HR chief underlines global consensus against US' cruel sanctions

Secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Kazem Gharibabadi has stressed the necessity of global consensus against the US' cruel sanctions.

Speaking in a virtual seminar examining the impacts of unilateral coercive measures with the presence of the UN Special Rapporteur on the issue of unilateral coercive measures, the Deputy Minister of Economy of Venezuela and the ambassadors and permanent representatives of Russia, Belarus, Iran, and China, which was held in Vienna, Gharibabadi said, “It is time for the International Community to reject such criminal acts and to call upon the US to immediately lift all its unlawful sanctions”.

“One of the characteristics of contemporary history is the tendency of several countries, especially the United States, to apply unilateral coercive measures against target countries in order to achieve their foreign policy goals,” he stated.

“The US is using this as a tool to make an impact on or compel a change in, the policy of another State. During the past decades, the US has spared all its efforts to resort to trade sanctions, interrupting financial and investment flows, asset freezes, travel bans, to name just a few, in order to impose its will over another State," he noted.

Acting as a self-declared global police, it is trampling on every international law and norms. For instance, since 1984, it has imposed more than 27 different sanction regimes on various States”, Gharibabadi said.

“Much has been said about the negative impacts of the UCMs on the enjoyment of human rights and still more remains to be said. What matters most, however, is how could we make a change on the ground. How could the international community forge a general understanding in objection to the UCM? How could we sensitize the public opinion, especially in the West about the gravity of the humanitarian consequences of unilateral sanctions?”

“The UCM, as a whole is a State unilateral act which includes a wide range of punitive and restrictive financial, banking, and commercial measures against another State in pursuit of its foreign policy agendas. While States are free to choose their economic partners, they are not allowed, under international law, to coercively interfere with the economic relations of other States by weaponizing their dominant economic/currency power. The UCMs in the sense contradict the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including the principles of self-determination as well as the principle of international cooperation among States”. 

“The UCMs are wrongful acts imposed unilaterally and enforced rather collectively by will or by force. Wrongful acts entail international responsibility of the perpetrating State and entitle the injured State to seek compensation. UCMs are criminal, as well, because of their lethal impacts on the whole population by subjecting the people to severe economic hardship and denying their normal access to basic commodities. Unilateral sanctions have caused massive indiscriminate arbitrary deaths by starvation, for instance. This means that crafting mechanisms to hold the imposing States accountable must be part of any credible legal discourse on the UCMs”. 

“If UCMs are wrongful, their recognition and implementation by other States lack any legal/moral justification, too. States are obliged under International Law not to recognize and give any effect to the consequences of any wrongful act. They should not then enforce unilateral sanctions; otherwise, they could be held to account as complicit in the crime. What is generally referred to as 'Secondary Sanctions' entails the responsibility of the States that are enforcing the sanctions either willfully or reluctantly. The UCMs qualify as a flagrant violation of International Human Rights Law when they cause, aimed at, or lead to, violation of fundamental human rights of the targeted populations,” he reiterated.

“Although it is always proclaimed that sanctions are aimed at States, it is the people of the States who suffer the most. Sanctions usually have disproportionate impacts on the rights of people as envisaged in the |International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Sanctions endanger the right to life, challenge the right to self-determination, and weaken the educational and health regimes. Furthermore, the imposition of sanctions with negative human rights effects is illegitimate in accordance with the relevant International Law, and not only the imposing States are responsible for their violation of human rights, but other States are also bound by such measures. The UCMs are antithetical to the right to development, as well. Unilateral sanctions coerce economic operators away from doing normal business with the targeted country and impede the development of industrial infrastructures and the transfer of technology. Unilateral sanctions also negatively impact the right to development by violating the right to education of the targeted people.”

“Because of such costly and predictable implications of sanctions, they should be seen as weapons of warfare and means of aggression. Economic sanctions are, in fact, collective punishment of the ordinary people, contrary to the objectives and purposes of human rights, and should be considered crimes against humanity. We should stand firm in the defense of the principles of the right to self-determination, non-intervention, and equality of nations, with the conviction that multilateralism and International Law should be the answer to UCMs”.

“While the US government claims to have considered exemptions for humanitarian imports in its sanctions regime”, he said adding that these exemptions have failed to counterbalance the unwillingness of businesses, companies, and banks to take risks by exporting or financing exempted humanitarian goods.

“it is time for the International Community to reject such criminal acts and to call upon the US to immediately lift all its unlawful sanctions. We call upon all in the International Community to help establish a global consensus against such inhumane acts,” Gharibabadi stressed.

News ID 196559

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