The UK Uranium Weapons Network (UWN) announced today that it has submitted its report on British military use of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition in the 2003 Iraq War to the Chilcot Inquiry.
The report examines the health risks associated with depleted uranium and the failure of the Coalition Authority to decontaminate in the aftermath of the conflict.
The report concludes that the UK failed to fulfil its moral obligation to clean up DU contamination which has thepotential to seriously harm the health of Iraqi civilians. The report also observes that the ongoing refusal of the US to release data on where it used depleted uranium munitions continues to confound meaningful research into its impact and presents a threat to the health of civilians.
At least two Iraqi cities are known to be suffering from public health crises. Fallujah has seen a 15 fold increase in serious birth defects, whilst Basra has experienced a rise in cancers since DU was used in urban combat. The World Health Organisation is currently investigating the causes of the Fallujah birth defects and ICBUW is still waiting for confirmation from the US that depleted uranium was used there.
UWN is campaigning for the UK government to adopt a precautionary approach to the use of DU in conventional weaponry and for greater transparency over where DU has been used to allow decontamination, monitoring and risk awareness programmes to be put in place.
UK Uranium Weapons Network Iraq War Submission
About the Iraq Inquiry
The British Prime Minister announced on 15 June 2009 that an Inquiry would be conducted to identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict. The Iraq Inquiry was officially launched on 30 July 2009. At the launch the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, set out the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference:
“Our terms of reference are very broad, but the essential points, as set out by the Prime Minister and agreed by the House of Commons, are that this is an Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors. It will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath. We will therefore be considering the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned. Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.”
The Inquiry committee members are Sir John Chilcot (Chairman), Sir Lawrence Freedman, Sir Martin Gilbert, Sir Roderic Lyne and Baroness Usha Prashar.