8 Dec 2004
Dear Prime Minister,
The medical journal The Lancet recently published a study that
estimates the post-invasion Iraqi death toll at 98,000. The same study
reported that the risk of death from violence among Iraqis is vastly
higher than it was before the war began. You have rejected these
findings, but offer no comparable assessment of your own.
As you know, your government is obliged under international
humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military
operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so.
However, without counting the dead and injured, no one can know whether
Britain and its Coalition partners are meeting these obligations.
We therefore urge you immediately to commission a comprehensive,
independent inquiry to determine with the greatest possible accuracy
how many Iraqis have died or been injured since March 2003 - and the
cause of those casualties.
The inquiry should be independent of government, conducted according to
accepted scientific methods and subjected to peer review so that all
parties can be confident of the findings. It should report regularly to
Parliament and the public for as long as British forces remain in Iraq.