Coalition troops urged to impose order in Baghdad

11 April 2003
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 10 April reaffirmed the duty of coalition troops to take responsibility for law and order, as chaos descended on Baghdad. 'From what we have seen in the reports, it appears there is no functioning government in Iraq at the moment,' Annan told reporters in New York. 'Obviously law and order must be a major concern -I think the [Security] Council has also reaffirmed that the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention [on the duties of occupying powers] apply to this conflict and that the coalition has the responsibility for the welfare of the people in this area.' UN aid agencies reported the Al-Kindi hospital and UN compounds in Baghdad being looted, worsening an already critical humanitarian situation.

Speaking at the daily briefing by UN agencies in Amman, the World Health Organisation spokeswoman said that international staff would be returned to Baghdad as soon as it was safe to do so, but that in the meantime the ability of hospitals to do their work was being severely curtailed by civil disorder. Hospital workers were fearful of travelling to work and deliveries of medical supplies were being hindered. The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) spokesman reported that their own offices in Baghdad had been looted. The sumptuous homes of former senior Baath party officials, including those of Saddam Hussein's son Uday and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, were also ransacked.

UK International Development Secretary Clare Short reiterated the warnings of the aid agencies in a statement to MPs on 10 April. 'Over the last few days, we have received reports of an increasingly serious humanitarian situation in Baghdad,' she said. 'Hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, electricity is mostly out of order, some parts of the city no longer have access to piped water.' And Short echoed Annan in saying that as occupying forces US and UK troops had a responsibility under international law to impose law and order.

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