Geneva/Vienna, 16 August 1996/MS/15273/c-is


In a joint appeal submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in connection with the present session of the Sub-Commission in Geneva, the International Progress Organization -- together with other international NGOs -- called upon the UN Commission on Human Rights to carefully study the cases of grave human rights violations, directed against whole peoples, that are caused by the multilateral sanctions polccof the Security Council or by bilateral economic sanctions.

The international NGOs stated that "economic sanctions -- and in particular comprehensive economic sanctions -- are a form of collective punishment that is in total contradiction to the basic principles of justice and human rights. The right to life, the right to adequate nourishment and health care are inalienable rights that form part of the jus cogens of general international law. Those rights are the basis of international legality and of the legitimacy of the United Nations Charter as well. For this reason, it is inadmissible that an organ of the United Nations Organization such as the Security Council -- by decision under Chapter VII -- violates those basic rights of entire populations in the name of international peace and security". The statement recalled, in this regard, the economic sanctions on Iraq, Libya and on Cuba.

The international NGOs further urged the Sub-Commission to condemn such cases of grave and systematic violations of human rights through comprehensive sanctions -- whether multilaterally or unilaterally -- and to take appropriate action within the statutory framework of the United Nations system so that the Security Council and individual UN member states will desist from such practices and that no precedent will be created for establishing such an instrument of collective punishment.

The Appeal has been endorsed by the International Institute for Non-aligned Studies, by the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization, and by the Union of Arab Jurists.

The President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, earlier last week held consultations at United Nations headquarters in Geneva to co-ordinate the initiatives of international non-governmental organizations on the issue of economic sanctions and their impact on human rights.


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