International Sanctions: Violator of the Right...
The economic sanctions against Iran and their tightening up through the latest UN Security Council Resolution, without a doubt is a real incident and effective in the long run, and these sanctions have already increased the pain and suffering of the people. On the other hand, since the Iranian economy is tied with major international trading, is affected by sanctions by international banks. In the recent years Iranian international trade has been high towards domestic gross production. The total volume of international trade of the Iranian economy is approximately over 150 billion dollars. If the ratio of the domestic gross production which is over 280 billion dollars is taken into consideration, the rate of Iran’s foreign trade Is over 50 percent, and puts it in the top countries.
Therefore it can be said that Iran’s economy is almost international, and has a lot of international trading. Although the major part of this trade is on one hand based on oil exports and on the other hand goods imports, but this volume of trade can also bring about numerous problems for the Iranian economy. What is important here is that the economic growth of a country is facilitated through extensive intercommunications with international financial institutes, and sanctions by these institutes, will reduce the economic facilities of the country, be it the private or government sector.
Furthermore, the costs of trading will also rise. Therefore as well as suitable services and opportunities will not be available in different parts of the Iranian economy, higher costs must also be tolerated, and in this way the economy of the country must continue its life with minimal opportunities and maximum costs. Overall by creating a high risk environment, sanctions reduce inclinations for investment in economy and its output levels, and the inflation that has come about through these conditions, over the recent months has practically entered the lives of the people in such way that all sectors of society with all income levels do feel the bite of the rising prices within the country. Therefore the Iranian economy’s move towards development is at a very slow pace.
Overall the far reaching effects of the economic sanctions of a country can be reviewed from two angles. The first is the economic growth and development of a country requires to access production factors from different resources which can have satisfactory results in the economic growth. Therefore, in any event economy requires investment, up to date technology, raw materials, managerial and organizational resources and skilled manpower which in the framework of production factors and with suitable combination can create an economic activity in various sectors such as agricultural and services.
Today no country in the world relies solely on its domestic resources as production factors, but they are reliant on international resources in order to increase their production power and try to use foreign resources many times more than domestic ones. In this event the first overall effect of sanctions is the reduction of international resources. In other words when sanctioned production factors outside of national boundaries will not enter the domestic. As a result, economy cannot be positioned in the development and growth rush through solely relying on domestic resources. Furthermore a healthy economy will have increased competing power through presence in the international markets, and reach growth, and if it does not have a share of the global markets, the economy will gradually have inflation; and by distancing from competitive atmosphere and will lose its practicality.
At the same time getting a share of international markets requires the existence of normal conditions in the domestic and international political atmosphere. If a country is placed under sanctions, it cannot have a suitable share of the international markets, and therefore loses its competitiveness too. Therefore overall sanctions will on one hand reduce the presentation of resources and production factors, and also with the reduction in the share of the global markets, the distance between a country with other neighbouring countries will gradually increase, the manifestation of these two become visible in the reduction of the economic growth of the country. Thus the reduction in economic development is one of the main effects of sanctions.
In one definition, economic sanctions include the use of economic relations and cooperation for the provision of political objectives or in other terms economic sanctions include hostile measures which are done by a group of countries against another country which violate international laws, and or accepted moral standards are violated. With regards to economic sanctions, countries that support sanctions try in three ways to deal a blow against the country under sanctions:
a) Restrictions on exports
b) Restrictions on imports
c) Preventing the continuation of free financial flows (such as financial provisions of trade, International Bank and IMF credits, and bilateral assistance), such as the blocking of the investments of the country under sanctions, which are done through the monitoring of countries that impose sanctions.
Due to various reasons the imposing of financial sanctions are more effective than trade sanctions, because:
1 – States and international financial institutions, are the main providers or guarantors of financial flows for developing countries.
2 – Private financial markets are more legalised in comparison to goods markets.
3 – Very few of the major players in the international financial markets are active. Therefore it is much easier to monitor these markets and prevent them from committing possible violations against the imposed sanctions, which is simpler than measures taken in international trade arena.
4 – The tricks in cutting around international financial sanctions is much more difficult and more costly than other measures such as trafficking in goods, storing of goods, reduction of transparency in the registration of customs and duty orders and the like by the country under sanctions.
5 – The market forces also facilitate the strengthening of international financial sanctions, and at the same time prepare the basis for the gradual weakening of trade sanctions. The violation of trade sanctions in a few instances will at the most result in the confiscation of goods trafficked to the country under sanctions, but the violation of these sanctions in the financial, private bankers and investors sections will threaten them with serious punishments that include legal punishments and the loss of all investments.
6 – Limited risk factors in international investors following political instabilities due to the country being under sanctions, forces them to avoid financial credit to the country even with no existing international monitoring.
7 – The major part of trade and other economic activities in today’s economies and the age of the globalisation of economy is dependent on access to financial resources, and the trading of goods for goods gradually becomes obsolete. Therefore financial sanctions must be treated as the most important dangers in economic sanctions.
