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Senate passes opposition motion deploring Iraq's abuse of Kurds



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Friday, April 12 Canberra 28/91

SENATE PASSES OPPOSITION MOTION DEPLORING IRAQ'S ABUSE OF KURDS

The Senate has passed a Federal Opposition motion deploring the abuse of the Kurds by Iraq's Saddam Hussein and urging the United Nations to end the tragedy.

The motion (attached), moved by the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, noted that the UN ceasefire

resolution to the Gulf War did not include provisions to protect minorities in Iraq, and regretted that the Australian Government did not lobby for such measures.

The motion was passed late on Thursday night (April 11) despite Government opposition.

Speaking to the motion, Senator Hill told the Senate that the appalling abuse of the Kurds by Saddam Hussein's forces was "a matter of enormous international embarrassment .

"It's something of which the entire international community should be ashamed," he said.

"At the end of the Gulf War the Kurds and other minorities were encouraged by the (anti-Iraq Gulf War) allies - and we should remember that Australia was part of that alliance - to rise up and replace Saddam Hussein.

"But they had no capacity to do so and have been ruthlessly dealt with by Hussein's military."

Senator Hill said the ceasefire agreement negotiated after the war contained no protection for minorities, and allowed the retention and use of helicopters by Saddam Hussein to attack his own people.

He said the subsequent UN Security Council resolution also gave no security to the minorities of Iraq.

"Australia should have lobbied for the inclusion of such

protection in that resolution, but it failed to do so," Senator Hill said.

He said that in reply to an Opposition question this week on why Australia had not lobbied the UN, the Minister for Foreign

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Affairs and Trade, Senator Evans, said there had been little more Australia could usefully have done, particularly since it was not currently a member of the Security Council.

"That is a most disappointing statement from the Australian Foreign Minister," Senator Hill said.

"Basically, it's a statement in which he indicates that Australia washes its hands of the issue because it is too difficult."

Senator Hill said he suspected that Security Council measures to protect the minorities in Iraq would have required little or no enforcement as Saddam Hussein was simply not in a position to negotiate.

He said the international community's failure to act to protect the minorities in Iraq demonstrated what little progress had really been made in establishing a "new world order".

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Enquiries: Mark Batistich on (06) 273 3766 early on Friday morning and (06) 277 3170 after 8am EST.

Motion moved by the Opposition Leader in the Senate and Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Robert Hill, and passed by the Senate on late Thursday night, April 11, 1991:

That the Senate:

DEPLORES the appalling abuse of the Kurds in Iraq by Saddam Hussein and his military;

NOTES that the United Nations Security Council resolution on the ceasefire did not include provisions to protect minorities in Iraq;

REGRETS that the Australian Government failed to lobby for the inclusion of such provisions; and

URGES the UN Security Council to take such action as is necessary to end this human tragedy.