250 ACADEMICS ASSASSINATED IN OCCUPIED IRAQ
MEP CALLS FOR UN INVESTIGATION AS 100TH BRITISH SOLDIER DIES IN IRAQ
MORE than 250 Iraqi academics have been assassinated since the invasion of
Iraq in March 2003 – but not a single person has been brought to justice for
Now Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has joined a campaign of high-profile anti-war
activists in calling for a UN investigation into the killings.
The Green Party MEP for South-East England, who is also co-president of the
European parliament’s cross-party Peace Initiatives group, said as well as
the 250 dead, many thousands of Iraqi educators have been forced to abandon
their jobs and flee in fear of their lives.
Speaking as news broke of the 100th British soldier to die in Iraq, Dr Lucas
said: “Iraq is undergoing a major brain drain, and can ill afford to lose
academics and teachers to a continuing wave of violence.
“Iraq’s education system, once one of the best in the region, has been
decimated: some 84 per cent of the country’s higher education institutions
have been burnt, looted or destroyed, according to the United Nations
“These assassinations, which appear to be countrywide, non-partisan and
non-sectarian, must be investigated by the UN Special Rapporteur on summary
executions – and those responsible brought to justice. Iraq needs security
and stability, but it is clear that the continued US and UK occupation is
contributing to the problem, not the solution.”
Dr Lucas joins a long list of prominent anti-war campaigners in the
campaign, which has been launched by the BRussels Tribunal: Noam Chomsky,
Tony Benn, Harold Pinter and J M Coetzee are fellow petition signatories.
News of the attacks on academics and universities come as peace campaigners
prepare to hold vigils across the country after the death of the 100th
British soldier in Iraq since the March 2003 occupation began.
The names of all the dead British soldiers – and 100 of their dead Iraqi
counterparts – were read out at a vigil in London’s Parliament Square
yesterday, and will be at 100 towns and cities around the UK today
This evening’s vigils include events in Brighton (Old Steine War Memorial,
7pm), Oxford (Cornmarket, by HSBC Bank, 6.30pm), Medway (East Gate,
Rochester High Street, 7.30pm) and Canterbury (Cathedral Gate, Buttermarket,
Dr Lucas added: “The death of a 100th British soldier is deeply sad news and
my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. The ongoing
occupation has become part of the problem in Iraq and we must bring our
troops home swiftly.”