Message from Ramsey Clark to the Gijon, Spain Conference on Depleted Uranium, Nov. 25-26, 2000

Dear friends,
I would like to convey to you my utmost solidarity with your important international conference on depleted uranium and my congratulations to the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee for organizing it. I wanted very much to be with you today to share in the work you are doing to combat the dangers of depleted-uranium weapons. But the United States government has taken dangerous steps that threaten a major war in yet another area of the world. I'm speaking now of Colombia in South America. With $1.3 million in new military aid under the cover of a so-called war against drugs, Washington threatens a 21st Century version of the Vietnam war. Others from the International Action Center and I are now on a fact-finding mission traveling to areas of Colombia held by the popular insurgent forces.

I would like to include here the appeal we drafted in 1996 calling for a ban on depleted uranium weapons and hope you can make it part of the results of your conference. Thank you.

Ramsey Clark

An International Appeal to Ban the Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons

Depleted-uranium weapons are an unacceptable threat to life, a violation of international law and an assault on human dignity. To safeguard the future of humanity, we call for an unconditional international ban forbidding research, manufacture, testing, transportation, possession and use of DU for military purposes. In addition, we call for the immediate isolation and containment of all DU weapons and waste, the reclassification of DU as a radioactive and hazardous substance, the cleanup of existing DU-contaminated areas, comprehensive efforts to prevent human exposure and medical care for those who have been exposed.

During the Gulf War, munitions and armor made with depleted uranium were used for the first time in a military action. Iraq and northern Kuwait were a virtual testing range for depleted-uranium weapons. Over 940,000 30-millimeter uranium tipped bullets and "more than 14,000 large caliber DU rounds were consumed during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield." (U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute)

These weapons were used throughout Iraq with no concern for the health and environmental consequences of their use. Between 300 and 800 tons of DU particles and dust have been scattered over the ground and the water in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people, both civilians and soldiers, have suffered the effects of exposure to these radioactive weapons.

Of the 697,000 U.S. troops who server in the Gulf, over 90,000 have reported medical problems. Symptoms include respiratory, liver and kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure. There are birth defects among their newborn children. DU is la leading suspect for a portion of these ailments. The effects on the population living in Iraq are far greater. Under pressure, the Pentagon has been forced to acknowledge Gulf War Syndrome, nut hey are still stonewalling any connection to DU.

Communities near DU weapons plants, testing facilities, bases and arsenals have also been exposed to this radioactive material which has a half-life of 4.4 billion years. DU-weapons are deployed with U.S. troops in Bosnia. The spreading toxicity of depleted uranium threatens life everywhere.

DU weapons are not conventional weapons. They are highly toxic, radioactive weapons. All international law on warfare has attempted to limit violence to combatants and to prevent the use of cruel and unfocused weapons. International agreements and conventions have tried to protect civilians and non-combatants from the scourge of war and to outlaw the destruction of the environment and the food supply in order to safeguard life on earth.

Consequently, DU weapons violate international law because of their inherent cruelty and unconfined death-dealing effect. They threaten civilian populations now and for generations to come. These are precisely the weapons and uses prohibited by international law for more than a century including the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols Additional of 1977.



International Conference

Depleted Uranium: Health, Ecological, Economic and Legal aspects of the use of radioactive conventional weapons

Arab Cause Solidarity Committee
Gijón. November, 2000


The participants of the International Conference Depleted Uranium: Health, Ecological, Economic and Legal aspects of the use of radioactive conventional weapons, held in Gijon, Spain, on 25th & 26th November 2000, organized by the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee in the frame of the Spanish Campaign for Lifting the Sanctions on Iraq,

Having been informed of the massive, indiscriminate and premeditated use of Depleted Uranium (D.U.) munitions in the 1991 war against Iraq, resulting in grave consequences to the health and environment, and its use once again against Yugoslavia in 1999.

Taking into consideration the evidences of the link between the use of DU munitions in the test places and in the military interventions in Iraq and Yugoslavia with the increase of health problems among the combatants and the civilian population.

Taking into consideration the text of the VI Hague Convention, the 1949 Geneva Convention and the two additional Protocols related to the restrictions and the use of force in military conflicts and the protection of civil population in times of war, the UN Charter and the universal declaration of Human Rights as well as the Resolutions of the UN General Assembly. Also Resolution 1196/16 dated 29 August 1996 of the subcommittee for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which called on the UN Secretary General should submit a report on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons containing DU.

Also taking into consideration the Resolutions on the matter issued by various International Organizations, among them, the 1996 Resolution of the International Action Center, the may 1999 Baghdad Conference Resolution on DU,


  1. That munitions and military equipment made with DU be considered as NON-conventional weapons highly dangerous to the health of peoples and the environment.
  2. The use of munitions made with DU be considered as war crime and a crime against humanity, strongly punishable by International Law.
  3. Placing an International ban on the Manufacturing, Storage, Marketing, Possession, testing and Using of DU munitions and all types of military equipment made with DU.
  4. The destruction of all types of munitions and military equipment made with DU, putting the waste into safe storage.
  5. The decontamination of areas polluted through the use of DU munitions and equipment both near places of manufacturing and testing of DU and in battle fields where it has been used, in particular the Gulf and the Balkan regions, specifically in Iraq and Yugoslavia.
  6. That the International community provides technical and health assistance both to Iraq and Yugoslavia. This assistance is meant to help all those affected by contamination resulting from the use of DU munitions.
  7. That the U.S. and British Governments, and all other NATO members provide full details of the use of these munitions so that they can be removed. These countries are held responsible for the dire consequences of the use of these weapons and therefore should bear the responsibility of cleaning the polluted areas and providing full compensation for all the damages resulting from their aggressions against Iraq and Yugoslavia.
  8. The immediate and complete lifting of the Sanctions imposed on Iraq in order that the people and the government of Iraq can face the dire consequences of the massive use of these weapons during the 1991 aggression, and the repeated aggressions still being waged daily until now in the so called 'No Fly Zones'.
  9. The commitment of the UN Secretary General to take the appropriate measures so that the International organization immediately take steps to carefully analyse the effects on health and the environment of the use of DU armaments, based on the accumulated evidences of the past few years. Also to take the necessary measures to prohibit the use of these weapons.

We finally declare our full solidarity and support to those persons affected by the use of DU weapons in Iraq and Yugoslavia and all those affected by them including war veterans. We also extend our solidarity to the Palestinian people.

Gijón, 26th of November 2000