On 02 June 2020, the Permanent Missions of Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe to the United Nations, in New York, jointly co-hosted a webinar on “The Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCMs) on the Global Fight Against the COVID-19: Upholding the UN Charter, Promoting International Cooperation and Ensuring that No One is Left Behind in Times of Pandemic”.
Humanity is currently facing one of the greatest emergencies in the past hundred years, as a result of a pandemic that knows no border and that discriminate in no single manner. The COVID-19 has shown, among others, the inequities of our world, in which developing countries are struggling with greater challenges in the fight against the disease. Countries subjected to unilateral coercive measures have an additional burden. Their populations, which amount to over one third of humanity, according to UN independent experts, thus, face additional challenges, particularly those in the most vulnerable sectors of society. The application of the so-called sanctions, for instance, undermines the national efforts of those countries to effectively tackle the pandemic, as it puts additional obstacles for having access to supplies and equipment, medicines, medical assistance, and personal protective equipment, as recently recognized by the UN Secretary-General.
This crisis shall bring out the best of humanity. There is an increasing need for collective, coordinated and decisive action. Therefore, the catastrophe of the novel coronavirus disease shall be an opportunity to build back better; an opportunity for solidarity in action; an opportunity for yielding to the global cry for lifting sanctions, in the interest of saving the greater possible number of lives and ensuring the wellbeing of the peoples of the world, including the full realization of their human rights to health and life.
This webinar was intended at raising awareness of the difficulties posed by the continued application of unilateral coercive measures, in the midst of a pandemic, while discussing possible ways forward, mindful of the fact that we are not safe until all of us are safe and that, in this connection, impeding medical efforts in one country through the imposition of sanctions heightens the risk for the entire humanity. The webinar was moderated by H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Panelists included: 1. Ms. Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights 2. Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, Economist, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University 3. Mr. Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division at UNCTAD 4. Mr. Daniel Kovalik, Human Rights and Labour Attorney 5. Mr. Carlos Maria Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre 6. Melik Ozden, Director of the Europe-Third World Centre (CETIM)