News ID: 267705
Published: 0450 GMT April 14, 2020

Political sanctions against Iran during coronavirus pandemic crime against humanity

Political sanctions against Iran during coronavirus pandemic crime against humanity

By Hamidreza Oraee*

"The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” According to the Constitution of World Health Organization.

These days the world is facing a dangerous virus which is affecting all humankind. Thousands of people are losing their lives because of this new disaster. This tragedy won’t come to an end if we don’t help each other.

Iran is suffering from brutal sanctions imposed by the US during the COVID-19 outbreak. These sanctions aim to block all of Iran’s relations with the world, making the fight against the virus arduous for the health sector of Iran. Lack of medical, pharmaceutical, and laboratory equipment, such as protective gowns and necessary medication, has increased the burden of the epidemic and the number of casualties.

Despite WHO and other international humanitarian organizations dispatching supplies and medical necessities, the speed of the outbreak and the detrimental effects of sanctions have resulted in reduced access to life-saving medicines and equipment, adding to the health sector’s pre-existing requirements for other difficult health conditions. It is shameful that besides the lives lost to this deadly virus, extreme sanctions limit access to necessary materials and therefore kill even more Iranian people.

As Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mentioned, “The US has gone from sabotage and assassinations, referring to the assassination of General [Qassem] Soleimani, to waging an economic war and economic terrorism on Iranians, to medical terror amidst the Covid-19 outbreak in Iran. These acts exceed what would be permissible on the battlefield.”

The wrongful acts of the US are obviously against the fundamental human rights and other international instruments. There are many legal instruments proving the claim.

 The unilateral bullying of the US is in violation of Article 3 (Everyone has the right to life…) and 5 (No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.    

These brutal acts are also an obvious example of crimes against humanity. According to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 7) "a crime against humanity" means …

(b) Extermination which “includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;

And (k) “inhumane acts … intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health”

As the International Law Commission defined in its 70th session in 2018, “jus cogens reflect and protect fundamental values of the international community, are hierarchically superior to other rules of international law, and are universally applicable.” Neglecting of them must not be tolerated by other members.

These are just a part of the legal international documents which show the breach of international law by the US.

Thanks to the collective consciousness, there are many objections against the medical terrorism and crimes against humanity of the US.

As Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food mentioned, “The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, and Cuba, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food.”

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for an easing of sanctions against countries such as Iran to allow their medical systems to fight the disease and limit its global spread.

A number of permanent missions of countries to the United Nations such as Angola, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Syria, Russia, Sudan, Venezuela, China, and Zimbabwe sent an open letter to Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, asking for the lifting of unilateral sanctions. They urged the UN to request the complete and immediate lifting of illegal, coercive and arbitrary measures of economic pressure in order to ensure the full, effective and efficient response of all members of the international community to the coronavirus, and to also reject the politicization of such a pandemic.

It requires a collective effort to stop the US from acting against international law and breaching fundamental human rights, whether in international organizations like the UN, including the UNSC, or other global, regional organizations. One of the good examples of the effort is the web-based campaign of corona2plus, which any person can play his/her role from home.

The eminent Persian poet Sa’di Shirazi said,

"Human beings are members of a whole, since in their creation they are of one essence. When the conditions of the time bring a member to pain, the other members will suffer from discomfort. You, who are indifferent to the misery of others, it is not fitting that they should call you a human being." 

*Hamidreza Oraee is the spokesperson of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Africa.


Source: Independent Online


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