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UN Human Rights Chief: End Venezuela Sanctions

The United Nations human rights chief has called for sanctions on Venezuela to be lifted, stating that they “exacerbated the economic crisis and hindered human rights” and created “hurdles” for “the country’s recovery and development”. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk visited Venezuela in January. There, he met with government officials, right-wing opposition leaders, civil society groups, and religious institutions. “I heard from across the spectrum of people I spoke to, including humanitarian actors and UN agencies, about the impact of sectorial sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of the population and the hurdles sanctions create for the country’s recovery and development, not least in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic”, Türk said.

Lawyers Ask Biden To Remove Cuba From State Sponsors Of Terrorism List

ACERE, the Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect, announces the release of a letter to President Biden signed by prominent lawyers nationwide expressing concern over the continued placement of Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) list. The letter, which was sent to the President today January 20th as he begins the second half of his term, highlights the lack of legal or moral justification for Cuba’s inclusion on the SSOT list, especially in light of the fact that it had been removed from the list just a few years prior by the Obama-Biden administration. The letter, which is signed by 160 lawyers, comes on the heels of a similar letter sent to the President by 18 former heads of state, as well as petitions signed by hundreds of civil society organizations and thousands of citizens, all calling for the United States to lift its embargo and for Cuba to be removed from the SSOT list.

Sanctions: A Wrecking Ball In A Global Economy

Sanctions imposed without United Nations endorsement are illegal. That is why they could be legally imposed on South Africa by a resolution of the UN General Assembly in 1962, but are unlawful when imposed by one government, often with selected allies, against any other country, for whatever reason. Known correctly as “unilateral coercive measures,” such actions are not only contrary to international law in themselves, but may lead to other breaches of the law if their effects are so severe as to become “crimes against humanity.” The report, Sanctions: A Wrecking Ball in a Global Economy, is a comprehensive overview of sanctions on more than 40 countries, imposed by the US and in turn by many of its allies.

How Western Sanctions Blow Back

Economic coercion, through the imposition of sanctions, is an act of war. Many of these sanctions have caused hardship, especially for the civilian populations of targeted countries. But just as a rifle recoils on the shooter’s shoulder, potentially causing injury, so too can sanctions backfire on the user. That is the title of a new book, “Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against U.S. Interests.” This is not to say that sanctions don’t cause suffering, but they have a mere 13% success rate in altering a targeted state’s behavior in the way desired. The failure of sanctions has long been recognized, although that seems not to have dampened U.S. persistence in adding ever more of them. The blowback effect has begun, and more is predictably on the horizon.

How Sanctions Contributed To Venezuela’s Economic Collapse

During the past decade, Venezuela lived through the largest economic contraction documented in the history of the Western Hemisphere. The implosion took place at the same time as the U.S. government barred oil purchases, froze government bank accounts, prohibited the country from issuing new debt, and seized tankers bound for Venezuela. One would think it should be self-evident that any account of Venezuela’s economic contraction would place economic sanctions in a central role. However, sanctions play a surprisingly limited role in most mainstream accounts of the Venezuelan crisis. A recent Council on Foreign Relations background piece on Venezuela mentioned sanctions only in passing and instead attributed the country’s economic collapse to “decades of poor governance” and the “perils of becoming a petrostate.”

US Spreads Misery By Imposing Sanctions On A Third Of Humanity

On November 14, the Biden administration announced yet another round of sanctions on Russia, targeting this time Russia’s military supply chains by imposing sanctions on 14 individuals and 28 entities that it said were part of a transnational network that procured technology to support Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine. One of the companies blacklisted was Milandr, a Russian microelectronics company that Washington says is part of Moscow’s military research and development structure. The sanctions additionally targeted several aviation-related companies and two individuals—Abbas Djuma and Tigran Khristoforovich Srabionov—who facilitated the Russian mercenary Wagner Group’s acquisition of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Iran, which have been used in the Ukraine War.

Venezuelan Children Continue To Die Under US Sanctions

Venezuelan human rights organization Fundalatin recently announced the death of Gabriel Cisneros, a Venezuelan child who could not receive a liver transplant because Washington’s murderous sanctions continue to paralyze the state-funded program that covered these procedures. Gabriel is sadly one more in a long list of victims of the US economic war. The Simón Bolívar Foundation is the social program of US-based Venezuelan oil subsidiary CITGO. It was created in 2006 by former President Hugo Chávez to help patients with rare cancers, especially children with leukemia, receive transplants and other life-saving treatments in hospitals abroad when these were not available in the country. However, financial sanctions imposed in 2017 against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, CITGO’s parent company, blocked the Venezuelan government from using the international financial system, thus impeding payments for kids' treatments.

UN Experts: US Sanctions Violate Iranians’ Human Rights

Top United Nations experts have criticized US government sanctions for violating the human rights of Iranians. They made it clear that the unilateral coercive measures that the United States has imposed on Iran violate international law. A group of UN special rapporteurs stressed that these sanctions have a “negative impact” on “the enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the Islamic Republic of Iran and on the right to health and the right to life.” Violating Iranians’ right to life is a roundabout diplomatic way of saying that US sanctions are killing them. The UN experts sent a formal letter to the United States condemning its sanctions and requesting that it investigate and remove them.

