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Democrats oppose the Iraq war and support international law.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/930 SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT RUTH RUSSELL LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SENATE CANDIDATE FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA DEMOCRATS OPPOSE THE IRAQ WAR AND SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL LAW A strengthening of international law and a return to Australian respecting international law would reduce global violence, the Australian Democrats said today. Ruth Russell a well known peace activist who was a human shield in Iraq during the war, and is a candidate for the Democrats’ South Australian Senate ticket, today addressed a Sydney Social Forum. ”We are living in a more dangerous world where violence is escalating out of control,” Ms Russell told the forum. “Wars are continuing, with 37,000 civilians and children killed in Iraq. International law, such as not targeting civilians, is being flouted and pre-emptive strikes are now an acceptable option to the US and Australia,” Ms Russell said. The ALP policy of Christmas being the deadline for the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq made no sense, said Senator Andrew Bartlett, leader of the Australian Democrats. “Nominating a Christian holiday as the deadline makes no sense with what is going on, on the ground in Iraq. “The Iraqi elections, due to be held in January 2005, is the logical date to get Australian troops out and let the Iraqis get on with it. The United Nations has made clear that countries contributing to maintaining security in the lead up to the Iraqi election are vital. “If we pull out Australian troops while the situation is still so dangerous then we may also have to pull out all Australian presence - diplomats, agricultural advisers and any aid workers. “But I do sympathise with those families of Australian troops who would want their loved ones home,” concluded Senator Bartlett. Media contact - Daele Healy - 0419 867 649