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Pearson Peace medallists Speak Out Against War in Iraq

February 13, 2003

Past recipients of the Lester B. Pearson Peace Medal have added their voices to those who oppose war in Iraq. Flora Macdonald, Gerry Barr and Murray Thomson spoke on behalf of 11 Pearson medallists who co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. The medallists expressed deep concern about the "consequences of war which, without question, now poses a grave danger to the human security of millions of Iraqi civilians, particularly women and children".

The Pearson Peace Medal, awarded annually by the United Nations Association in Canada, honours Canadians who have personally contributed to the causes to which Lester B. Pearson devoted his career. Eleven past recipients came together to uphold the Pearson commitment to mediation between those confronting each other with arms, equal rights and justice for all humanity and peaceful change through world law and world organization.

As Dr. Hans Blix is set to deliver his second report to the United Nations Security Council on February 14, the medallists also urged that Canada to use its "significant diplomatic resources in favour of measures that secure peace and lasting stability in Iraq."

"Now is not the time for us to abandon peaceful solutions," says Flora Macdonald (1999 medal recipient). "Contrary to Colin Powell’s statement that if the United Nations did not act against Iraq it would risk becoming irrelevant, the United Nations must not be pressured to act hastily, without giving the weapons inspectors the time they need to perform their duties."

"War will produce a humanitarian disaster, with children among those most at risk," says Murray Thomson (1990 medal recipient). "Iraq’s 13 million children risk starvation, disease and death.

"This is a moment in which world organizations, like the United Nations, are especially challenged to find a peaceful outcome and according to Gerry Barr (1996 medal recipient), "the Security Council is bound by the UN Charter, to seek alternatives to war and is properly obliged to satisfy itself that all other possible remedies have failed before approving military action."

As the medallists said in their letter to the Prime Minister, "Plainly put, war is not a means to peace."

For further information contact: 

Katia Gianneschi
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
(613) 241-7007 ext. 311
katiag@ccic.ca

 

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