Jean Lambert opposed the war on Iraq. The Greens believed that Tony Blair misled the public and underestimated the opposition to the attack. Britain was the only US ally prepared to countenance an invasion of Iraq, and the UK position therefore had a significant impact on the failure to reach a peaceful solution.
Over half the population of Iraq have never known a time when they were not at war or suffering sanctions as a result of war. Jean believed that we needed to change the future for them and for many others throughout the world who have never known peace or freedom from oppression. She was adamant at the time that this would not be possible through the force of bombs and the threat of starvation and disease.
“We must keep the weapons inspectors in Iraq: ease the sanctions and help to create an independent, educated and healthy population able to oppose the government of Saddam Hussein. We must weaken his power and strengthen his people.We must spend the money we have ready for war on making the world a better place: we are told that the money America will spend could provide 4 years of health-care for the world’s poorest countries. Which will do more to reduce hatred and hostility?”
Jean Lambert MEP, speaking in 2002
Since that time, Jean has consistently supported the Iraqi refugees who have had to abandon their homeland as a result of the violence. She has campaigned against the forced deportation of Iraqis from the UK while the situation in their country remains dangerous and unstable.
Jean has close connections with a number of refugee groups in London and she frequently raises concerns about the fact that many asylum seekers living in the UK are forced to live in destitution. The statement below was recently published in the International Federation for Iraqi Refugees newsletter:
“The ongoing and increasing deportations to Iraqi Kurdistan are of great concern, as for many people it the area is still not safe.
People are being forced to leave their families and return to an often desperate situation with no friends or other support. Despite making an agreement with the UK Government to receive failed asylum seekers, the Iraqi Government cannot provide security for their citizens. No more deportations should take place until their safety on return can be guaranteed.
Many of the returned asylum seekers are now having to live in hiding to avoid persecution. Some of those who have been deported have reportedly committed suicide, been kidnapped and killed in car bombs.
It is also important to remember all those Kurdish and Iraqi asylum seekers who are now living in destitution in the UK. They need to be allowed to work to support themselves and should have access to health services and education while they remain here.
I support the International Federation of the Iraqi Refugees’ calls for the United Nations to step in to end the policy of forced deportation by European countries and I will be writing to the UN to raise IFIR’s demands.”
Jean Lambert MEP