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UN human rights council passes motion condemning US sanctions

THE UN human rights council has adopted a resolution condemning US sanctions against its member states.

The draft resolution, presented by Venezuela and Palestine on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), was approved with 28 votes in favour and 14 against with five abstentions yesterday.

The document reaffirms that every state, in strict conformity with international law, has the “inalienable right” to “choose freely and develop, in accordance with the sovereign will of its people, its own political, social, economic and cultural systems, without interference from any other state or non-state actor.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tweeted: “I am grateful for the overwhelming support of the member states of the UN Human Rights Council for the resolution presented by the presidency of NAM in favour of Venezuela. A victory that expands international co-operation and rejects imperial sanctions.”

The resolution comes after Venezuela systematically rejected a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. It was slammed in a letter by Mr Maduro as being “plagued by false statements, misrepresentations and mishandling of data and sources” and failed to mention major positive policies of his administration or the economic war imposed on his country by the US.

UN special rapporteur Idriss Jazairy said in May that the use of economic sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Iran for political purposes violates human rights and international law.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed 150 sanctions on individuals and entities of Venezuela since 2017. The UN resolution states that these “hinder the wellbeing of the population of the affected countries and create obstacles to the full realisation of their human rights.”

Sanctions have resulted in the deaths of over 40,000 Venezuelan citizens due to lack of food and medicine, as well as a loss of around $116 billion (nearly £93bn) for the Latin American country, according to Venezuela’s vice president for planning Ricardo Menendez.

The resolution came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is ready to hold talks with the US if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal that was quit by Mr Trump last year.

While calling for talks with Iranian leaders the US president said on Wednesday that sanctions on Iran would soon be increased “substantially.”

Existing US sanctions have targeted Iran’s main foreign revenue stream from crude oil exports, which Mr Trump moved to try to eliminate entirely in May.

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