Economic Sanctions and Human Rights

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Publish Date : 12/14/2014 16:56
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Economic Sanctions and Human Rights
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Letters are not case-sensitive
Multilateral and unilateral economic sanctions imposed on Iran are contrary to the following principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration begins with the preamble that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. As we see in the following, economic sanctions seriously undermine freedom, democracy, justice and peace both inside a society and at international level.

According to the preamble “human beings shall enjoy … freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people”. Limiting the access of Iranian people to International trade and financial system has clearly put in danger the life of millions of people. An economic sanction clearly prevents a nation from achieving what has been called as “the highest aspiration of the common people”. According to the forth paragraph “it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations”. The EU and the US sanctions have not contributed and will never contribute to such a relation between Iran, EU and the US nations. To the contrary, it is destroying existing relations among our nations.
Base on Article 1. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The US and EU sanctions are limiting freedom and rights of the people in some specific countries and are far from “a spirit of brotherhood”. They contribute to enmity among nations with severe consequences.
According to Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs. Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran are discriminatory and the whole nuclear problem began with discrimination of Western countries against Iran.
Furthermore, Iranian people, especially those who are living in the US and EU, are discriminated while they have nothing to do with nuclear issue. Closing banking accounts of Iranians or preventing students who study in the West from receiving money for their family and preventing them from studying some courses in Western universities are clear violations of the article.
According to Article three “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Current sanctions against Iran have clearly endangered all aspects of life and security of Iranians. By limiting access of the people to medicine, Gasoline, job etc; they have endangered job security, health security and in general human security.
Based on Article 5, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, Crippling sanctions are leading to mass suffering and mass punishment. How western governments can justify punishing 75 million people for a crime that they have not committed.
Article 7th says “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. It is true about nations because sovereignty rights are also the right of all individuals who live in a country. And that’s the basis of equality of nations. Iran as a NPT member has fully implemented its commitments according to NPT while the EU and the US try to impose discriminatory obligations on Iranian people by passing UNSC resolutions.
The US and EU have begun to target specific individuals in the Islamic Republic. These behaviors are contrary to the Article 10 of the Declaration. According to this article “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” The US and EU behaviors are arbitrary in this regard. They enlist individuals and institutions without any clear charges. They are using economic measures to achieve political purposes.
According to Article 12, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Naming individuals and companies in the declarations and resolutions and imposing penalties on them undermine the reputation of individuals and are clear interference and attacks against them without letting them know their charges before. If individuals are subjects to international law, individual rights are also should be observed.
Article 18th, 19th and 20th are about freedom of thought, expression and assembly as the most important rights that Western countries emphasize too much on them. During the past few years in numerous cases we have witnessed that assemblies related to Iran has been canceled, publication of opinions by those who support Iran’s rights has been limited and recently Iranian TVs have been removed from Satellites. These are all violation of basic human rights.
According to Article 23(1) “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” Economic sanctions against Iran have destroyed favorable conditions for work and endangered job security. Furthermore, by weakening the middle class, it has undermined democracy, too. It is not acceptable to say that the Iranian government is responsible because, according to IAEA reports, Iranian government has fully implemented all its obligations.
The US and EU sanctions clearly violate Article 25 (1). Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Every day we have the news about degradation of living standards and health in Iran and death of patients in Iranian hospitals because of shortage of medicine. These are consequence of preventing Iran from having access to international markets that have nothing to do with nuclear facilities. As humanitarian consequences of sanctions against Iraq during 1990s demonstrated, these economic pressures will lead to malnutrition among women and children. For the same reasons that the life of innocent people should be taken into account in time of military strike, international community should pay attention to human and humanitarian costs and damages that are imposed on targeted society in times of economic war.

These behaviors has put into question legitimacy and credibility of the West and undermined its positions around the world. Unfortunately mainstream media in the EU and the US are controlling public opinion and there is no democracy on foreign policy issues. As Afghanistan and Iraq cases proved, it may be possible to win a war by economic sanctions and military intervention but not the peace. To win the peace the US and EU need to practice human rights and democracy, not preach them. Economic sanctions violate the first and undermine the second.
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Created by: Nabi Sonboli at Monday, 28.October 2013 - 11:41

“ Economic Sanctions and Human Rights ”