New inquiry: Preparing for the humanitarian consequences of possible military action against Iraq

The International Development Committee has agreed to undertake an inquiry into preparations for the humanitarian consequences of possible military action against Iraq. 

In particular, the inquiry will address the following issues:

  • The adequacy of UK Government, United Nations and International Community humanitarian contingency plans;

  • the implications of military action for levels of refugees and internally displaced people and the level of preparedness of UNHCR and the international community, especially Iraq's neighbours;

  • the likely effect of military action against Iraq on the sustainability of aid programmes and in particular the "food for oil" and UN food programmes;

  • the risk of large scale ethnic fighting leading to humanitarian disaster;

  • the risk of risk of military action targeting electricity and water supplies and the effect of this on provision of water and sanitation.

The Committee invites organisations and individuals with relevant experience and expertise to submit memoranda which address any or all of these issues.

Any memorandum of more than six pages should include a summary at the front. Evidence should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee as soon as possible as the Committee is expected to report in mid-March 2003.  If possible, please supply an electronic version in MS Word or Rich Text Format, either by e-mail to or on a disk.  If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail.  Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Oral evidence sessions will be announced in due course.

Detailed enquiries to Sarah Hartwell, Second Clerk, on 020 7219 0851 or

Evidence session

Wednesday 12 February, Palace of Westminster, 3.00 pm, Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Secretary of State, DFID.  To be followed at 4.15 pm approx by representatives of NGOs.

Reports and press notices issued by the International Development Committee are available on the Parliamentary website:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Baldry (Chairman) (Conservative, Banbury), John Barrett (Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West), John Battle (Labour, Leeds West), Hugh Bayley (Labour, City of York), Alistair Burt (Conservative, North East Bedfordshire), Ann Clwyd (Labour, Cynon Valley), Tony Colman (Labour, Putney), Mr Piara S. Khabra (Labour, Ealing, Southall), Chris McCafferty (Labour, Calder Valley), Mr Robert Walter (Conservative, North Dorset) and  Mr Tony Worthington (Labour, Clydebank and Milngavie).

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