A group of 150 European parliamentarians and dignitaries, including two Swiss politicians, are preparing to defy the United Nations embargo on Iraq by flying to Baghdad next week.This content was published on September 19, 2000 - 22:55
The two Swiss are Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, a Social Democrat, and Patrice Mugny of the Green party - both members of the House of Representatives.
Along with other European parliamentarians, scientists, journalists and artists from four other European nations - France, Germany, Austria and Italy - they are going to Iraq to press for the lifting of UN sanctions, imposed a decade ago after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Vermot-Mangold told swissinfo on Tuesday: "We're going to Iraq to show that a boycott is not good for the population. The people are very poor and they have nothing to eat. They have no medicines, and so I think it is very important that the international community ends this boycott."
Mugny added: "The embargo against Iraq and its consequences are a crime against humanity."
Organisers hope the visit, starting next Thursday, will highlight the suffering caused by the embargo.
Reports have consistently showed the embargo is hitting the civilian population much harder than Saddam Hussein's government. The UN children's fund, UNICEF, says the embargo, cutting off essential food supplies and medicaments, has led to the deaths of 500,000 children.
However, moves to lift the sanctions by countries such as France have been rejected by the United States and Britain which are still seeking to isolate Saddam Hussein politically and militarily.