Human Cost of Uranium Weapons exhibition in Belgian Parliament for passage of Belgian DU ban
Speakers at the opening event included Patrick Dewael - Chairman of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (Open VLD, Liberal Democrat Party), Dirk Van der Maelen - Vice-Chairman of the Chamber and Member of Parliament (SP.A, Social Democrat Party), Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, oncologist from Basrah, Iraq and Ria Verjauw, member of the Belgian Coalition and ICBUW Steering Committee member.
MP Dirk Van der Maelen
During the speeches strong appeals were made by Dirk Van der Maelen and Ria Verjauw for the Belgian government and its politicians to work cooperatively with other countries on diplomatic initiatives in order to establish a worldwide ban. Dirk Van der Maelen, who had originally submitted the Belgian law, said that: “after the Ottawa treaty and the Oslo treaty we hope to have a Brussels treaty that bans uranium weapons.”
Dr Jawad Al-Ali
Dr Jawad Al-Ali, head of the Oncology Center at the Al Sader Teaching Hospital in Basrah was a guest speaker. He spoke about the unusual increases in cancers in the southern regions of Iraq. Regions where armour-piercing projectiles containing DU were used on a massive scale in the 1991 Gulf War and again in the 2003 conflict.
After the speeches, guests were given a guided tour around the exhibition to see Naomi Toyoda’s photos. The images were taken during several trips to Iraq, both before and after the 2003 invasion. The well-travelled exhibition has been held at parliaments and events across the world, in locations as diverse as Edinburgh, San Jose and Helsinki.
The exhibition is open during office hours untill the 21st of July 2009 at Leuvenseweg 13 in Brussels, which is 10 minutes walk from Brussels Central Train Station (http://www.dekamer.be). Tour guides who accompany the tourists that visit the parliament every day will issue information on uranium weapons and the images will also be a striking reminder for the Belgian politicians, who will pass them on a daily basis.