News ID: 267222
Published: 1141 GMT April 03, 2020

UNGA fails to condemn US unilateral sanctions against other countries

UNGA fails to condemn US unilateral sanctions against other countries
UN photo

The UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution for the first time on the coronavirus pandemic, calling for “multilateralism” in the fight against the virus, but failed to condemn unilateral US sanctions against countries.

The resolution approved on Thursday urged for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the COVID-19 disease,” Press TV reported.

It recognized the pandemic’s “severe disruption to societies and economies, as well as to global travel and commerce, and the devastating impact on the livelihood of people.”

The resolution also stressed that “the poorest and most vulnerable are the hardest hit” and must be helped.

It was the first resolution adopted by the 193-member world body on the virus that has infected 1,015,709 people and killed 53,069 others globally, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The UN resolution stresses “the need for full respect for human rights” and that “there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic.”

The assembly, however, failed to approve another resolution that was calling for an end to trade wars, protectionist practices and US unilateral sanctions on countries across the world.

The draft text called for a general lifting of international sanctions that hamper efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Ukraine and Georgia objected to the draft that was sponsored by Russia, according to diplomats.

The resolution was supported by the Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Following the vote, the Russia’s permanent mission to the UN General Assembly in a statement criticized the countries that blocked the UN move.

"As it is known, our document failed to be adopted by consensus. Ukraine, Georgia, UK, US, and EU prevented it. We regret that a small group of states championing sanctions-based policy appeared unready to respond to the call of the UN Secretary General and refused to cast aside politicized approaches and interests," Russian mission said.

This step, the mission went on, indicates that "it will be much more difficult to give a global and solidary response to the threat of the new pandemic," which may affect many people, especially in developing countries.

"We would be very interested to hear and see in writing reasoning and arguments for blocking our draft Declaration by the EU, US and UK. We would be willing and happy to spare and exempt Ukraine and Georgia from undertaking this exercise, as their arguments, as ever contemptuous and politicized, would not add any value to the understanding by most of the member states," the statement said.

The mission noted that Russia would continue coordination on the issue with like-minded countries and expressed hope that all the interested nations would join the call for cooperation in the face of the pandemic.

At a time of the pandemic, world leaders have repeatedly called for a suspension of US economic sanctions on some countries.

US President Donald Trump, however, insisted that his administration would continue with its policy of maximum pressure against various countries, including Iran, Iraq and Venezuela.

UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, called earlier this week for the lifting of sanctions to ensure that food supplies reach people during the fight against coronavirus in several counties.

“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 Elver.

Elver said that it was a matter of “humanitarian and practical urgency to lift unilateral economic sanctions immediately.”

Last week, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet also appealed for easing or suspending the debilitating sanctions.

“It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion,” she said

She said, “Obstacles to the import of vital medical supplies …will create long-lasting harm to vulnerable communities.”



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