Letter re Status of Forces

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Below is the text of a letter sent to the Prime Minister on 9 October 2014. Similar letters were sent to the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister.


9 October 2014

The Hon. Tony Abbott MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

Dear Mr Abbott

The Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry has repeatedly expressed concern about the manner in which Australia entered the war in Iraq in 2003. Our organisation is equally concerned about the present situation, and the fact that errors of the past are seemingly being repeated.

We and our members are particularly anxious that whatever Australia does should meet the three tests of international law which would legitimate the deployment of Australian forces to another country: that it responds to an immediate threat, to a resolution of the UN Security Council, or to an invitation from the government of the country involved.

Ministers have been quoted several times in the media, anticipating a formal invitation from Iraq to send Australian forces. If such an invitation has been received, orally or in writing, from Iraq, we invite you to announce it publicly, and to table it in the Parliament without delay. As you will appreciate, without such evidence that our armed presence is accepted, the legality of Australia’s actions could be in doubt.

A related issue concerns the Status of Forces Agreement which is to apply to Australians in Iraq. If such an agreement has not been concluded, we consider that Australian public should be informed as to the issues of concern to the Iraqi Government that are delaying its progress. If no such agreement is reached, then the continued presence of Australian forces in Iraq must be questioned.

We seek your assurance that the Australian public will be notified promptly when the Status of Forces Agreement has been finalised, and that its contents will be made public.

Yours sincerely

Paul Barratt


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