Vienna, 29 November 1996/MS/15391/c-is



At an international panel discussion held at Vienna's UN headquarters and organized by the NGO Committee on Development, a group of NGOs accredited at the United Nations (ECOSOC), the co-ordinator of the meeting, Dr. Hans Koechler (President of the International Progress Organization), referred to the recent declaration of the FAO Summit in Rome according to which "food should not be used as an instrument for political and economic pressure." The President of the I.P.O. stated that economic sanctions have implications for beyond their stated goals. They negatively affect not only the development prospects in the respective region, but they have far-reaching consequences for the health conditions of present and future generations. Dr. Koechler stated that "the issue of development cannot be separated from the issue of a just world order; it must therefore be of concern to all who believe in the basic goals of the United Nations as proclaimed in the UN Charter." Speakers from Cuba, Iraq, Libya and Turkey presented the specific cases of their countries in regard to sanctions and development.

The Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations (Vienna), Ambassador Neama Faris, gave a comprehensive report on the impact of the economic sanctions on the human rights situation in Iraq. He warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the comprehensive economic sanctions are continued. Dr. Türkkaya Ataöv, Professor of International Relations at the University of Ankara (Turkey), stated that the Turks are the most "penalized" people besides Iraq as far as the impact of Iraqi sanctions on the economy and stability of the country is concerned. He particularly referred to the situation in South-East Anatolia. Mr. Ali Farfer, Secretary-General of the Jamahir Society (Libya), pointed to the indiscriminate and destructive nature of economic sanctions and characterized the sanctions as an infringement upon the basic human right to development. Mr. Alfredo Puig, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations (Vienna) gave a comprehensive report on the development impact of bilateral US-sanctions against Cuba.

In the debate, Mr. Hans Einhaus, Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Austria and former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, called upon the countries targeted by economic sanctions to collectively present their complaints to the International Court of Justice. He also called for concerted efforts by regional organizations such as the Arab League, the Islamic Conference and the Organization of African Unity.