On November 25th local time, the Permanent Missions of China, Niger, Russia, South Africa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations jointly held an Aria-mode video conference on “Immediately End Unilateral Coercive Measures” in New York. Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, presided over and more than 70 countries attended the meeting.
Most countries expressed serious concern about the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, pointed out that they seriously undermined the socio-economic and livelihood development of the affected countries, and demanded that the countries concerned immediately eliminate unilateral coercive measures. Many countries welcomed the convening of this meeting and appreciated the efforts of China and other co-organizers to promote the lifting of unilateral coercive measures.
Niger, Russia, South Africa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said that the meeting provided a platform for Member States to exchange views on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures.
The negative impact of unilateral coercive measures such as financial and trade embargoes is self-evident, and the people in the affected countries have suffered injustice and suffered, and their basic lives have been seriously affected.
The lifting of unilateral coercive measures helps to help affected countries fight against the COVID-19 epidemic more vigorously. A people should not be punished with unilateral coercive measures, and the international community should take immediate action.
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, Quiñón, President of the United Nations Association in Cuba, Elksoussi, Secretary-General of the Syrian Red Crescent Society, and Mshilipili, associate professor of Central State University of Zimbabwe, briefed on the serious impact of unilateral coercive measures.
Dudi said that unilateral coercive measures blocked the access of affected countries to international trade, and people could not normally purchase basic humanitarian materials such as food, medical care, and even obtain effective information through the Internet and other channels, which is contrary to the promotion and protection of human rights.
Especially during the COVID-19 epidemic, the basic right of people to survival and development is seriously threatened, and vulnerable groups such as women, children and difficult immigrants have suffered.
Other informants pointed out that civilians were the biggest victims of unilateral coercive measures, taking into account their own experience.
The unilateral coercive measures taken by the United States, the European Union and others hinder people’s access to medical care, education, drinking water, basic living services, etc., which have a serious impact on the flow of funds, material procurement and medical conditions of humanitarian relief agencies, delaying the reconstruction and economic development process of post-conflict countries, and aggravating the poverty of the population.
The normal entry and exit activities of the population in the affected countries are also severely restricted. All the informants called for the immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures.
Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries affected by unilateral coercive measures have a number of negative effects of unilateral coercive measures, introduced the difficulties it has brought to fight the epidemic, and stressed that unilateral coercive measures seriously undermine the socio-economic development of the affected countries and hinder the well-being of the people.
Unilateral coercive measures undermine the rights to life, health and decent life of the people of the sanctioned countries, resulting in the lack of timely access to basic medical supplies in the countries concerned, and disproportionately affected vulnerable groups such as women, children and the disabled.
During the epidemic, the intensification of blockades and sanctions seriously damaged the ability of relevant countries to purchase important medical supplies and greatly hindered economic and social development. Call on the international community to take immediate and effective action, and urge the countries concerned to immediately lift unilateral coercive measures.
In his concluding remarks, Zhang Jun said that unilateral coercive measures violate the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. The purpose of unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States and other countries is to suppress the legitimate government of the country concerned and even attempt to change power.
This practice is seriously contrary to the basic norms of international relations and is extremely harmful to multilateralism. Unilateral coercive measures hinder humanitarian action in fragile countries.
Financial flows, energy imports, access to medicines, etc. are essential to humanitarian work, but they face difficulties due to unilateral coercive measures. So-called humanitarian exemptions have no effect, especially in humanitarian emergencies, and humanitarian workers’ access has been repeatedly denied and prolonged delays.
Unilateral coercive measures have weakened the health capacity of affected countries and mobilized the ability to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, endangering global solidarity and international cooperation. No responsible country should ignore these facts. Unilateral coercive measures must be lifted to ensure a comprehensive, effective and efficient response to the epidemic by all Member States.
Zhang Jun stressed that the international community should take immediate action. The United Nations Resident Coordinator shall conduct an assessment in the affected country and report in due course.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs should study and document the humanitarian impact of unilateral coercive measures and submit special reports to the Council. The Council should pay close attention to the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the countries and populations concerned.
The General Assembly should follow up on the progress of the implementation of its resolutions. Member States need to respond to the appeal of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights with concrete actions.
Non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, humanitarian workers and the media are encouraged to collect information on the challenges posed by unilateral coercive measures and make it public to the world to jointly oppose such unfair behavior.
Unilateral coercive measures usually refer to the economic measures taken by one country to force another country to change its policies, such as trade sanctions in the form of embargoes, cutting off financial and investment flows between countries.
Unilateral coercive measures violate the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, violate international law, and seriously hinder the economic development and health capacity of the affected countries.
In the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, their negative impact is further a cause for concern. The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the High Commissioner for Human Rights both called for the lifting of sanctions that weaken the ability of countries to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic, and many leaders also called for the lifting of unilateral coercive measures in the general debate of the 75th session of the General Assembly.
On October 5, China, on behalf of 26 countries, addressed the general debate of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, stressing that unilateral coercive measures should be completely lifted immediately.
The Aria model meeting is a flexible and informal communication mechanism between Council members and United Nations Member States and relevant parties on issues of common concern.
This meeting was held at the initiative of China, Russia and other countries. It is the first time that Council members have discussed the issue of unilateral coercive measures through the Arria model.