Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, during Arria Meeting on "End Unilateral Coercive Measures Now" (25 November 2020)

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to thank the delegations of China, Niger, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and Grenadines and South Africa for convening this meeting on an important issue.

Unilateral Coercive Measures not only relates tothe political and economic freedom, well-being and sovereignty of states, but also reflect some of worst abuses of power, and its extraterritorial application, adversely impacting the lives of millions of people around the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan believes that unilateral coercive measures are contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and against the basic norms of international law, multilateralism and international relations.

The assumption that one actor, or a small group of actors, can be allowed to unilaterally employ coercive methods often on the whims of their governments or leaders, or in attempts to pursue narrow policy objectives contravenes the principle of collective security which is at the heart of the world order established after the Second World War.

Fairness, impartiality and adherence to a rules-based system was in fact one of the most fundamental premises of the post world war order. The United Nations was created precisely to check such abuses of power.

It should be a matter of concern for all that some states and international actors continue to ignore their obligations under the UN Charter and international law when resorting to unilateral sanctions and similar coercive and discriminatory measures to secure their partisan objectives.

By disregarding the UN Charter, and ignoring the fundamental role of the Security Council in taking any required enforcement measures, the proponents of UCMs often exacerbate the situations further, making problems more complicated, and more difficult to resolve. Their actions intensify the threats to peace and security rather than ease them.

The negative impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures has been repeatedly affirmed in numerous resolutions of the General Assembly as well as by the Human Rights Council.

Both the Assembly and the Security Council have recognized that people should not be deprived of their means of subsistence, especially food and medicines even where enforcement action may be required by the Security Council. They have also clearly established that the extraterritorial application of power, such as in the case of UCMs, erode international humanitarian and human rights law and are inadmissible. Such unilateral measures are all the more abhorrent when deployed to secure unjust and unauthorized discriminatory and narrow national objectives of one or more powerful states.

The Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights, Ms. Alena Dohan, has also pointed out that there is no consensus in the international community about nearly everything relating to sanctions including their notion, characteristics, legal basis and humanitarian impact.

Mr. Chairman,

Unilateral sanctions, in almost all cases, ignore humanitarian impacts, despite contrary claims by those applying them. They also seriously impact the ability of sanctioned States to utilize their full potential to realize globally agreed targets and frameworks such as on sustainable development and climate change.

There are several examples in recent history where such sanctions have intensified food and health insecurities, aggravated poverty and destabilized the socio-economic lives and livelihoods of millions of innocent people in the targeted countries. The lives cut short as a result number in the millions.

As we fight a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic, that knows no borders and threatens us all alike, it is grotesque that millions of people in some of the victimized countries confront the double jeopardy of unilateral coercive measures arrogantly imposed by those who wield military and financial power in our unequal world order.

Guided by international law and the UN Charter, and echoing like many Senior UN officials, including the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, we urge an immediate end to the unilateral coercive sanctions which have negative impacts on health care and the human rights of vulnerable peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan's position on this issue is guided by international law and principles of fairness, justice and impartiality.

As a member of the Group of 77 and China and the Non-Aligned Movement, Pakistan has persistently opposed the use of unilateral coercive measures. We have called for their immediate elimination to bolster universal respect for the rule of law, human rights, non-discrimination and equality for all.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.