United Nations

A group of United Nations (UN) experts on Friday called for the lifting of all unilateral sanctions, so that people in countries under sanctions can protect themselves against COVID-19.

“Sanctions should be lifted, or at a minimum eased, so people can get basics like soap and disinfectants to stay healthy, and so that hospitals can get ventilators and other equipment to keep people alive,” they said in a press statement.

“Sanctions that were imposed in the name of delivering human rights are in fact killing people and depriving them of fundamental rights, including the rights to health, to food and to life itself,” said the UN experts.

Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said that sanctions are bringing suffering and death in countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

Other experts — including Obiora Okafor, the UN independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, Michael Fakhri, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, and Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions — joined Douhan in signing Friday’s statement.

The experts also welcomed efforts by many states, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to try to help sanctioned countries fight COVID-19.

“We particularly welcome the willingness of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, China, the United States and other donors to ship much needed medical supplies,” they said in the statement.

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