British Human Shields Exit Iraq for Home
- British Human Shields Exit Iraq for Home
By Associated Press
March 2, 2003, 10:16 AM EST
LONDON -- A dozen peace activists who went to Iraq to serve as
human shields in the event of war returned home amid fears for
their safety, a spokesman said Sunday.
The protesters were among a group of mostly European activists
who drove from London to Baghdad in two double-decker buses last
month, intending to guard civilian sites from a U.S.-led military
Those who returned home had safety or financial concerns,
spokesman Christian Biggs said. About a dozen British citizens
were among several dozen human shields who remain in Baghdad.
"The aim was always a mass migration and if we had had five to
ten thousand people here there would never be a war," he said.
"We do not have those numbers."
Briggs told Britain's Press Association news agency that Iraq
limited the sites that human shields could visit. "Now we are
being told we cannot go to certain sites, such as hospitals, so
we are reassessing our strategy," he said.
U.S. officials have said that it is a war crime to use civilians
as human shields and that there's no way of guaranteeing their
On Friday, the head of Sweden's largest peace organization urged
human shields to leave Iraq, saying they were being used for
propaganda purposes by Saddam Hussein.
Maria Ermanno, chairwoman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration
Society, cited reports that Iraqi officials were arranging
transportation, accommodations and news conferences for the human
"To go down to Iraq and live and act there on the regime's
expense, then you're supporting a terrible dictator. I think that
method is entirely wrong," Ermanno told Swedish Radio.