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Coronavirus Pandemic: Economic Sanctions Should be Lifted – UN Special Rapporteur

Unic Press UK: A United Nations (UN) human rights expert, Hilal Elver, denounced Tuesday international sanctions, calling that such measures that significantly disrupt the society should be lifted immediately to halt deepening hunger crises in countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hilal Elver, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, underlined that:

“The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and, to a lesser degree, Zimbabwe, to name the most prominent instances, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food,” said Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. These countries are already under stress and cannot handle the additional burden of sanctions. As the world exhibits new bonds of solidarity in response to the pandemic, it is now a matter of humanitarian and practical urgency to lift unilateral economic sanctions immediately. With connectivity among States more apparent than ever, it is clearly in the interest of all States, even those imposing sanctions, to immediately terminate such aggressive policies that weaken our institutional capacity to cope with the spreading pandemic.”

Elver underscored the fact that sanctions bring about significant disruptions in peace time, much less amid the current global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“History has shown that unilateral economic sanctions generally have dramatic and detrimental impacts on economic, social and cultural rights. As a result, the wellbeing of the civilian populations becomes severely compromised,” the Special Rapporteur added.

The Special Rapporteur urged the international community to take into account the fact that there are civilians trapped in theaters of conflict [Yemen, South Sudan, Gaza, Syria and in refugee camps] where their right to food is being denied.

 

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