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  • German military floats plan to equip its tanks with depleted uranium to a sceptical nation

    In an effort to be seen to be responding to Russian military activities in Ukraine and Crimea, the Bundeswehr is floating plans to arm Leopard tanks taken out of storage with DU ammunition, even as its allies look for alternatives in response to the global stigmatisation of the weapons.
  • Canada must do more on depleted uranium weapons

    ICBUW has produced a new briefing on Canada and DU weapons, it finds that in spite of claims to the contrary, Canada has shown little international leadership on the issue. Available to download in English and French.
  • ICBUW needs your help if our work is to continue.

    Last week, the Norwegian government announced that it will no longer fund ICBUW’s research and advocacy on DU weapons. We are now facing a funding crisis that could result in us having to close the secretariat and make the staff redundant.
  • The A-10 warthog: raising depleted uranium’s threshold of acceptability

    The apparent U-turn by the Pentagon over DU use by aircraft in Operation Inherent Resolve has been cautiously welcomed by campaigners, but is it a sign of a wider policy shift? Is the threshold of acceptability for the use of DU in operations rising in response to international pressure over the controversial munitions and what part has the A-10 played in this?
  • Pentagon announces U-turn on use of depleted uranium in Iraq and Syria

    The Pentagon has announced that depleted uranium (DU) munitions have not, and will not, be used by US aircraft in the conflict against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The policy U-turn contrasts with statements made over previous months, where Pentagon officials claimed that DU would be used if needed; the decision reflects a growing stigmatisation of the controversial weapons.

What is going on in Fallujah?

Today marks the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day. In less than one month it will be the 8th anniversary of Operation Vigilante Resolve, a day that will not be celebrated by the women of Fallujah.
8 March 2012 - Rachel Thompson

Operation Vigilante Resolve, the codename for a failed operation to retake and ‘pacify’ the city of Fallujah, saw a massive US military bombardment of the densely populated city.  This was followed by a second assault in November and December 2004 carried out by a joint UK, US and Iraqi force.

Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of miscarriages and women giving birth to children with congenital abnormalities. Unfortunately there are no definitive figures for the number of babies born with birth defects.  Some doctors in the region have attempted to keep their own records but there is no centralised database or monitoring system in place.

In 2010 a Guardian report on this stated:

‘The latest Falluja study surveyed 55 families with seriously deformed newborns between May and August. It was conducted by Dr Samira Abdul Ghani, a paediatrician at Falluja general hospital. In May, 15% of the 547 babies born had serious birth defects. In the same period, 11% of babies were born at less than 30 weeks and 14% of foetuses spontaneously aborted.

The researchers believe that the figures understate what they describe as an epidemic of abnormalities, because a large number of babies in Falluja are born at home with parents reluctant to seek help from authorities.’[1]

Although many believe depleted uranium to be one of the major causes of these problems in Fallujah, a lack of transparency by the US government as to the quantity and locations of munitions used, and a lack of any form of environmental assessment into potential causes of the problems, means that there is no conclusive evidence to prove this.

One cannot imagine how traumatic an experience this must be for new mothers or for women considering the prospect of raising a family.  A similar situation within any city in the UK or the US would not be a tolerated.  Health epidemics such as Swine Flu or Mad Cow disease rarely go unnoticed in the UK. We only have to look at the E-coli outbreak last year to see how quickly and seriously the government seek to investigate and take preventative measures. Yet the epidemic in Fallujah, of which the UK and US may well be responsible for, has gone by barely noticed. There seems to be no political will to find out why this is happening in Fallujah.

We join with ICBUW to ask for:

  • An urgent assessment of all risk factors in the environment in Fallujah
  • Medical assistance especially for pre and post-natal women
  • A detailed and transparent health monitoring system to be put into place for the population of Fallujah
  • The US to urgently release all available data on the locations of uranium weapon strikes in Iraq to NGOs and international agencies to help facilitate decontamination and risk awareness programmes

Please take a moment on International Women’s Day to think about the women and children of Fallujah, write to you MP and ask them ‘What is going on in Fallujah?’