From the objectives aspects, economic sanctions are two types: 1) economic sanctions are imposed with the aim of the destabilisation of the political system of the target country, which are from the conflict with the strategic interests of the imposing country and the target country. These type of sanctions’ objective is a regime change. 2) Economic sanctions are imposed with the aim of the political or economic behaviour of the target country. These types of sanctions are much gentler than the first type. When countries are after regime change the first type of sanctions are imposed with the aim of dealing a heavy blow on the target country’s interests. In fact these types of sanctions in practice are economic sanctions that are alternatives to war, and are in fact deemed as “pre-war” options.
From the International Law viewpoint, economic sanctions include: “Coordinated sanctions imposed by an authorised body and legally for restrictions upon international trade and finance that one country imposes on another to hurt the economic life of a specific country.” This definition is proposed regardless of legality or illegality, morality or immorality aspects. Sanctions that violate the fundamental economic and social rights of people (and in some instances even the right to life), are illegal.
Even the authority that are accorded by Article 8 of the UN Charter, does not give the Security Council the right to take such measures. People have fundamental human rights which states and international organizations have officially recognised and are committed to observe them. This is while some these rights are ignorable in specific conditions such as emergency conditions. But some of the other right from universal aspects are inviolable, and must be observed under all circumstances. The effects of economic sanctions can be reviewed in the individual legal and natural human rights reflection that include: the right to life, torture and other cruel behaviour and treatment ban, the right to the provision of basic needs (food, shelter, clothes, hygiene, needed social services and provision of social security, the right to family life, employment, health, education, free participation in cultural life of society, enjoyment of the arts and participation in scientific advancements, right to receive information, the right to free participation in determination of the political fate of one’s government.
The hurting of the economy of a country from outside with the dissatisfaction of the people of the country is also violator of a number of collective rights that include the right to self determination, the right to free access to economic, social and cultural development, and collective right to development. The prohibition on the export of goods can be a serious obstacle in the exploitation of human rights where it is done by depriving people from importing their fundamental goods.
The majority of United Nations declarations and resolutions stress on the point that the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights is an inalienable part of human dignity. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Actions (25 June 1994) reaffirms that the right to development is “a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.” Also Article 1(a) of the Declaration on the Right to Development states: “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” Under the heading of “Human Rights and Coercive Unilateral Measures” clearly “Considers that the adoption or intensification of unilateral coercive measures constitutes a violation of the human rights of peoples;”.
Today, with an increase in mutual economic dependency of states, the strengthening and expansion of international trade, is not only an economic necessity, but also its political importance is not doubtable, and right now it is accepted as one of the international law objectives. In today’s world no country can reach a total economic self sufficiency level, and the dependency of countries to each other is unavoidable. Under these circumstances, international trade relations are accepted by all as one of the essentials of the international community. For the first time in the framework of the Havana Charter (1947) which was ratified by participating states in the United Nations International Trade Conference, principles such as the reduction of tariffs were recommended for the purpose of the further expansion of international trade between states.
Following the adoption of the Charter and according to it, talks were held on the reduction of existing obstacles in trade between countries, all of which were indicative of the fact that states particular attention was towards international trade and the necessity of its provision. The aim and objective of international trade was not solely for the fulfilment of the parties’ trade needs, but the aim was for if in cases one of the parties was a developing country, for trade not to be used as economic development tool. There is no doubt that trade will be effective in the event that the governing trade system to consider the existing inequalities between industrially developed countries and developing countries.
The Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States which was adopted in 1974 by the UN General Assembly, and contains governing principles on economic new order. “International co-operation for development in the shared goal and common duty of all States. Every State should co-operate with the efforts of developing countries to accelerate their economic and social development by providing favourable external conditions and by extending active assistance to them, consistent with their development needs and objectives, with strict respect for the sovereign equality of States and free of any conditions derogating from their sovereignty.”
Under these circumstances the severing and reestablishment of trade relations cannot remain in the competence of states, and in practice development and advancement of international law with regards to economy for the purpose of the recognition of “trade rights” is in the interests of every member of the international community and the aforementioned Charter stresses this point.
In the final analysis with consideration of the recent developments in international law which is based on the necessity for further expansion of international cooperation in all fields, particularly trade, in fair and just conditions, states are duty bound to refrain from resorting to any measures which are contradictory to international cooperation. Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations fleetingly reaffirms this necessity, and states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
There is no doubt that international cooperation is one of the main objectives of the United Nations and economic sanctions seriously undermine international cooperation, and are contrary to the spirit of the new economic order at the international level.
With regards to the costs of sanctions it must be said that the first toll is time and energy spent for changing trade and financial equations. This cost is imposed on both sides. The changes in the markets have time and financial costs. While this change has to bear the price costs too. Similar goods are purchased with higher prices due to sanctions. Therefore the purchase power of money is reduced too. For the country that imposes the sanction, the loss of the sales market and provision of financial services, is the cost of imposing the sanctions.
In any event, for numerous reasons such as the noninterference principle, free trade principle, various international commitments, international responsibility order, human rights and right to development, international sanctions are illegal and illegitimate.
Created by: Reza Shirzadi Member of Islamic Azad University Science Group (Karaj) at Sunday, 12.August 2012 - 13:28