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Press Announcement: 13 November 2004
CEL URGES PRIME MINISTER TO MAKE 'JUST WAR' COMMITMENT
AND TO MONITOR RADIOACTIVITY LEVELS IN IRAQ
Christian Ecology Link (CEL), Britain's leading church-based environmental charity, has again written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, following an Open Letter in January 2003, which warned against pre emptive military action in Iraq.
In its latest letter, a copy of which was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, CEL urged the Prime Minister to pledge that the government would in future abide by the 'Just War' principles set out by Augustine, and modified by Aquinas. These state that war should only be waged as a last resort, be proportionate, undertaken by a legitimate authority, and avoid injury and death to non-combatants. CEL also argued that these Just War principles should be broadened to take account of the long term environmental impact of modern warfare.
The Prime Minister was also invited to initiate independent monitoring of radioactivity resulting from the use of depleted uranium munitions by Coalition forces. CEL's view is that the use of depleted uranium enhanced shells inevitably fails to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and should therefore be classified with landmines and nuclear and biological weapons as immoral. The risks have been reported by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) officials, who called for a full scientific assessment. CEL welcomes the new monitoring now proposed.
CEL's Chairman, Dr Tim Cooper, said, "If Christian voters at the next election are to trust the Prime Minister, he must make a clear commitment only to take military action in future in accordance with traditional Christian ethics".
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