Christian groups united in lobby for 'war against poverty- not Iraq'

 Tomorrow, 12 March, just two days before the report from Han Blix is to be submitted to the UN, a broad coalition of groups, including the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, Pax Christi, the National Justice and Peace Network, the United Reformed Church Peace Fellowship, Christian Aid and the Religious Society of Friends, unite to call the Government to rethink the war against Iraq. The lobby will highlight the contrasts between the costs and resources used in war preparations against Iraq and the pressing problems of our world: more than one billion people do not have access to safe drinking water; more than 1/3 of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day and the UK is still a long way from the target of providing 0.7% GNP for development assistance. Organised by the United Nations Association and Action for UN Renewal, the lobby has the support of 40 organisations. Delegates are encouraged to meet with their MPs on the day and to attend a public meeting at 3.00 pm in the House of Commons. The speakers are the meeting will be: Bill Rammell MP, Under-Secretary for the UN; Sally Keeble, Under-Secretary for International Development; Phil Shiner, Director, Public Interest Lawyers; and Dr Jona Razzaque, Environmental Law Foundation. Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said: "The government promised to act in accordance with international law but its actions say otherwise. If it goes to war against Iraq without a clear authorisation of force from the Security Council - which it does not yet have - it will be in flagrant breach of international law and its leaders must be prepared to pay the consequences. These may include accountability to the International Criminal Court." The underlying aim of the Lobby is to strengthen the role of the UN in UK foreign policy and provide an opportunity for people to meet with their MPs and discuss important international issues. source: Pax Christi

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