ODVV letter to 14 UN officials to protest against economic sanctions

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Publish Date : 08/21/2018 14:08
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ODVV letter to 14 UN officials to protest...
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Mr. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Idriss Jazairy: Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights
Mr. Javaid Rehman: Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr. Saad Alfarargi: Special Rapporteur on the right o development
Mr. Philip Alston: Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry: Special Rapporteur on the right to education
Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar: Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Ms. Hilal Elver: Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte: Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
Mr. Dante Pesce: Chair of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Mr. Dainius Puras: Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana: UN Independent Expert for the promotion of an international democratic and equitable order
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed: Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Mr. Fernand de Varennes: Special Rapporteur on minority issues


Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCM) are inhuman decisions subjecting the citizens of targeted countries to mass punishment. The experiences of Iran-based NGOs who have access to first-hand information proves the sanctions have led to blatant violations of human rights in the country. On the ground, UCMs violate the people’s right to life, right to health, right to food, right to education, right to development, right to work, right to an adequate standard of living and the right to a safe and clean environment. 

In the last decade, the unilateral measures imposed on Iran have limited the civilians’ access to medicine, medical equipment and medical care, violating their right to life. They led to deterioration of health services’ functions, making it more difficult for civilians to maintain a healthy life style.
The skyrocketing of the prices of all purchasable items have hampered peoples purchasing power. The increase in Consumer Price Index and Inflation Rate as well as the decrease of Iran’s Gross Domestic Product Per Capita in periods of history when Iran has experienced intensified sanctions, reflect the negative effect of sanctions on Iranian’s access to fundamental items including food, increase of poverty gap, unemployment, and inflation and limitation of access to higher education, with deprived sections of the population feel the most impact.
Due to the proved mal-effects of UCMs on civilian’s rights they are widely condemned by human rights experts at international level. UCMs are criticized by the experts of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in numerous reports, including the reports prepared by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (2015) and the Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur (SR) on negative impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on human rights, Mr. Idriss Jazairy (2017).
The report of the Advisory Committee on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/28/74) presents extensive information on the violation of human rights of the Iranian people as a result of so-called “smart sanctions” on banking, gas and insurance sectors. The negative impacts include the high price of food (especially in the period 2010–2012), acute limitation of access to medicine, expansion of black market in different sectors, increase of unemployment, limitation of girl’s access to higher education, collapse in industry sectors and skyrocketing inflation (Paragraph 33).
In addition, the report approves that contrary to the claims made by the United States and the European Union on exempting humanitarian items from sanctions, “in actual fact they have deeply affected the delivery and availability of medical supplies,”(Paragraph 34) including antibiotics, thalassemia medicines used daily by over 20000 people in the country, medicine and medical equipment for survivors of chemical weapons of war, and medicines used to treat hemophilia, cancer, multiple sclerosis and kidney transplant among other types of medicine. The report reiterates that lack of access to medicine for the people with such chronic diseases usually leads to the death of the patients. Additionally, according to the same report, 85000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Iran, annually and face a limited access to chemotherapy and radiotherapy facilities (Paragraph 34).
The Advisory Committee report clarifies that although medicine and medical supplies are not included in the list of sanctioned items in principle, but the sanctions put on SWIFT makes it impossible for Iran to have financial transactions with Western Countries who are the main producers of the medicines and medical equipment required for such chronic diseases (Paragraph 34).
In addition to the report of the advisory committee, there are about 40 reports on the impact of UCMs on human rights prepared by the United Nations, among which we draw your attention to the report by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and unilateral sanctions, Mr. Idriss Jazairy on the negative impacts of UCMs on the enjoyment of human rights .
The report, which is submitted to the 36th session of the HRC, focuses on the discussion of the illegality of UCMs in international law, the extraterritorial obligations of the states violated by sanctions, and the necessity of provisions of remedy and redress for UCM victims “including appropriate and effective financial compensation” (Paragraph 18).
The report leads to the conclusion that UCMs are unlawful under international law (Paragraphs 12, 22, 24, 25, 26), the States have extraterritorial obligations to protect and not to violate human rights in other States (Paragraphs 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40) and the UCM victims’ harms should be addressed through compensation mechanisms (Paragraphs, 3,4 18, 48).
Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV),
- confirming all the statements made by the reports of the advisory committee on violation of human rights in Iran as the consequences of UCMs, including the right to life and the right to health,
- considering the prospect of a new array of the United States sanctions being added to the previous sanctions which are already in place,
- being deeply appalled by the fact that collective punishment of the Iranian people is taking place while the country’s full compliance with its nuclear obligations is confirmed by the IAEA more than 10 times,
- echoing the concerns expressed by the SR on UCM on the illegality of the sanctions and the rights of victims to effective remedy, and,
- being deeply upset by the silence maintained by the United Nations while witnessing the Iranian citizens’ sufferings,
urges your Excellency to speak out and voice your concerns over the widespread violation of human rights in Iran as a result of the United States Unilateral Coercive Measures.
Also, ODVV urges the Human Rights council to mandate a technical mission to Iran, to study and document the negative impacts of sanctions on Human Rights.


“ ODVV letter to 14 UN officials to protest against economic sanctions ”