The United Nations Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly to condemn sanctions. The only countries that expressed support for the tool of economic warfare were the United States, Britain, European Union member states, Georgia, and Ukraine.
Sanctions are formally known as unilateral coercive measures, and they violate international law.
On 3 April, the UN Human Rights Council voted with 33 members in support of and 13 against a resolution that “urges all States to stop adopting, maintaining, implementing or complying with unilateral coercive measures”.
The document, A/HRC/52/L.18, “urges the removal of such measures, as they are contrary to the [UN] Charter and norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States”.
The resolution was submitted by Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
It illustrated how UN votes are often the West versus the rest of the world:
- Costa Rica
- Cote d’Ivoire
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
— UN Human Rights Council 📍#HRC52 (@UN_HRC) April 3, 2023
The resolution stated that it “strongly condemns the continued unilateral application and enforcement by certain powers of such measures as tools of pressure, including political and economic pressure, against any country, particularly against least developed and developing countries, with a view to preventing these countries from exercising their right to decide, of their own free will, their own political, economic and social systems”.
This is a clear reference to Washington’s blockades of Cuba and Venezuela, which aim to overthrow the country’s socialist governments, and which clearly violate international law.
The resolution added that sanctions cause “serious violations of human rights of targeted populations”, with “particular consequences for women, children, including adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities”.
The document cited many past UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions and reports by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that also condemned unilateral sanctions.
The West’s imposition of unilateral sanctions has skyrocketed in recent decades.
According to a 2021 Treasury review, 9,421 parties were sanctioned by the US government at the end of that year, a staggering 933% increase since 2000.
More than one-third of the global population lives in countries that are suffering under sanctions.