Emma Bonino – Iraq Vigil and International Women’s Day

Women’s Parliamentary Radio

For immediate release
January 24th 2011

Emma Bonino – Vice President of the Italian Senate – Iraq Vigil and 100 years of International Women’s Day

Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate, and a Radical Party member, flew into London to join an all night vigil against the Iraq war, while Tony Blair was giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry.

She is known for her work on human and civil rights issues, such as “against hunger in the world” and for her campaigns for women’s rights including campaigning against female genital mutilation. She is also a founding member of “No Peace without Justice”, supporting the creation of the International Criminal Court. She has received several international awards, including the “2004 Open Society Prize” for her outstanding achievements as a female world leader.

In an Exclusive interview she tells Boni Sones OBE, Executive Producer of http://www.wpradio.co.uk why she joined the vigil and why she will be “passionately” supporting 100 years of International Women’s day in March 2011! On Iraq she said:

• “We have been collecting a substantial dossier since February 2003, and all the papers and reports we have, make it possible that the initiative of the Emirates plus Jordan and Saudi’s had convinced Saddam Hussein to go into exile and it would have been possible to avoid the war. This is not new evidence, but we have been campaigning and distributing this dossier for two or three years, and we knew that in February 2003 President Bush had told others that he had been told Saddam was willing to go and it was a possibility at that time. I was at that time living in Cairo and I perfectly remember the meetings of the Arab leagues concerned.”

• “I am not in a position to make any particular judgement on the Iraq Inquiry, but I am concerned the private letters between Blair and Bush have not been made public and the Ministry has kept them secret, I am disturbed by this. Also I am disturbed by the fact that the simple question of whether Tony Blair knew Saddam was willing to go into exile has never been asked.”

• “People understand the position to go into the War was a political decision and not substantiated – weapons of mass destruction have never been found. Hans Blix said the Iraqi’s had opened the doors and were co-operating, but the UK side said inspections were useless, so I think people had the feeling going into war was not properly motivated.”

• “The real tool that we have is to say the truth matters, then we can put this to rest. We should not hide anything, democracy should be more open and more transparent. For the moment we are still fighting to get the truth out, and we are trying to have an Iraq commission too in Italy and using the tools in place.”

• “I think transparency is very important and to state the truth is the best way to make governments more careful next time they are facing such a decision. Impunity is not a good way forward, and if the truth comes next time everybody will be more cautious.”

On 100 years of International Women’s Day in March 2011 Emma Bonino said:

• “There is much more activity on women’s rights in Africa and even in the Arab World…where I think there is less activity is in parts of the European World, but I must say I see a lot of movement and determination in other parts of the World where women are willing to take their place in their societies.”

• “I think sometimes you have periods in some societies where the women’s movement is more vibrant and luckily there are women in other parts of the World who are active on their own so the campaign “Women on the Bridge” on International Women’s Day in March is very, very, important to me.”

• “I strongly believe that in many parts of the World, the women are the element for change so I think continuing to be interested in women is not diminishing in a political career I think it is a fantastic tool – I cannot avoid it I am so interested and so passionate. Women’s rights can make a better World.”