Children in Iraq

There are three letters below.

The first is a desperate plea for help, sent to the United Nations by the Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health, the third a reply from Roger Wright, UNICEF Special Representative for Iraq.

The second is a supporting letter, sent by the Federation Internationale des Communautes Educatives, the leading international professional association for people who work with children and young people.

Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health

Chair: AbdulKareem S. AlObaidi ,MD

c/o Medact
The Grayston Centre
28 Charles Square
London N1 6HT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
13 June 2007

Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We are taking the liberty of sending you this letter because of our extreme concern about the deteriorating life conditions for the children of Iraq.

The United Nations have done a lot to help. The recent Paris Guidelines are an example, and we are most appreciative.

However, the situation of the Iraqi children is desperate and we need your urgent help. Currently Iraqi children and adolescents form more than 55% of the 29 million Iraqi population, most of whom have experienced unbearable traumas and heart wrenching experiences.

Iraqi children are suffering from continuous exposure to violence; many are killed and mutilated every day. They suffer from neglect and abuse, including deprivation, oppression, loss of parents through death or imprisonment, separation and dislocation from families. There is social breakdown; health care is minimal and the education system is no longer functioning. Militias are recruiting children to violence.

All this is having a terrible impact on the mental wellbeing of Iraqi children. Emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorders are increasing dramatically. Behaviour disorders, which never used to be a problem in our country, are now prominent, including truancy, delinquency, drug and substance abuse.

This is a crisis situation that needs urgent attention. Our children carry the future of Iraq and that future is being corrupted. The risk is great, not just for our country but for the region and for the world.

We ask for your help. We are committed to working with you in any way we possibly can, so that together we can make a difference. We enclose an appeal document, which is supported and signed by many experts in child health from all over the world.

Yours respectfully,

AbdulKareem S. AlObaidi, MD
Chair, Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health

Magistrat der Stadt Wien
Amt für Jugend und Familie
Sozialpädagogische Region für männliche Jugendliche
Wasnergasse 33
A-1200 Wien
Registered Offices
General Secretary
76 Southbrae Drive
G13 1SU
  June 2007

General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

I write to you in my capacity as President of the Fédération Internationale des Communautés Educatives (FICE); FICE is a UN Peace Messenger. We are aware of the letter which you have received from Doctor AbdulKareem S. AlObaidi, MD, Chair of the Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health. FICE is an international body of social pedagogues, social care workers, academics and teachers all working in child care, with many of our members regarded as child care experts. Our General Assembly wrote to your predecessor in September 2002 “…about the threat of an attack by the USA and its allies on Iraq and the consequences of this for children. FICE, as one of the UN Peace Messenger’s feels strongly that it should take a stand against such action.” Regrettably, our letter was not acknowledged.

Like the Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health, we acknowledge what the United Nations has done to help children and we also welcome the Paris Guidelines as a major step forward. Regardless of the final outcome of the action by all in Iraq, we wish to state our major concern for the trauma, grief and loss which the children of Iraq are suffering now and no doubt will well into the future.

FICE, through its National Sections, our International Councils and mostly at our own cost, has vast experience of working with children in the former Yugoslavia and has first hand experience of working with young people in trauma and in crisis long after the end of conflict.

We support the petition form the Iraqi Association for Child Mental Health and urge you to do all in your power to ensure that this petition is taken into account by all parties in Iraq.

Yours respectfully,

Monika Niederle

President, FICE-International

Click to enlarge

Click here to read the attachment mentioned in the above letter.

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