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Human Shields Asked to Defend Oil Refinery...then come to their senses

Life is so full of irony.
Human Shields Deploy to Oil Refinery

Wednesday February 27, 2003

A group of 12 Human Shields from countries including Belgium, South Africa, Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, Slovenia and USA will deploy this afternoon to the Daurra Oil refinery in Baghdad.

One of the group, Mr Tolga Temuge, said the Daurra Refinery has 2700 employees.

"Their families live in 300 houses located on the refinery premises," he said.

"The plant was hit in the first Gulf War and it took 2500 workers 45 days to bring the plant back on line."

Tolga said bombing the Daurra Refinery will not only affect transportation but may also lead to electricity shortages, because the power plants in Iraq run on oil and gas.

"That would make facilities such as the water purification plant and hospitals non-operational," he said.

"The environmental consequences of such an attack will also be devastating. At this stage, we do not know the effects of the leakage on the Tigris river during the first war.

"However, it is clear that the Tigris river and water supplies will be polluted with oil if the plant is damaged."

Tolga said a creche, medical centre and school close to the refinery will give the peace activists a chance to and work alongside the local community.

Daurra Refinery Statement
Peace activists and Human Shields who are currently in Baghdad are positioning themselves at strategically important facilities that serve the civilian population such as power plants, water purification plants, food storages, bridges over the Tigris river, schools, hospitals, refineries and if government permission is granted, cultural and historical sites. All these sites are vital for the people of a modern metropolis like Baghdad. If the US and its allies launch a war against Iraq these sites will be one of the first to be hit. Almost all of these sites were hit in the first Gulf War. Most of the peace activists will also be working closely with the communities around these sites to build a close relationship between the human shields and the Iraqi people.

We must stress that we are not forced and/or manupulated by the Iraqi government to be deployed on these sites as some corporate media claim. We are here of our own free will because we believe that it is important to build a trust between the Iraqi people who have been oppresed by the western countries for many years. Being on the sites that are so important for the Iraqi people is one of the few but hopefully efective tactics we can use to stop US aggression.

Oil industry
The Oil industry from extraction to transportation to consumption causes severe Environmental damage. Spills and other accidental discharges cover the surface of the ocean, thus preventing the contact of the atmosphere with the sea so that the oxygen vital for marine flora and fauna and marine life is cut off. Marine flora and fauna also absorb hazardous heavy metals endangering their survival. Humans consuming these fish will also be harmed. (Prof.Dr.Ay■en Y§lmaz, instructor at Middle East Technical University (METU) Erdemli Marine Sciences Institute Chemical Oceanography Department)

The use of oil, natural gas and hydro-carbons for transportation and electricty production is the most important environmental problem our planet faces; Climate Change. The contracting parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change acknowledge that human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, that these increases enhance the natural greenhouse effect, and that this will result on average in an additional warming of the EarthŇs surface and atmosphere and may adversely affect natural ecosystems and humankind. (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992)

Oil does not bring prosperity to the people. Those who benefit from the oil business are the major pertoleum corporations. Executives of these corporates fill the administrations of most of the western governments such as the US. The strategic interest of these governments are to have control of oil supplies and prices and dominate the parts of the world that are rich in oil such as the Middle East and the Caspian region, generating political instability and wars. Simply; oil kills!

Why Daurra Refinery?
An oil refinery pollutes the atmosphere and the aquatic environment around it through regular discharges and leakage. Some of the toxic substances released into the sea and rivers accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish and thus poison the food chain.

We recognise the severe affects of oil on our social lives, environment and climate and we believe that our dependence on oil should be curtailed. Shifting to renewable energy sources will not only halt the climate change but also stop the wars for oil.

However we recognize that a shift to clean alternative sources will not be possible for Iraq, a country that has been suffering under UN sanctions for many years, if the US attacks. Launching missiles on an oil refinery will not only kill innocent workers and their families living around the facility but also will open the main veins of Iraqi society.

There are 2700 employees working at the Daura Refinery. Their families live in 300 houses located at the Refinery premises. The plant was hit in the first Gulf War and it took 2500 workers working 45 days to bring the plant back on line. Bombing the Daurra Refinery will not only effect transportation but also may lead to electricity shortages since the power plants in Iraq run on oil and gas. That would make facilities like the water purification plant and hospitals non operational.

The environmental consequences of such an attack will also be devastating. We do not know the effects of the leakage on Tigris river during the first war due to lack of scientific researches. However it is clear that Tigris river and water supplies will be polluted with oil.

Being in the Refinery will give us an opportunity to observe the already existing pollution generated by the refinery and share our concerns on toxic pollution with the management. We hope that sharing information on environmental issues will be heard and considered by the Iraqi officials for the future.

Finally, there is a creche, medical center and school very close to the refinery that gives the peace activists a chance to go and work with the community to build close relations.


Tolga Temuge (Turkey), Salih Selimoglu (Turkey), Marta Gregocic (Slovania)


1- First group of activists are leaving for the Refinery at 15:00 from the Andulus Hotel

2- For more information please contact Tolga Temuge, (964) 1 719 2303

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