Each year, the AMAR International Charitable Foundation manages to ensure 700,000 people in Iraq are seen by a qualified doctor. It delivers almost 100,000 vaccinations and helps educate 35,000 children and adults every month. It has developed unique programmes to help combat gender-based violence and empowers women to gain the skills to develop their own careers and look after their families.
Meanwhile another not-for-profit organisation, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), helps promote industry and commerce in Iraq, with the aim of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for the country’s beleaguered population.
Both the AMAR International Charitable Foundation and the IBBC were founded and are now run by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and a former Member of the British Parliament. She receives no salary at all from either organisation.
Your correspondent, the Iraqi author, Haifa Zangana, recently launched an unprovoked attack on Baroness Nicholson.
Ms Zangana claimed Emma – as the Baroness prefers to be called – was a politician “cashing [in] on behalf of her political party and government”. On the contrary, Emma’s main concern is providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis. Emma’s actions speak for themselves. She understands very well the complicated politics of Iraq, and has personally witnessed many terrible human rights abuses. Instead of standing by whilst the people of Iraq suffer, Emma uses her political skill to ensure that the charitable programmes of the AMAR charitable foundation and the IBBC help as many people as they possibly can.
The author accuses Emma of ‘double standards’ in the condemnation of Saddam Hussein’s odious regime of terror, and suggests that her actions ‘legitimise the rise to extremism’. Emma has devoted her life and career to the promotion of human rights and humanitarian causes. To suggest otherwise is a lie and amounts to an attack on her reputation.
The AMAR charitable foundation and the IBBC would like to invite the author to help with their humanitarian causes and to see at first-hand how they work. That would be far more valuable to the struggling nation of Iraq than promoting falsehoods about one of its staunchest champions.
Robert Cole is head of Head of Communications, AMAR International Charitable Foundation & Iraq Britain Business Council.