Agency backs MPs' concerns over post-conflict Iraq

 The government's International Development Committee has stated its concerns that the UN is being sidelined by the US administration in plans for post-conflict Iraq. These are fears that are shared by Christian Aid's director, Dr Daleep Mukarji. Christian Aid believes the UN should play the leading role in coordinating humanitarian aid during and after the Iraq conflict. Yet the current US position appears at odds with this imperative. The agency says it is inappropriate for military forces engaged in war to provide humanitarian assistance, except under extreme conditions and then only for a short period of time. They cannot do so impartially and demonstrably lack the expertise to conduct these operations properly. Humanitarian aid should never be a tool to win 'hearts and minds', but must be provided according to need. With other humanitarian agencies, Christian Aid believes that even while this war is being waged, independent access to needy and desperate civilians, especially those trapped in urban areas, can and ought to be a central priority of both warring parties. This should be achieved by means such as the creation of safe humanitarian corridors through which aid is delivered. It says the UN must also play a central role in the recovery and reconstruction of Iraq. UN agencies will need a clear mandate to operate. Political, social and economic administration of post-war Iraq must be passed to Iraqis as swiftly as possible, by a process that ensures representation of all interests.

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