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13 September 2021, 13:34

UN special rapporteur: Unilateral sanctions violate international law

MINSK, 13 September (BelTA) - Economic sanctions, which are imposed unilaterally and are an element of pressure on the domestic policy of an independent state, violate, among other things, the priority rights of citizens - the right to work, healthcare and food, UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights Elena Dovgan said at the international conference “Impact of Global Economic Challenges on Social and Labor Rights” which is underway in Minsk on 13-14 September, BelTA has learned.

“The world has faced an unprecedented practice of expanding the use of unilateral coercive measures. The vast majority of the applied sanctions do not meet the permitted international rights and criteria,” said Elena Dovgan.

Such methods affect virtually all categories of human rights and very broad segments of the population. The matter pertains first of all to the right to work, the right to healthcare, and the right to food. As an example, the UN Special Rapporteur cited the situation in some countries to which unilateral sanctions have been applied, in particular Venezuela and Iran.

“People are losing their jobs, unemployment is rising, poverty is rising, retirement benefits are falling to a minimum, and all the most vulnerable people are not protected. These are women, who are the first to lose their jobs and are vulnerable during pregnancy, childbirth and childcare. These are children who are undernourished. These are persons with disabilities and those suffering from serious chronic diseases. The right to health becomes extremely vulnerable. It becomes impossible or extremely problematic to purchase medicines, medical equipment. As the most sensational example, I can cite the blocking of every single bank in Iran, after which Iran was unable to purchase insulin. The lives of people with diabetes in the country were threatened. The same is true with respect to other medicines and medical care that are needed by the population of the state,” said Elena Dovgan.

Western politicians simply turn a blind eye to all these egregious facts and other possible consequences of sanctions. Such a policy undermines the foundations of international law.

The international conference is a platform not only to discuss current problems, but also an opportunity to develop and adopt together the necessary documents which will provide a legal assessment of the practice of unilateral restrictive measures. Plans are in place to send these materials to specialized UN institutions, in particular, the International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, and UNESCO in order to assess the consequences of the introduction of unilateral sanctions for the population and to use the protective mechanisms of these institutions in relation to the affected countries.

The forum was initiated by the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus. The idea was supported by the government and the employers' association.

The conference is attended by leading experts in the field of international law, representatives of the government, the judiciary, academia, political scientists, foreign ambassadors, heads of international trade union associations, and direct representatives of those businesses affected by the sanctions.

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