippines, Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR), Pesticide Action Network Philippines, Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), Council for Health and Development (CHD); Syria: Yarmouk NGO ; USA: Hesperian Foundation, International Action Center, PUSO Seattle

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