The Real Reason The US Is Against The Entire World On Cuba

The entire world just voted to end the 60-year blockade against Cuba…except for two countries. Can you guess which ones? (Luxembourg was neither of them.) I take you back to September 1961. The U.S. was a younger, naive nation. We drove around with children in our laps because the seatbelt law was still years away. And the top song of the day was Barry Mann’s “Who put the bomp into bomp bah bomp bah bomp?” (Turns out it was Henry Kissinger. He was a childlike 73 years old back then, and he was actually into “bomping” before he was into bombing.) In 1961 the United States began a massive embargo against the island country of Cuba. This was just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, in which the U.S. tried to retake Cuba from the communist revolutionaries who had wrested it away from the American-backed capitalist oligarchs.

UN Expert Calls For Lifting Unilateral Sanctions ‘Suffocating’ Syrian People

UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights Alena Douhan today urged sanctioning States to lift unilateral sanctions against Syria, warning that they were perpetuating and exacerbating the destruction and trauma suffered by the Syrian people since 2011. “I am struck by the pervasiveness of the human rights and humanitarian impact of the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the total economic and financial isolation of a country whose people are struggling to rebuild a life with dignity, following the decade-long war,” Douhan said. In a statement following her 12-day visit to Syria, the Special Rapporteur presented detailed information about the catastrophic effects of unilateral sanctions across all walks of life in the country.

World Calls For End To US Blockade On Cuba For 30th Time

The United Nations General Assembly has called for an end to the long-standing and genocidal U.S. blockade on Cuba for the 30th consecutive time, in a 185 to 2 vote, with 2 abstentions. The United States was joined by Israel in voting against, while Brazil and Ukraine abstained. The draft resolution on the ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’ was debated on Tuesday, November 2nd and Wednesday the 3rd, during which it was made clear that the United States remains isolated in pursuing its illegal blockade policy against Cuba. On Tuesday, the Assembly heard from groups and organizations which pronounced themselves in favor of the draft resolution: ASEAN, SICA, CELAC, G77 + China, CARICOM, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter and Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group.

New US Sanctions Are Designed To Hit Nicaragua’s Poorest Citizens

The Biden administration has announced new sanctions which are intended to hit the poorest Nicaraguans – both in their pockets and in the public services on which they depend. This latest attack on a small Central American country is, as usual, dressed up as promoting democracy: the sanctions will “deny the Ortega-Murillo regime the resources they need to continue to undermine democratic institutions in Nicaragua.” But everyone knows the real target is ordinary Nicaraguans who voted overwhelmingly to return a Sandinista government in last year’s elections. The new sanction are aimed at “Nicaragua’s gold industry,” with an implicit message that this hits President Daniel Ortega’s personal treasure chest. The reality is very different.

Ethiopia Nears Victory In Its Civil War, US Scrambles To Control The Outcome

The Ethiopian and Eritrean armies now seem close to winning a two-year war with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF,) a US-backed clique that ruled Ethiopia brutally for 27 years, from 1991 to 2018. As I write this, on October 24, 2022, Ethiopian and Eritrean forces are in control of most major cities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region. They are reported to have surrounded Mek’ele, the Tigrayan Region’s capital, but it’s not clear whether or not they are inside. On Saturday, October 22nd, huge crowds rallied for Ethiopian sovereignty in Addis Ababa and across the country, holding up signs that read “No More to a Proxy War,” “USA Respect Ethiopian Sovereignty,” and “No Intervention in the Name of Humanitarian Aid.” Establishment outlets including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News felt compelled to report the rallies.

Activists Slam Latest Sanctions Placed On Nicaragua By White House

The Biden administration said on Monday that it would ban US citizens from doing business with Nicaragua’s gold industry. The White House also raised the possibility that it may impose further trade restrictions on the central American nation, which could include stripping 500 government insiders of their US visas. Previous rounds of sanctions have focused on President Daniel Ortega, Vice-President Rosario Murillo, who is Mr Ortega’s wife, and members of their family. But the new executive order greatly expands a Trump-era decree by accusing Mr Ortega of hijacking democratic norms, undermining the rule of law and using political violence against opponents. The order will make it all but illegal for US citizen to do business with Nicaragua’s gold industry.

China Wary Of International Troop Deployment In Haiti

China supports sanctions against Haitian gang members and their supporters but is wary over the deployment of an international armed force in the country, said a Chinese envoy on Monday. "Rooting out the scourge of gang violence is both an entry point for any improvement in the current situation and a prerequisite for a solution in the country," said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, noting that China will support targeted sanctions, including a travel ban, assets freezes and arms embargo on gang members and their supporters. "We hope that these measures will be robust and effective and that they will make a true difference in deterring gang violence, cracking down on violent crimes, and cutting off the supply of funding and the weapons to criminal gangs," he told the Security Council.
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