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Blockade and Human dignity (Part II)

By: Prof. Dr. iur. et phil. Alfred de Zayas
My 2013 report to the General Assembly focuses on the many studies and reports of vrious United Nations commissions and experts, which demonstrate the incompatibility of unilateral coercive measures with international law and require reparations for victims.

In April 2013, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in compliance with resolution 19/32 of the Human Rights Council, organized a workshop on the impact of the application of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the affected populations of the States against which they are directed. Participants recalled General Comment no. 8 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which states that  the imposition of economic sanctions is increasing, both internationally and regionally and unilaterally, and that sanctions often cause significant disruption in the distribution of food supplies, pharmaceuticals and health, compromise food quality and availability of drinking water, severely interfere with the functioning of basic health and education systems, and undermine the right to work.

Reference is made to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993, which calls on States to refrain from unilateral actions that create obstacles to trade relations among States and impede the full realization of the rights of everyone to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being, including food and health care, housing and necessary social services. Some speakers said that sanctions had prevented transfers of funds and the import of food and medicine.

Professor Marc Bossuyt the then President of the Constitutional Court of Belgium, and currently a member of the UN Committee against Racial Discrimination, observed that sanctions regimes should be evaluated periodically. The then Chairman of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Ariranga Pillay said that some coercive measures had extraterritorial effects that raise issues of international law. Participants stressed that unilateral coercive measures created a system of structural violence that disproportionately affects women and children, undermine the rule of law, impede the right to self-determination, infringe sovereignty and endanger peace, security and human rights of ordinary people.

Numerous other UN experts have formulated relevant recommendations on the need to end unilateral coercive measures and provide adequate reparation to the victims.
Among the many international organizations that have condemned the blockade, IPU, expressed in the Report of the Secretary General: "The IPU would like to express its firm support for the lifting of the economic blockade against Cuba and to express its solidarity with the Cuban people, who continue to suffer from its consequences." (p. 135)

The General Assembly will surely continue adopting resolutions on the blockade until the situation is resolved in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law. The international consensus on the need to lift the blockade and repair its consequences will not be ignored forever.

Therefore we affirm the validity of the United Nations Charter, faith in the value of the human person and respect for international law. The blockade is a dinosaur, an outdated model from the pre-United Nationstimes. We are confident that this and other dinosaurs will disappear in the near future.